This week’s book of the week is Wayne Grudem’s Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know. This book is a condensed version of the condensed version of his first systematic theology textbook. The big one that I read in college is 1,290 pages, and he has a condensed version of 528 pages. This volume is down to 159.
I’ve always known Grudem had a brilliant mind. Just recently, I discovered he’s my hero as he shared a testimony concerning marriage at Family Life’s Art of Marriage conference. He is truly loving his wife the way Christ loved the church. Never imagined this great theologian as such a romantic!
So much good stuff in here. A short chapter on each belief. Lots of scripture references and study. I’ll give you 10 great lines from the first chapters to whet your appetite!
10 of the 20 Chapter Summaries:
1. What is the Bible? – “God’s opinion of his words can be broken down into four general categories: authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency” (13).
2. What is God Like? – “Therefore, belief in God is not some ‘blind faith;’ it is based on evidence found both in the Bible and in the natural world” (22).
3. What is the Trinity? – “Although different analogies from creation can help us a bit in understanding the Trinity, ultimately all analogies fail in describing this mystery, for they attempt to explain the being of God in terms of the creation” (39).
4. What is Creation? – “The Bible teaches that although God did not need to create anything, he chose to create us and chose to create us in his image” (44).
5. What is Prayer? – “Prayer, which is personal communication from us to God, not only helps us know about God but also helps us truly know God” (48).
6. What Are Angels, Satan, and Demons? – “Like God’s angels, Satan and his demons are active in the world today, and they work much evil. But they are not solely responsible for all the evil in the world. Much of the sin mentioned in the Bible is not the result of Satan or his demons but instead the result of an individual person’s own actions (James 1:14)” (56).
7. What is Man? – “He wasn’t lonely, nor did he need someone or something to bring him praise or give him glory. But he still chose to create us, and we do bring him glory” (58).
8. What is Sin? – “Sin mars the image of God in us; we no longer reflect the perfection God created us to reflect. Because of sin, things simply aren’t the way they were originally meant to be” (62).
9. Who is Christ? – “The one who knew exactly how things were supposed to be came to a place where things obviously weren’t. In Jesus, God and man became one person, a person unlike anyone else the world has ever seen or will ever see” (67).
10. What is the Atonement? – “Jesus knew there was no other way for God to save us than for him to die in our place” (73).
10 more great chapters are available in this book (resurrection, election, becoming a Christian, justification and adoption, sanctification and perseverance, death, church, Christ’s return, final judgment, and heaven). Check it out – it’s a great intro read into theology.