Rings of Fire: Walking Through A Volcanic Future

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

Rings of Fire: Walking Through A Volcanic Future

Author:

Leonard Sweet with contributions and afterward from Mark Chironna

Publisher:

NavPress

Publication Date:

November 19, 2019

Format:

Paperback

Length:

304 pages

OVERVIEW

As Leonard Sweet and Mark Chironna explain in this book’s preface, the Ring of Fire refers to a geographic area where most of the world’s volcanoes are located. Lava can erupt from the Ring’s fault lines any time, causing damage… and also new life. Volcanic soil is great for growing plants, after all. Sweet and Chironna use this metaphor to describe hot topics, changes which will radically change civilization in the next century. These changes include:

  • Society changing faster than ever thanks to humans creating more information than ever
  • Growing use of genetic engineering, nanotechnology and other innovations
  • Western society becoming both freer and more restrained as it abandons Christian values
  • Pastoral education moving from seminaries to other training models
  • China’s growing Christian population making the East into Christianity’s new hub

In each chapter, the authors explain why these changes will impact life (and the Church) in big ways and some preliminary thoughts on how Christians should respond. Each chapter ends with reflection and discussion questions to help readers think about the best ways they can answer these coming challenges

By necessity, this book summarizes its topics, but not in the way many Christian books do. Readers have likely heard Christians writers mention one or more of these changes briefly, as anecdotes to spice up messages about recommitting to God or something similar. Sweet and Chironna go beyond using these topics as sermon examples, diving deep into what they really mean and how they’ll impact life in big ways.

At the same time, Sweet and Chironna avoid the dry language that textbooks would use to explain these changes. They take a more vivid approach, often using blunt sentences that go right for readers’ emotions or clever wordplay; a chapter on hell states, “Jesus founded his church ‘at the gates of hell’ and sent his disciples thenceforth on a go-to-hell mission.” This approach not only captures why these ideas are important, but also forces readers to read carefully. Skimming makes it too easy to misunderstand what the authors’ colorful metaphors mean.

In a world where change keeps coming so fast, Rings of Fire gives much-needed advice on what Christians truly need to know about the future. With dramatic writing, compelling arguments, warnings and yet hope, Sweet and Chironna pave the way for a Church that can understand its next challenges and answer them with Spirit-filled wisdom.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Intended Audience

Christians interested in societal changes within their lifetimes, Christians trying to understand new developments in a theological content, Christians preparing for the next big challenges the Western Church will face.

Christian Impact

Sweet and Chironna gave a powerful analysis of where global society is headed and what Christians needs to prepare for, empowering the Church to find new relevancy in the next century.

About Cecelia Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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