Friday, May 11, 2012

What Christians Believe

Colson, Charles and Harold Fickett. What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008. 240 pp. $18.99. ISBN: 9780310276036.

In The Faith, Charles Colson, popular speaker, apologist, and founder of Prison Fellowship, articulates the basic beliefs held by Christians "everywhere, always, and by all" (30). Most Christians are not prepared to face the rising hostility of two opposing forces: Western Secularism and "Islamic Fascism." This is because "most professing Christians do not know what they believe, and so can neither understand nor defend--much less live it," observed Colson. The author's goal is to "write an accessible book that would summarize in about 240 pages the basic truths of Christianity"(9). Colson is trying to do what C. S. Lewis attempted to do in an earlier century, teach the essential doctrines of Christianity. These beliefs can be found in the "historic creeds of the church, and, obviously, in Scripture" (238).

The Faith is separated into two parts: "God and the Faith" and "The Faith and Life." In the first part, Colson provides reasons for the existence of God, how He has spoken, the knowability of truth, the Fall, the Incarnation, and the trinity. The second part explores salvation, forgiveness and reconciliation, the Church, holiness, and last things. The chapter on last things is followed by a chapter on the "joy of Orthodoxy." Colson argues convincingly that embracing the orthodox faith is not boring, but a great adventure.

The author clearly articulates "The Faith once for all handed down to the saints [that has] been faithfuully preserved by them from age to age" (239). Colson celebrates the essential beliefs that are affirmed in the ecumenical creeds of the early church, accepted by all Christians today. This is a needed book.

I was sorry to hear of the recent departure of Colson from this earth. His life has been a shining example of how the gospel can change a person's life forever.

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