"What Christians Ought to Believe", by Michael F. Bird (book review)
But this phenomenon didn't begin in the 21st Century, or even in the West. Disputes over Christian doctrine, over what Christians ought to believe -- and what its clergy ought to teach -- have raged for centuries. Enter: the ancient creeds. Creeds like the Nicene, Apostle's, Athanasian Creeds, etc., were written to firm up various disputes in clear, concise, and easy-to-memorize fashion.
"What Christians Ought to Believe" is an expository and historical handling of the Apostle's Creed:
This book dives deep into theological issues applicable for our day, and is the kind of book where it would be good for readers to have a Bible handy. I didn't find the book to be a fast read since I carefully progressed through it by writing notes in the margins of my Bible, or writing and asking questions in the margins of this book for later reflection. Needless to say, I didn't (couldn't, in fact) simply speed-read through it.
My favorite chapter was chapter 8: "Believing in the Offence of the Cross", where Bird explains, whereas we have grown accustomed to wearing a cross as jewelry, the real "cross tells us what God is like." It offends. Period. Bird writes on p. 117, "For critics of Christianity...the cross is the epitome of religion gone crazy...the cross is shameful, affronting, absurd, nonsensical, and plain unjust." But in all reality, the cross is, indeed, all of those things. It doesn't make sense to the human mind. But "upon the cross we encounter the depth of God's mercy for those who were once children of disobedience and his love for those once enslaved to the present evil age".
Rating: I give What Christians Ought to Believe 5 stars out of 5. I appreciate several facets about the book, namely Bird's deep-diving approach. He is an excellent writer, and a sound Bible expositor. Well done, Mr. Bird!
Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review of it. All opinions are mine, and I was not forced to give a positive review of this title.
at 8:13 AM