Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible & Christianity by Clinton Arnold & Jeff Arnold

We Christians are to be thinking people and sometimes we need resources to help us. The authors have written this book to help fill in those areas where we need clarity in our thinking.

They start with basic questions about trusting the Bible. They cover loads of topics, such as believing God is good, the supernatural, the destiny of man, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Jesus' return, and many more.

The authors have limited their answers to a few pages, even though books have been written about some of these issues. The idea is that these answers are not exhaustive but are more springboards for further investigation. There are books listed in For Further Reading so the topics can be explored more deeply. There are also Discussion Questions listed at the end of each chapter.

Potential readers should be aware that this is a very general and introductory collection of questions and answers. For example, when investigating the claim of possible errors in the Bible, they address the issue in general, not looking at any specific issues.

Salvation is clearly explained so the book is suitable for someone investigating Christianity. There are places where the authors expect readers to accept the Bible as truth so those answers are suitable for readers already Christians. There were a few of discussions I especially appreciated. One was a very good teaching on the Trinity. Another was the explanation for the formation of the canon. Another was a balanced and well presented look at the return of Christ, not giving a particular view of the timing of the rapture, but covering the various possibilities.

Some of the questions surprised me, such as the role of emotions in our Christian life. The authors talk about the “dark night of the soul,” something usually discussed in more advanced books. But the authors have selected the questions because they themselves have been asked these questions over the years. So the book does not deal with just theology but questions of life, like happiness and purpose. They have an excellent discussion of what it means to be “in” the world but not “of” the world. And they tackle hard questions, like unanswered prayer.

I recommend this book to new Christians or those investigating Christianity. You'll get some good answers, some questions to stimulate your thinking, and some suggestions to investigate further.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Clinton E. Arnold is dean of Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He is the author of many books and is the editor of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary.
Jeff Arnold is a high school English and logic teacher in Downey, California. A former youth pastor, he is the creator of Unleashed, an intensive training camp that equips Christian teens to share their faith. He also trains new believers in the basics of theology.

Baker Books, 368 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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