We live in a visual culture. Today, people increasingly rely upon visuals to help them understand new and difficult concepts. The rise and stunning popularity of the Internet infographic has given us a new way in which to convey data, concepts and ideas.
But the visual portrayal of truth is not a novel idea. Indeed, God himself used visuals to teach truth to his people. The tabernacle of the Old Testament was a visual representation of man’s distance from God and God’s condescension to his people. Each part of the tabernacle was meant to display something of man’s treason against God and God’s kind response. Likewise, the sacraments of the New Testament are visual representations of man’s sin and God’s response. Even the cross was both reality and a visual demonstration.
As teachers and lovers of sound theology, Challies and Byers have a deep desire to convey the concepts and principles of systematic theology in a fresh, beautiful and informative way. In this book, they have made the deepest truths of the Bible accessible in a way that can be seen and understood by a visual generation.
|Contributor(s)||Tim Challies , Josh Byers|
|About the Contributor(s)||Tim Challies
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.
|Publish Date||Apr 19, 2016|
- Review by Durough
There are twenty-seven “infographics” (we’ll use that term loosely here), five of which should be considered parts of a whole (about the drama of Scripture), three that are simply word-pictures that don’t really provide any info (imagine a phrase with color), many (most) that are not very clear and are likely more unhelpful due to the way in which they are composed, and only three that I would estimate to be helpful in some way. They all follow the same style and theme: use of specific colors, sequential circles and gradients, dashed lines and dot anchors, most of which serve no real function (e.g., lines go to nowhere or have unclear connections, words are in bubbles but with no obvious reason why they would be so organized, etc.). Most of these (and a few more) may be found at visualtheology.church, but a Google image search (“visual theology” or anything similar) will bring up even more useful infographics and demonstrate that there is nothing unique about this book.
The bulk of the book is text, which reads like easy-to-read Baptist tracts strewn together. I imagine anyone who went to enough Sunday school classes in such a church would have been able to write this book. The theology is akin to that of the often quoted Grudem (he wrote the Foreword), Piper, and Sproul, strewn with contradictions. This is not to say that theirs is nothing helpful, but to demonstrate the root of this surface level theology (the authors explicitly state that they intentionally go into no depth). There should be no need to discuss further the theology of the book (that would be a book of its own) given that it has already failed to live up to its stated purpose.
There really is nothing new (or unique) about this book, and the infographics are significantly wanting. I have no doubt the authors love Jesus, but this project simply does not live up to the hype. I imagine there will be better infographics to come once the authors develop their medium, perhaps later included at the site mentioned. I pray blessings on them in that regard.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” (Posted on 4/16/2016)