Book by Little Rock priest becomes national top seller – Arkansas Online

An Arkansas priest has written the nation’s top-selling newly released New Testament Meditation, as ranked by
Barkley Thompson’s book, “How Can We Know The Way?: Reflections on Belief, Salvation and Eternal Life,” was released by Palmetto Publishing on Aug. 22.
The rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Thompson has written other books.
“This is my third book — and the second one actually won some awards and did well — but nothing like this,” he said. “The way that this has jumped up in Amazon’s rankings I’ve never experienced before.”
Thompson’s first, “Elements of Grace,” was released in 2013. His second, published in September 2018, was “In the Midst of the City: The Gospel and God’s Politics.”
It received an Independent Publisher Book Awards silver medal and a gold medal at the Illumination Book Awards, winning for the ministry and mission category.
“How Can We Know the Way,” on Thursday morning, was ranked higher than Eugene H. Peterson’s book “Traveling Light: Galatians and the Free Life in Christ,” which was released Aug. 15 and N.T. Wright’s audio tape on the book of John, Chapters 1-10, among others.
(Peterson, who died in 2018, is particularly remembered for crafting “The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.” Wright, the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England, is one of the best-known and most prolific authors in the Anglican Communion.)
All four of the meditations in “How Can We Know the Way?” are based on homilies that Thompson gave and come from John’s Gospel.
Chapter 14 and verse 6 of John’s Gospel includes the words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.”
The new book, Thompson said, looks at “what does it mean to believe in Jesus” and “what is the point of the Gospel — in other words, what is salvation and what is eternal life?”
“To give away the ending — Big Spoiler — I believe that Jesus cared very little, very little, almost not at all, about heaven. And the Gospel speaks virtually not at all about heaven,” Thompson said.
Eternal life, he said, is available here and now.
“The notion that we would, quote, be faithful, only in order to become intimate companions with God after death? That’s tragic,” he said. “The wonder of the Gospel is that we can enter into intimate communion with God now. That’s what the Gospel is about.”
Barkley’s exegesis has gained praise from Jay B. McDaniel, Professor of World Religions, Emeritus at Hendrix College.
“After reading this book, the first thing you want to say is ‘Thank you.’ The next thing you want to do is to share it with others so that they, too, can better walk the Way,” McDaniel wrote.
Morgan Allen, rector of historic Trinity Church-Copley Square in Boston, is also recommending the book.
“Only a lifetime of faithful study and service can voice such rich and complicated ideas with the accessibility and elegance Barkley Thompson offers here. His reflections — and their sharp study questions — have a place on bedside tables and at bible studies, alike,” he wrote.
“How Can We Know the Way” is available on and from All royalties from the book go to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Thompson said.

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