Book Review: Christian Beliefs
For the last couple of years, we’ve used an abridged version of Grudem’s Systematic Theology in Karis Church. Edited by his son Elliot, Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know is a great resource for training leaders in the local church. Its twenty chapters summarize Christian doctrine quite well. What I’ve done in Karis is gather potential leaders twice a month to discuss a new chapter each time over breakfast. I’ve also paired that chapter with an article that I think expresses something core to the vision of our church. In addition, I always provide pages numbers for those who’d prefer to read in either “Big Grudem” or “Middle Grudem.” We generally call Christian Beliefs “Little Grudem.” One other thing I don’t want to forget: my friend Scott Thomas has also written a companion volume for the book. I’ve utilized it, along with the last pages of Grudem’s chapters, to formulate discussion questions for what we call “Theology Cohort.”
Christian Beliefs is a helpful resource. Note, however, that the chapters are very short (less than 10 pages). They do a decent job of summarizing the main points in the larger volume, yet the Grudems can only go so deep in that small of a word count. In addition, given Grudem’s reputation and passion, the book strangely lacks a chapter on the Holy Spirit. I know you can’t cover everything, particularly in an abridgment of an abridgment, but that one surprised me. Regardless, a cohort can supplement that deficiency with an article. I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of Christian Beliefs.
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