I’d like to thank Mark Chapman of Ripon College Cuddesdon for noticing that my Ascension Theology (T&T Clark 2011) “even includes coloured pictures” in its “ambitious . . . survey of scripture and tradition.” We went to a lot of trouble, not to mention expense, with those pictures, each of which speaks to a feature argument of the book. I’m puzzled, however, by Prof. Chapman’s conclusion:

“This is a book with no shades of grey. For those of us who inhabit a world and a church where grey is the order of the day, Farrow’s version of Christianity offers little to help us make sense of a world which was created by God and whose inhabitants were created in his image, and in which we are instructed to love our enemies in a messy world full of compromises.” (The Expository Times 123.4, 2012, 196)

Au contraire, the book has two photos in shades of grey, strategically located at the pivotal chapters: “A Question of Identity” (chapter 4) and “The Politics of the Eucharist” (chapter 6). These are the very chapters that seem to concern him, no doubt because they offer the reader a black and white choice between the kind of church represented by Reichsbischof Ludwig Müller and that represented by Pope John Paul II.  But black and white, as an astute observer has remarked, are precisely what allows us to make sense of grey.

Articles by Douglas Farrow

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