Theology for Amateurs

This is a short, readable theological book. Some may say; 'What- theology readable? Never!' They seem to think that theology by definition is confusing and hard going. It all depends on what definition you have of theology. I was reading another book at the same time and saw this definition; Theology is 'people of faith using their minds to understand who God is and how He works.' Eugene Petersen. Answering God page 13.

It is sadly true that there is an amazing ignorance among 'church' people of what the Bible teaches about God and how He works. Evangelicals have tended to shun 'theology' because of bad experiences and the old comment about 'going to theological college ruins your faith.' There was some truth in the phrase. I have been to theological colleges in 60's, 80's' and 90's. All I can say it has got better and this book can help people be more theological without realising it. McGrath speaks of images, stories and words all helping to grasp the wonder of our God and the way He works. Theology can deepen our faith and excite us about God. This has happened to me recently in an 'In study service week' at a local Theological College- all of us were excited about the theology we were reading and discussing! Theology can affect the prayer meeting, our daily lives and how we share Jesus.

One chapter is called 'Jargon busting' and reminds us of what C. S. Lewis wrote years ago 'I have come to the conclusion that if you cannot translate your own thoughts in uneducated language then your thoughts are confused. Power to translate is the test of having really understood your own meaning.' Alistair McGrath is a theologian who passes C.S. Lewis's test. There are some wonderful cartoons- I liked the one that has theology as a tree growing out of the Bible.

It's a pity that many theologians have not heeded what the old theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote about theology; it is not so much about understanding things as being forced to our knees in adoration and praise. Yes theology can feed our spiritual lives says McGrath quoting J. I. Packer who has fed much spiritual living in the last 40 years and still does.

It is a short book of about 100 pages that briefly sets out to:-

  1. Introduce you to theology
  2. Show you it is worthwhile
  3. Encourage you to take it further.

You haven't read any theology? I suggest you start here and I hope go on from here and find that 'There's gold in them there hills.'

THEOLOGY Book 2 could be the new book just published by Paternoster 'The potted guide to Theology ', no price available yet. I only got a pre-publication draft. This unique and innovative guide brings theology alive, transforming a formidable subject into an exciting and relevant journey through time.' It has pictures and cartoons.

So many people do not have the time to read how theology has developed over the centuries and yet unknowingly much of our thinking has been greatly influenced by people like Calvin, Luther Augustine and Zwingli. In this book we are attractively introduced to key Christian figures who we owe a lot. Every Christian can expect to be blessed by becoming more theological with this book.

Go on become more theological.

ANDREW BARKER

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