‘Living In Babylon’
by Clifford and Monica Hill
Handsel Press £12
For quite a long while, I have felt a mild frustration with the way that the Old Testament is represented in Christian circles.
How are we expected to understand the prophets without a clear picture of the exile? In order to make any sense of the prophets, it is necessary to know whether they are prophesying about the collapse of Jerusalem before Babylon or the return after a 70-year exile.
‘Living in Babylon’ is therefore a book which interests me greatly. In fact, I heartily recommend it – along with Colin Urquhart’s ‘In Christ Jesus’, I would say that it is essential reading for anyone serious about understanding the Bible.
The dramatic change in culture happened as the result of a people group in a state of shock
The significance of Babylon cannot be overestimated: one could say that the Israel that Jesus walked in was formed there. In addition to explaining the prophets, ‘Living in Babylon’, with its social insights, details the dramatic change in culture that happened as the result of a people group in a state of shock, asking themselves “Who are we?” and “How could God allow this?”
As Clifford Hill’s academic background is as a sociologist, he is not afraid to detail his views on the social changes that occurred during the exile. This makes for easy reading; the theology is an overarching structure, not a microscopic analysis.
The chapters can be read independently for their particular subject matter; one gets the impression that this is the way they were written.
Clifford Hill was inspired to write this book and its accompanying handbook for group study within the last decade and has been successfully running it via Issachar Ministries webinars. He says the inspiration came about five years ago when God said to him, “Teach my people to live victoriously in Babylon.” This is the result of that foresight to a time like the present when the temple/megachurch is no longer a weekly destination and believers have to worship and receive teaching in their homes.
All in all, a great book: 4 ½ out of 5 stars.
Grenville Richard Harding
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