This past year, a dear friend of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Rev. Dr. John Kleinig of Australia, published a new book, Wonderfully Made: A Protestant Theology of the Body (Lexham Press, 2021). It’s not a long or difficult book, but it is truly rich and meaty in its content, and it is well worth taking the time to savor each chapter. It is indeed, as Dr. Kleinig describes, a “rhapsody” on the human body in the light of God’s creative design and good intent. Eloquent in both style and substance, it is both lucid and lyrical in its prose, profoundly theological, yet also straightforward, down-to-earth, and utterly practical.
So typical of Dr. Kleinig, he “lights a candle” rather than “cursing the darkness” throughout this little gem of a book. He does not shy away from addressing the sins that permeate our fallen flesh and surround us in this fallen world, but in doing so he extends a winsome call to repentance, to faith in the Gospel, and to the beautiful life for which we have been created in the Image and Likeness of God. That perspective animates every page and paragraph throughout the book. Consequently, it is both humbling and encouraging, directing the Law not at “those other people” but at the reader’s own heart, mind, and life, but so also directing the reader to the realization of all God’s purposes and promises in Christ Jesus.
There is so much to love about Wonderfully Made, I can hardly begin to summarize it adequately here. To cite a few examples, what I loved best were Dr. Kleinig’s description and discussion of the personal unity of body and soul in each human being; his emphasis on the Church as the Body of Christ and our Christian identity as members of that Body, along with the priority of the Church as the household and family of God; and his lovely treatment of the three “homes” in which he has lived in the safety and peace of Christ, namely, his childhood home with his mother and father, his family home with his wife and children, and ultimately his eternal Home with his Father in heaven. Although Dr. Kleinig’s life and circumstances differ in many details from those of other Christians, his words are poignant and offer a genuine blessing and benefit to anyone who takes the time to read this book. It really is wonderful.