Book review: The Year of the Lord’s Favor

by Tom Arthur


Ha! How can so serious a topic be so entertaining? Not that the book is funny, per se, but that the writing kept a smile on my face all the while Arthur was indoctrinating me. Tom, please come back to the States and set up church in my neighborhood!

This book is a not-so-subtle call to redirect our aim toward the original flavor of Christianity. The Lord’s Supper, and the year of the Jubilee, become sort of the uprights of our goal posts. Arthur notes that the Year of the Lord’s favor, its concern for the poor and its celebration of the joyful experience of reversed fortunes, establishes the framework for the entire Lukan narrative. While nothing should be taken away from Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, when Luke moves it down to the Plain–to the level of the people–its flavor changes, and it becomes more direct. The poor are the focus.

Did you know that today, the average American consumes 50 times that of the average citizen of Bangladesh?

Arthur proceeds to trek through the Gospel of Luke (and a few stray passages from other books) presenting opinionated discussion. Its three or four page reflections make for an excellent bathroom reader. (That’s a compliment! Really!)

By the final quarter of the book, however, the tone turns more somber. Perhaps Constantine managed to twist the cross into a swastika, but we’ve never managed to untwist it. The horrors of war are only one example of how Jesus’ ministry has undergone a stark reversal. Is the Age of the Lord’s Favor merely a pipe dream?