Monday, November 21, 2011

"Questions of Life" by Nicky Gumbel

TITLE: Alpha: Questions of Life - A practical introduction to the Christian Life
AUTHOR: Nicky Gumbel
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2003.

One of the most pressing needs in the church is continued Christian Education. This is necessary not just for young believers but also the older ones. For the young, they need an introduction to the Christian faith that is not only theological, but practical as well. For the older, they need to be reminded.

One can argue that true theology is practical. Unfortunately, there is too much anti-theology mindset going around in the Church today, especially among older believers. With cynicism, some people are also easily dismissive of theologians, preferring to breathe in their own air of anti-intellectualism. This is due in part to some over-zealous students, professors, pastors, and teachers of theology who unwittingly speak high-sounding words in an unintelligible way. The result is that people get put off when they equate such heady words with common theology. Not this book. Instead of heavy theological lifting needed, readers both young and old will find it a fresh invitation to ask basic questions without settling for easy answers.

Gumbel poses 15 basic questions as follows:
  1. Christianity: Boring, Untrue, and Irrelevant?
  2. Who is Jesus?
  3. Why did Jesus Die?
  4. How can I be sure of my Faith?
  5. Why and how should I read the Bible?
  6. Why and how do I pray?
  7. How does God guide us?
  8. Who is the Holy Spirit?
  9. What does the Holy Spirit do?
  10. How can I be filled with the Spirit?
  11. How can I resist Evil?
  12. Why and how should we tell others?
  13. Does God heal today?
  14. What about the Church?
  15. How can I make the most of the rest of my life?
All of these questions are pretty basic. Yet, in churches, people continue to ask these basic questions. This book is a great supplement to the highly popular ALPHA courses worldwide. The chapters are written in a very easy to read manner, filled with illustrations, discussion questions, and inviting topics. The main benefit is not the giving of answers, but the way it generates discussions and further questions. If you are thinking of getting the book to learn Christianity 101, this book is certainly a good start.

Sometimes, the most fundamental things we need are simply basic.


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