The Many Faces of Christ

The Many Faces of Christ by James Stuart, St. Andrew’s Trust, 1998. Reviewed by Lloyd Geering in SOFN Newsletter #27.

Based on his lunch hour lectures delivered in 1997, Jim Stuart, minister of St. Andrew’s-on-the-Terrace, has produced a book that should not only be read by every church member but will be of interest to many in the SOFN. It is a clearly written distillation of the most important scholarly books on the subject most central to Christianity—the figure of Christ.

The book is a blend of the latest New Testament scholarship and the history of Christian thought. What Karen Armstrong did in relation to God in her book A History of God, Jim Stuart has done for Christ. This is “A History of the Christ” (to be distinguished from the life of Jesus).

A remarkable amount is packed into only 60 pages. This book could have been written only by a person who, as a one-time theological teacher, had extensive knowledge on which to draw; yet this book avoids all the complexity of theological jargon and canbe easily read by anyone.

The author leads the reader from Jesus the Galilean through Jesus the Lord of the Roman Empire, through the scholastic Christ of the Middle Ages, to Jesus the man in the modern global society. Even those who have received a theological education can benefit from this succinct and balanced summary of sound scholarship, while for the layperson looking for the best readable introduction to Christianity this book is a godsend. This historical sketch helps to make clear why Christianity has become so open-ended in the 20th century.

The book is available from St. Andrew’s Trust, PO Box 5203, Wellington for $10, plus $2 p&p).

Lloyd Geering