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Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God Paperback – April 19, 2016
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Tim Challies (the writer) and Josh Byers (the designer) have teamed up to produce a truly unique introduction to theology and guide to living the Christian life. This is show-and-tell at its finest. Most theology books merely convey what we are to believe, but this one uses creative and beautiful design to capture and portray these crucial truths. I know of nothing else quite like it, and I trust that God will use it to help his people see and celebrate reality in a new way. -- Justin Taylor, managing editor of The ESV Study Bible and coauthor of The Final Days of Jesus
You’ve probably seen (or used) a gospel presentation drawn on a whiteboard or a napkin. It’s remarkable how God gives us spiritual insight when we behold truths about him with our eyes. With engaging graphics and descriptions of the Christian faith, Tim Challies and Josh Byers have done something genuinely unique in Visual Theology. See for yourself! -- Gloria Furman, author of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full and The Pastor's Wife
My mind is blown. Tim Challies and Josh Byers marry rock-ribbed Reformational theology with breathtaking presentations. The effect is something like following John Knox into the Matrix. In this diaphanous world, we encounter no fiction, but very reality itself --- God-reality --- and we are transformed. -- Owen Strachan, associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
A delightful read. It combines wise knowledge of sound theology with a readable, inviting style. -- Wayne Grudem, professor and author of the bestselling Systematic Theology
A resource that will be of immense help to believers in our visual age. -- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, author and Revive Our Hearts radio host
This is simple yet profound, clever without being flashy. Helpful and practical. Speaking as a person who avoids diagrams and graphs at all costs, I found the infographics in this book to be illuminating. This cheeky little number is a class act. -- Mez McConnell, pastor of Niddrie Community Church, Edinburgh, and director of 20schemes
About the Author
A pastor, noted speaker, and author of numerous articles, Tim Challies is a pioneer in the Christian blogosphere. Over 20,000 people visit Challies.com each day, making it one of the most widely read and recognized Christian blogs in the world. Tim is also the editor of DiscerningReader.com, a site dedicated to offering thoughtful reviews of books that are of interest to Christians. Tim is the author of The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment and Sexual Detox. He and his family reside near Toronto, Ontario.
Josh Byers is a communications pastor, artist, speaker, husband, and father who resides in Iowa. Josh is an idea maker and creative visionary. His work has been featured in a wide variety of outlets from the Gospel Coalition to the Tonight Show. He writes and publishes graphics regularly at joshbyers.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
My critique with this book is primarily on the "visual" side of things...in fact, while nicely designed, the book falls flat on the "visualization" side of things. While the designs are, at times, lovely, the visualizations included in this book do little to illuminate the message of the book and, in fact, sometimes help to obfuscate it. I teach my students to use visualizations wisely, and to avoid using them just to add "flair" to the presentation. Almost all of the viz in this book is simply flair, that doesn't help with the understanding of the text.
Unfortunately, I think this is a very wasted opportunity for communicating gospel theology, and especially for contrasting it with false theology. I am a big fan of Tim Challies and, while I've only skimmed the text at this point, I'm sure that the text will be well received by many. However, the graphics are generally fluff, and take away as much as they add. The iconography, at times, is nice, but whenever a visualization attempts to summarize theological truth, it really fails quite badly.
But the book title is misleading. Or perhaps it is a concept that--I hate to say--is poorly executed. This is less a book on theology, and more of a primer on Christian living. Yes, it contains theology, but this is not like a systematic theology book; it is more of a book about how to live the Christian life. And yes there are visuals, but there is also a LOT of text. In fact, the book is MOSTLY text. There are colorful icons throughout and some larger PowerPoint-ish creations (diagrams, flowcharts, Venn Diagrams, etc.) that make for a pretty slick appearance. But the overall look is more like a colorful textbook than a book explaining Christian Living through simple and insightful visuals.
And here is the rub. In my mind, visuals should enhance understanding of concepts that are difficult to explain without a lot of text. "A picture is worth a thousand words" after all. But I found that the visuals in general provide very little understanding beyond what the text has already explained (remember, there's a lot of text!). Without the text, many of the visuals are not sufficiently self-explanatory. And there are a whole lot of concentric circles, and lines pointing to individual rings within these concentric circles, that really don't seem to mean anything in particular. And then there are flowsheets (e.g. page 96-97) that really are just too complicated. Perhaps if I spent the time to study it in detail it would make more sense. But then again, aren't visual supposed to simplify and bring clarity to the text? I understood the text fine; the flow sheet, not so much. It reminded me of something I once saw/heard in which the military had banned the use of PowerPoint because the diagrams and flowsheets had become so complex that the information being communicated was no longer understandable to anyone other than the speaker. I think that's what people mean by "missing the forest for the trees," and in a lot of ways, this is the problem with Visual Theology.
The text itself is very Biblical, as I would expect from Tim Challies. So I find no fault in the message of the book itself. If I had one criticism of the theme of the book, it would be that I think the emphasis is too much on what we need to be doing, as opposed to why we do it. But that may be due to recently reading books like Matt Papa's "Look and Live" and Tony Reinke's "Newton on the Christian Life" (both of which I HIGHLY recommend."
In summary, I highly respect Tim Challies and appreciate the concept for this book. The theology is solid and is still useful as a primer for Christian living despite its shortcoming. But I wish the "visual" portions of the book offered more insight and clarity rather than just adding superficial splashes of color.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As I skimmed it, there doesn't appear to be anything poor in it's theology. That's a plus.Read more