Sunday, August 2, 2015

Exploring Christian Theology: Volume Two {a Bethany House review}

At the end of 2014, I had the chance to review an absolutely fabulous book, Exploring Christian Theology: Volume 1.

So when I was offered Exploring Christian Theology: Volume Two by Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel, you better believe I jumped at the chance.

The first volume focused on "Revelation, Scripture, and Truth" in part one, and "God in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in part two.

Volume Two also has two sections.  The first is "Creation, Humanity, and the Fall."  Part two is "Gospel, Atonement, and Saving Grace."

This volume is absolutely as fantastic as the first.

I'm copying the description of the format of these books from my previous review.  Each part includes:
  • High Altitude Survey, a big-picture overview of the topic
  • Passages to Master, a list of key Bible verses on the topic, along with commentary on why they are important
  • An "in Retrospect" section, that goes over the topic through history (Patristic Period, Medieval Period, Protestant Period, Modern Period)
  • Facts to Never Forget, a section with key points to remember
  • Dangers to Avoid, or some heretical types of thinking on the topic
  • Principles to Put Into Practice, or a 'how to actually apply this to your life' section
  • Voices from the Past and Present, that talks about what others have written on the topic in various periods (listed above)
  • Shelf Space, which recommends titles for additional reading
Now that I have two of the three volumes, it is a bit easier to talk about what I like with this series. 

I love the "in Retrospect" sections.  Tracing what was generally believed in various time periods is just fascinating to me.  Similarly, the Voice from the Past and Present section, also split into the various periods, gives real words from real people.  I enjoy that.  I'm a bit of a history geek, so that is likely a big part of it.

The Dangers to Avoid is probably my favorite though.  This seems really practical to me.  I described it above as talking about heretical types of thinking, but that just sounds so formal and old.  It isn't.  It's talking about what society today has to say about these issues, and why that is wrong.  And it does so in a way that grabs my attention, referencing books, advertising jingles, and even using The Lord of the Rings as an example of what we ought to be doing.

I will be buying Volume Three (which is already available, as Volume Two is the final one to be published.)

Disclosure:  Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

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