Book: The Last Word and the Word After That

Book: The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity

The third book in the New Kind of Christian trilogy (I’ve already read A New Kind of Christian and The Story We Find Ourselves In) takes an odd turn – it changes the name of the main “teaching” character from Neo to Neil, trying perhaps to make him seem more nomral. Additionally, in the second half of the book, we see the people who have inspired Neil/Neo’s thinking. Perhaps this is just a literary device so there can be a wider range of conversations.

The main “learning” character – Dan Poole – is a minister who is reconsidering his understanding of Christianity. At the end of the previous book, his church had put him on administrative leave so that they could investigate his doctrine more closely – it seemed that his church was starting to sense that his teaching was heading in the direction of heresy. I was expecting that this would be engaged with a little in the third book, but instead, a couple of caricatured “fundamentalist evangelicals” are introduced, and there’s a story arc around a falling out and a reconciliation.

The majority of the teaching elements in the book are around the concept of Hell, and the concept of church. Again, there are some interesting points being made on both topics, and the chapter of quotes on Hell from various authors seems a good starting point for further study on that topic, but overall, I thought this was the weakest of the trilogy.

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