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What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?: A Guide to What Matters Most Paperback – January 28, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1ST edition (January 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664236839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664236830
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a fine resource for clergy and laity alike, particularly those who have wondered: 'Do I have to believe that?'" John M. Buchanan, Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois

"Thielen engages the kinds of questions people actually ask. He combines theological acumen, a pastor's heart, and a knack for story-telling to fashion one of the most useful books I've read in a long time." Michael A. Smith, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

"For anyone still trying to get out from under that old, hard brand of Christianity that clinches its fist against science, women, or other faiths, and for those trying to sort out the simple basics of what we believe is at the heart of the Christian faith, Thielen's book is clear, accessible, down to earth, and reliable." James C. Howell, Senior Pastor, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of The Will of God

About the Author

Martin Thielen is Senior Pastor of Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. He previously served as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, for over a decade, during which the church experienced significant revitalization and growth. He has been a national worship and preaching consultant, seminary professor, and author, and has led more than one hundred church leadership workshops across the country. Visit his Web site at GettingReadyForSunday.com.

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Customer Reviews

This book was recommended to me by a pastor and I am so happy that I read it.
Frances G. Clor
And whether you agree or disagree with what he says, his subjects are not original and many people believe what he believes (and not everything he says is wrong).
Michael L. Roosa
Other information I'll say was specific to the teachings of his church (mainstream Christians even), because they don't support my understanding of the bible.
Reena Jacobs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Bob Hoskins VINE VOICE on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
... due to the way you see Christianity packaged and sold to us, then you might want to pick this one up.

If, like me, you're looking for answers to questions regarding the Christian faith then this book will serve your needs. Only to a point though, as it doesn't delve too deeply into Christianity. The book more outlines what maybe termed stumbling blocks to accepting the Christian faith and explains why these can be removed using the very source of the stumbling blocks, the bible, as a source for their removal.

The book is split into two halves:

10 things we DON'T need to believe and
10 things we DO need to believe.

Some of the 10 things we don't need to believe are:
True Christians can't believe in Evolution,
Why does God allow for catastrophe and terminal illness?
Why is it claimed that God only loves straight people?

Following this the author outlines the 10 things we do need to believe.

The author (Martin Thielen) has listed basically all my personal stumbling blocks that have kept me away from Christianity in a serious sense for 50 years. I was very, very glad to find this book as I've always wanted to get more involved but I've found myself remaining on the outside due to the conflicts in my mind.

He doesn't dispel these issues with "because the bible says so" but more accepts the issues as very viable and valid then goes on to use simple language and reasoning to prove them wrong or, at least, taken out of context. The book worked for me and helped me warm to the faith and accept the theology.

If you're struggling with Christianity in any sense due to irreconcilable issues then the book will help you overcome these issues and allow you to dispel them in a plausible way. It's a short book and doesn't use complex biblical type teachings that tend to overwhelm and confuse. It's plain English.

I enjoyed the book, it's a fast read and worth your time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laura on October 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't let the title mislead you. If you are a Christian, it is easy to think that a book like this would be cheapening your faith, but you couldn't be farther from the truth. If you are not a Christian, but you are curious about faith or think you believe in God or know you believe in Jesus but don't really live it, this book is for you. United Methodist pastor Martin Thielen writes this book to the seeker, but there is much of value in here to remind us all of the foundations of our faith and what really matters in the life of a Christian.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section tackles some sensitive subjects that non-Christians often list as their reasons for not being a Christian. Things like the role of science and women, care for the environment, homosexuality, and the overall judgment people feel from Christians. Thielen reassures readers that you do not need to tow the line of self-righteous conservative Christians in order to be a Christian. He gives fair assessments of the range of ideas that Christians hold on these issues with biblical support for moderate, mainline positions.

The second half of the book is the most important, uplifting, and undeniable part of the book, and it cuts right to the heart of the glory of Jesus Christ. Thielen lists ten things that all Christians do need to believe - that Jesus is the Son of God, that relationships are His priority, that we are accepted as His children, that He uses people for His work, that true fulfillment comes from service, that He is with us in our suffering, that there is hope, that we need church, that the Holy Spirit is with us, that we strive to bring His kingdom to the world, and just what it means to be saved. These chapters are touching, encouraging, reassuring, and convicting.
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28 of 40 people found the following review helpful By K.K.Bay on February 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Thielen, a Methodist minister, pens a very readable, entertaining, and thought-provoking tome in What's The Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Don't be put off by the title; Dr. Thielen explains why he used the title in the first few pages.

As a Christian who is put off both by the far-right's take on what Christianity is and the concept of bible inerrancy (a relatively new concept according to Thielen), this book reinforced what I already believed: that, as a Christian, I don't have to dislike gays or believers of other faiths, I don't have to take every syllable of the Bible literally, etc. But this is only half of the book; the rest is devoted to what Christians do need to believe in.

I'm currently reading this through a second time and highly recommend you pick up this wonderful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl A Smith on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sunday school studying easy read with purpose
Apply to every day life will refer others to this book
Thanks for the fast shipment
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grace L. James on October 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was as represented. The few comments in the book only enhanced its value. I got the opinion of someone else on it! Book was very interesting with clear and logical arguments. A book every thoughtful Christian should read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BetteW on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Common sense, easy to understand, yet so informative. Loaned my first copy to a friend and lost it forever until second purchase!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bugs on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Recommended by my father, this was an interesting experience in the questioning of what it means to be a "Good Christian". A safe read without violating any beliefs!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas on April 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is difficult, in these times, to understand an ancient text and how it relates to today's issues. This is a wonderful text that clearly explains the major schools of Christian thought on a variety of topics. Though very general, it serves as a springboard for further thought and study. It also can clear up a number of misunderstandings Christians might have about an assumed outdated church that has indeed moved into the 21st century.
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