RESTORED BY GRACE by Vitus Chak

RESTORED BY GRACE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A dialogue that dramatizes the contest between faith and reason and discusses possibilities for Christian healing.

In the preface to his debut, Chak announces his philosophical design squarely: to explain in rational terms his own decision to become a Christian and, by extension, to show how faith and reason can happily coexist. Instead of a conventional treatise, the author presents a fictional exchange between a therapist and his patient. The patient, Sitara, is anguished over the sudden loss of her young son, who was killed in a car accident. She meets a woman grieving over a miscarriage in a support group and is intrigued by the strength that she finds in her faith, as Sitara has never been particularly religious herself. Once Sitara reveals this to Nathan, her therapist, he immediately launches into a historical account of Jesus’ disciples, followed by discussions about the rational defensibility of faith, the historical reliability of the Bible, the nature of the historical Jesus as both human and divine, and the scientific legitimacy of the Creation story in the book of Genesis. The conversation culminates in an analysis of spiritual redemption and of the nature of the properly lived Christian life. Chak provides an epistemology of faith that’s both philosophically sophisticated and accessible, as in the following passage: “Reason and faith are in a perpetual mental tango. Whenever reason can take a good step forward, faith takes the lead and creates the space for it.” Similarly, he agilely explains why he believes that creationism and science needn’t be understood as mutually contradictory. That said, much of the dialogue comes off as didactic, and the idea of a therapist spending the bulk of a session providing theological lessons may strike some readers as peculiar. As a result, this is an insightful work of Christian apologetics but one that fails as drama.

A religious treatise thinly disguised as a two-character play that might have been more effective without the fictional elements

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5127-6937-1
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Westbow Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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