Theology in Manageable Doses

The concept behind “Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day” is superb.  It presents a depth of information in a concise format and aims for objective handling of controversial doctrines.  The reader who is new to the study of theology and seeks greater understanding will not be overwhelmed; neither will the reader who has a solid background in theological studies be bored.  The author makes a sincere effort at “muting” his own beliefs and presuppositions and where he achieves that, he succeeds in making this book an excellent resource, giving respect and balanced perspective to the varying sides of controversial issues.  However, there are a number of instances when Aaron does not successfully pull off objectivity.  Most notably this occurs when he addresses the question of whether or not a Christian can lose salvation.  After maintaining an objective stance while presenting both views on that topic, he then makes a “heartfelt” attempt to convince the reader of his own position, which is that of eternal security.  To his credit, he does clearly acknowledge that he is giving his opinion at that point.   However, another topic that Aaron shades with unacknowledged subjectivity pertains to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  He does not come right out and say it, but his treatment of the topic suggests that he is a Cessationist (one who believes the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased at the end of the first century).  Indeed, in concluding that chapter Aaron states, “There is no command to know one’s spiritual gifts”.  He then goes on to suggest that if we know what our spiritual gifts are, great, if not, it doesn’t matter.  For anyone familiar with 1 Corinthians and Paul’s discussion on spiritual gifts a statement like that is bewildering.  No, Paul does not command us to know our spiritual gifts, but he tells us that we have them, that we are to compliment one another with them, that we form a functioning body when we operate in our gifts, and that the Spirit gives them to us as He determines (1 Cor 12).  Paul also says to earnestly seek spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1).  I am not a fan of powerless Christianity, and I am wary of any teacher who downplays the importance of the Holy Spirit and in essence writes off whole chapters of Scripture as being inapplicable to us today.  For this reason I would add a note of caution to my recommendation that others read this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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