Subscribe now

Reenchanting Humanity: A theology of mankind

By Owen Strachan
December 2020 | Review by David Tyler
  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-52710-502-7
  • Pages: 432
  • Price: £31.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

‘What is man that you are mindful of him?’ wrote the psalmist (Psalm 8:4, ESV). This probing question has engaged the minds of truth-seekers throughout the ages. The philosophers that are widely esteemed in the Western world have limited themselves to David’s first three words, only to find that human reason does not get us very far.

Owen Strachan’s book explains why human identity is the major issue of our time, and that God has to lead our thoughts. ‘Does the human person live in an ordered cosmos and have an appointed identity, or does he make his own identity in a world without God?’ (p.3). According to Strachan, we simply cannot understand humanity apart from God.

In nine invigorating chapters, different dimensions of human life are examined biblically and theologically. Ultimately, there is an urgent need for every member of the human race to be clear about who we are and what is our place in the universe. The net effect of the wisdom of the world is to disenchant humanity. This leaves us as evolved apes wallowing in a slough of relativism and purposelessness.

Strachan’s objective is to reenchant humanity and to equip present and future pastors, teachers, and leaders to inspire others to discipleship, leading to full and meaningful lives before God. To develop our understanding, we must recognise that humans are created in the image of God, providing ‘living displays of the intelligence and excellence and multifaceted capability of God’ (p.32). Add to this a clear grasp of what happened when our first parents disobeyed God: sin changed everything. This is the tragedy of mankind.

Building on these foundational truths, Strachan goes on to show how diverse aspects of human existence can be reenchanted. The chapters address work, sexuality, race and ethnicity, technology, justice, our contingency, and union with Christ. In all these dimensions of life, our challenge is to develop Christian responses that demonstrate the enchantment of abiding in Christ.

The writing is a warm-hearted and gracious theology addressing anthropology. Guidance is given to church leaders as they seek to be culturally relevant. If it were to be expanded, young people in schools and universities have specific needs related to their study disciplines. How will they handle assumptions in textbooks that conflict with biblical truth? In many cases, young people are not equipped to recognise the disenchanting wisdom of the world. And if church leaders do not think this is important enough to address, the next generation may find it difficult to meet the challenges that are thrown at them.

David Tyler


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

The Way of Life: Christian belief and experience
Charles Hodge

The aim of this book is to promote holiness, and the author’s view is that ‘the exhibition of the truth is the best means of promoting holiness’ (p.5). Thus he sets out in the first chapter to demonstrate that the…

See all book reviews
The History and Theology of Calvinism
Curt Daniel

This must be the most comprehensive study of the subject available today. It is difficult to think of any aspect of Calvinism that is not covered. It is divided into two major sections. The first covers the history, and ranges…

Searching Our Hearts in Difficult Times
John Owen

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is…

An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian vision for every stage of life
Crawford Gribben

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is…