When we have been raised within a particular Christian faith tradition, we may be taught or at least come to the conclusion that it is the only valid form of Christianity. I grew up in the Reformed tradition and was deeply steeped in Calvinism. Fortunately, I attended a Free Methodist university where I was confronted with a very different belief system and independently studied them both.
Kristian introduces readers to the wide stream of belief within orthodox Christianity. She helps readers understand the range of views Christians have had over the centuries on seventeen big theological issues. She writes about everything from the Bible to salvation to baptism to the end times and nearly everything in between. She includes short biographies of interesting people from history and interviews of people in particular faith traditions. There are discussion questions on each topic so this would be a good book for a study group.
I highly recommend this book. We Christians need to be aware of the variety in belief, worship and service Christians have exercised over time. Kristian writes, “...following Jesus is a big, weird, amazing thing that individual believers, movements, and denominations have expressed in remarkably different ways over the centuries.” (8) Reading this book will help keep us from being chronological and theological snobs, thinking ours is the best way to exercise Christian faith.
You can read an excerpt here.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Bonnie Kristian is a theological and political writer with a national following. She is the weekend editor at The Week and a foreign policy fellow at Defense Priorities, and her work has appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, Politico, USA Today, Relevant Magazine, The Hill, Christianity Today, and the American Conservative, among other outlets.
FaithWords, 272 pages.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)