Ted Grimsrud, God’s Healing Strategy. Telford, PA: Pandora Press U.S., 2000.163 pages.
Direction Journal 31 no 1 Spr 2002, p 112-113
God’s Healing Strategy provides in broad strokes a refreshing overview of the biblical message that stresses “God’s love and human responsibility to live lives which reflect that love” (17). Ted Grimsrud, Assistant Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Eastern Mennonite University, draws on his years of experience as a pastor and from his academic career to write a text that is accessible and meaning- ful to both the church and the academy. There are thirteen short chapters that begin with an introduction to “a biblical way of seeing” before mov- ing through the vast terrain of both Testaments, pointing out God’s con- sistent concern and methods to bring healing to the cosmos.
Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 6 cover Genesis, Exodus, and some of the prophetic tradition, and articulate particularly well the theme of healing. Samuel and Kings, in chapter 4, are fruitfully brought into the discussion of the role of Israel’s leadership in God’s strategy. Chapter 7 summarizes the message of the Old Testament and provides a bridge into the New Testament. Such a brief work cannot possibly cover all the biblical writings, and omissions are made where many biblical theologies also conserve space: legal texts, Psalms, and Wisdom literature. Representative passages are used illustratively and the reader should be able to repeat and test the analysis with other passages. Chapters 8 through 12 cover the New Testament and unfortunately tend toward an abbreviated survey format. Jesus’ teachings, actions, death, and resurrection are addressed using Mark, the expansion of the church using Acts and Romans, and the tribulation of the church through Revelation. The unique and valuable contributions of the other Gospels and epistles are passed over, which is one of the shortcomings of this approach to biblical theology.
The synthetic treatment of God’s healing strategy is welcome in the domain of biblical theologies which can tend toward literary summary, historical reconstruction, or systematic theology. Grimsrud sketches the development of the theme of God’s healing strategy that can give shape to our understanding of each text as well as to the direction of the canon as a whole. As an initial primer, it tends toward summaries of the biblical texts that could be refocused to accentuate the development of the central theme. The ease of reading masks the importance of the central theme, but the provocative questions at the end of each chapter will alert readers to Grimsrud’s contribution to biblical theology and to the church.
Greg A. Camp Program Director, Biblical and Religious Studies Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, California