Review of Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times by Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel

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Genre: Christian Theology

Recommended.

This is not a typical theology book: it is written for a popular audience in a fun and accessible style while also presenting major theological issues within their historical contexts. It has two sections: the first addressing ecclesiology (the study of the church), and the second featuring eschatology (the study of the end times). The title “Christian Theology” may connote a larger range of theologies, so I want to emphasize that ecclesiology and eschatology are the primary focuses; other doctrinal theologies (say, the discussion of the Trinity, or of the work of the Holy Spirit, and so forth) are not discussed in depth as they are beyond the intended scope. Also, the application of the theologies at hand are highlighted more so than the theologies themselves, which is what makes this text unique and special.

The first section I particularly enjoyed. It is concise, engaging, and draws examples from pop culture in order to bring application and relevance to each subject. The examples are appropriate for the intended audience (lay-persons who want to know a bit of theology), and I think the authors have done a great job of sharing an unbiased perspective and encouraging involvement and appreciation within and for the church body.

The section on the end times could have provided a more thorough overview of the major positions, and also could have discussed the implications of each eschatological position. I did not enjoy this section as much, although the writing is still very accessible, and the overall message is positive (though a bit biased toward Dispensational Premillennialism). I appreciate the authors’ focus on the big picture rather than on the details. The historical chapter within this section is also very good.

Overall, this is a great book for non-scholars who want to get a taste for theology, or could be read for encouragement or general spiritual growth.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.

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