Trinitytoday 20 Theology Dr Muriel Porter reviews The Gospels Speak: Addressing Life’s Questions, a new book by the Revd Professor Dorothy Lee, Dean of Trinity College’s Theological School. Dorothy Lee is not just an internationally acclaimed Scripture scholar, she also has an extremely rare gift. She is able to make her scholarship meaningful not just to other academics, but also to the person in the pew. Her latest book, The Gospels Speak: Addressing Life’s Questions (New York: Paulist Press, 2017) demonstrates that gift par excellence. The Gospels Speak is not a conventional scholarly commentary. Professor Lee has drilled down into the four Gospels to examine their teaching on the major issues of suffering and evil, fear and anxiety, the quest for meaning, and divine purpose. Her peers in the academy will find here a rich lode of material rarely, if ever, explored from such a perspective. Preachers will revel in the way she has applied these Gospel insights to pressing contemporary concerns. What a boon for their pulpit ministries! And those in the pews will find it eminently accessible, as is all Professor Lee’s teaching and writing. More than that, they will find its subject matter engages them at the deepest level and enriches their own spiritual journey immeasurably. For instance, the first issue Professor Lee deals with is high on the agenda of all thinking people; suffering and evil. These are of perennial concern, especially for Christians. Why do suffering and evil exist in a world created by a supposedly benign and loving God? How do we live with these realities? And how do we respond to those who find that suffering and evil either prove that God is not good, or that there is no God? Professor Lee’s method is to examine suffering and evil in Mark’s Gospel through the experience of Jesus. He himself ‘willingly, if agonisingly, embraces suffering and does so in order to draw freedom out of suffering and life out of death’, a path that costs him painful struggle, she writes. Jesus’ triumph over suffering and death assures us that they are not permanent and ‘not part of God’s full and final will for our lives, for our world, for creation’. Rather, the future is God’s and ‘always impinges on the present’. Mark’s Gospel offers no explanation for the existence of suffering and evil, she writes, but demonstrates ‘how God in Christ has taken on our suffering and evil, not abandoning us to our fate, but sharing it and transforming it from within’. Similarly, she explores what the narrative of Matthew’s Gospel has to say about fear and anxiety (another strong contemporary concern), what John has to say about the quest for meaning, and what Luke offers on the topic of the divine purpose. In each case she provides not just scholarly interpretation but also deep insight into how the Gospels help us transform our spiritual response to these issues. The Gospels Speak will be invaluable as a parish teaching resource. An accompanying study guide would be a wonderful asset for parish educational programs. I hope Professor Dorothy Lee will soon produce one. Dr Muriel Porter is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Divinity. NEW BOOK ADDRESSES LIFE’S PERENNIAL CONCERNS BY MURIEL PORTER The Gospels Speak examines each of the four Gospels; Mark, Matthew, John and Luke. Dorothy Lee signs her book, The Gospel Speak: Addressing Life’s Questions.