From Publishers Weekly
This gentle little book manages to summarize the entire scope of classic Christian theology, from the nature of God to the end of time, in amazingly few pages, basing every theological assertion on a single theme: the more we understand that "gracious love defines the core of God's character,... the more gracious our Christianity will become." Jacobsen, a professor at Messiah College, and Sawatsky, president of the college until his death in 2004, not only describe the basic tenets of the Christian faith but also draw out their implications for everyday life: "We are called to nurture and protect the world as if it were a precious possession entrusted to us by our dearest friend with the stipulation that the earth's treasures be used for the benefit of all." Even difficult doctrines like sin and hell become occasions of graciousness. Sin, for example, "is anything that willfully diminishes the life that we and the rest of creation are meant to enjoy." Basing their theology on Scripture, the authors draw on influential apologists past and present such as Augustine, Aquinas, Bonhoeffer, Nouwen and McLaren. This gracious and accessible book, which includes abundant discussion questions for group study, will appeal to a wide spectrum of Christians. (Feb.)
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Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology, and the late Sawatsky, an administrator of church-related colleges, offer a conversation on what it means to be Christian that they intend to be of help to other Christians in understanding and engaging others, Christian and otherwise, whose views may differ from theirs. They discuss what it means to welcome a gracious Christianity and admit that, while Christians are called to be gracious, few live up to that elusive ideal. They discuss God and creation, human nature, salvation, the church as community, and the appropriate relationship between church and state. Their last chapter they devote to the Bible, which they liken to a newspaper. Like a newspaper, the Bible, they maintain, contains many kinds and many styles of writing in an eclectic collection of stories and laws, and there are many different ways of reading it. Approach it with an open and humble mind, they say. A short, thoughtful book packed with intriguing ideas. Let the conversations begin. June SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved