Questioning as unbelief?

by Kim on February 22, 2011

Many Christians regard questioning as equivalent to unbelief. In the Church they have been taught what to believe about God and how to behave, and they have built their lives on this teaching. What they want from the Church is the assurance that they are loved by God, that the lives they lead are good, and that what they believe is true. What is not wanted is anything which questions that assurance. This is not because churchgoers are incapable of thinking about new ideas. It is rather that the majority see no need for them. They believe what they were taught and it has worked for them. It also meets their needs for affirmation. Questioning, or even thought, disturbs the quiet surface of reassurance that the Church is expected to supply, because it could suggest that their way of life or they themselves are not so acceptable to God as they wish to believe. It is, therefore, resisted.

It is also true that many churchgoers do not know enough about academic theology or modern ethical issues to understand why traditional ideas are being questioned. Lay people are often not informed about or do not understand the nature of the most important questions for contemporary theology, or why they are legitimate questions. Instead of being equipped to discuss them, they are frequently upset when anybody in authority in the Church gives anything other than the teaching with which they are familiar. They should not be blamed for this reaction; it is the Church as an institution that is at fault for failing to educate its members. At its best the Church has given meaning and purpose both to individuals and to society as a whole. However, the consequence of this failure to educate the laity in contemporary theology is that quite often they misunderstand what is being said and they are ill-equipped to engage constructively with modern thought….

… There is a widespread confusion between the values of social groups and the teachings of the Christian religion. As a consequence, local churches seem to function primarily to promote their own social and moral values which, though informed by Christianity, represent a Christianity selected and adapted to support the ideological interests of the community in which the church is placed. Ironically, while resisting engagement with secular knowledge through the adoption of ideological closure, ecclesiastical bodies may be very much assimilated to the secular attitudes and practices of local or national social, economic and political structures. Indeed they may use the teaching of Christ to justify these structures and then protect these ideological beliefs, alongside more overtly religious ones, through the ideological closure which includes them both.

Jeremy Young, The Cost of Certainty (London: DLT, 2004), pp. 48-49, 51.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Bob Gilston 02.22.11 at 4:34 pm

” it is the Church as an institution that is at fault for failing to educate its members.”

My experience of members in the churches that I have attended over the years (all Methodist) is that most get their Christian education from the sermons on Sunday. Those that do engage in Bible study groups share with like minded lay members who “are often not informed about or do not understand the nature of the most important questions for contemporary theology, or why they are legitimate questions.”

I have to say that I am learning more from following the various threads in Richard’s blog than maybe I have in the various Fellowships that I have belonged to. Maybe the Bible study material that is used doesn’t test us too greatly or if it does we have been too entrenched in our faith that has developed from when we were first in Sunday School 40 to 50 years ago.

I think there would be much to be gained if our clergy/preachers were to allow some discussion following their sermons (at some time during the following week). This would only be helpful of course if the preacher was “informed about or …. understood the nature of the most important questions for contemporary theology”.

2

Mendip Nomad 02.22.11 at 5:18 pm

Bob, you raise an interesting point, one I know some churches (in more than just Methodism) are grappling with and putting into action. One of the churches near me regularly has “discussion services”, where the worship is about 40 minutes long, then there is a short break for coffee, and then a discussion, led by the Minister/Preacher, on the sermon.
It is certainly something I and my fellow Student Ministers are aware of as an area for development as well, so it may become more common a feature elsewhere as well as we go into Circuit (or Parish).

3

Doug 02.22.11 at 6:16 pm

“because it could suggest that their way of life or they themselves are not so acceptable to God as they wish to believe. It is, therefore, resisted.”

No its because society today is rejecting the foundation of Christian Faith and the Gospel and Nature of Christ therein. To suggest that myself is “not informed” because I don’t desire to “entertain questions” all of the time seems rather “shortsighted”.

“Being CONFIDENT/certain of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

4

Kim 02.22.11 at 7:11 pm

QED

5

Paul F. 02.22.11 at 7:28 pm

Last I checked, American society (assuming that’s what you’re referring to, Doug) hasn’t rejected the foundation of Christian faith because it never accepted it as a foundation in the first place.

6

Doug 02.22.11 at 8:19 pm

I wasn’t referring solely to American society. I guess I was referring to society’s influence on the church, America, etc., etc. to reject what I stated therein. I guess I needed to replece “society” with the “church at large”. However, it is the “church at large” that is being wrongly influenced by “society” which you correctly stated “never accepted in the first place”. Sorry for the confusion. I’m glad to restate to help you better understand this position. Hope this helps.

The church needs to attempt to change or be a beacon of Light to society “which never accepted it as foundation in the first place” as opposed to the church being influenced in the opposite direction. The church at large used to have the foundation of Christian Faith in its platform but because society is influencing the church to reject that foundation or weaken that foundation that is the issue. Many people are diengenuous in the questioning of Faith. For those who are not and are searching for answers my compassion is with you. However when it comes to questioning not for answers but in attempt to undermine ones Faith that that the church must stand firm against on.

7

Bob Gilston 02.22.11 at 8:59 pm

The original post states that the majority of churchgoers see no need for new ideas. I think Doug is correct when he says that society is influencing the church, but I don’t think particularly it is because it rejects the foundation upon which it is based. People (and I mean Christians as well) are so self-centred that they have allowed their faith to be compromised by society’s standards. Unfortunately, many Christians stick to a dogma that they were introduced to at an early stage in their Christian upbringing and are not prepared to open their minds to the possibility that the theology is flawed.

“they are frequently upset when anybody in authority in the Church gives anything other than the teaching with which they are familiar”.

I believe that all Christians owe it to themselves to believe that they may not have the theology right and be open to the possibility that it has to change.

8

Pam 02.22.11 at 9:49 pm

I live in a rural/regional area where probably the most “progressive” church would be the Uniting Church. The UC here has maybe 20-30 active members, none under the age of 55 years, and is entrenched in a “certain” worship & community involvement format. Not for me.
The Anglican church I attend has a more diverse congregation. However, the teaching is ultra-conservative. Again, not really me, but more me than the UC here. Ironically, the UC in Sydney is generally more progressive, but I don’t live there.
So, I pretty much have to find my own way. I believe we pretty much have to find our own way anyway. And I haven’t studied theology, but am a voracious reader. I take seriously the Bible, I take seriously my commitment to my church. And I also take seriously my empathy and moving towards “non-believers”.
How we treat each other while we are questioning is maybe more important to me than the questioning.

9

Bob Gilston 02.22.11 at 9:56 pm

You’re absolutely right Pam regarding how we treat each other. I was many years ago a member of a Men’s Fellowship (probably wouldn’t be considered pc now). I remember one chap openly stating that he didn’t know yet whether he believed there was a God or not. He was quite rightly accepted as a part of the Fellowship and his views respected. He eventually became a local preacher, vindication of the importance of how we treat one another.

10

Doug 02.22.11 at 10:17 pm

I agree with you Pam. I also agree with Bob’s statement here as well, “People (and I mean Christians as well) are so self-centred that they have allowed their faith to be compromised by society’s standards.”

I believe that we must operate with care toward “non-believers” but at the same time we must be commited to the foundations of God, His Word, etc.

One of my favorite Scriptures is “Be ready to give an answer to the Hope of your calling.”

Love ya both in the Lord and God bless,

Doug

11

Bob Gilston 02.22.11 at 11:10 pm

Just for clarification. I include myself as one of those people who are “self-centred” and I fail to live my life as Christ teaches it to be.

12

PamBG 02.22.11 at 11:27 pm

This may be something of a peripheral comment but I recently once again reached a point where I was seriously considering leaving organised religion altogether. (Ironic, I know.) And once again, God put me in a church where I could put down roots and grow. What I’ve been bowled over by, though, is how theologically well-educated the lay people are.

Not only do they have a real, working knowledge of the bible, they are also informed about various critical methods[1] and can quote theologians accurately and in context. We actually had a sane and informative discussion on the subject of gay marriage and people actually disagreed with each other in an intelligent, civil and generous way. I must find out how this happened but my suspicion is that it was simply a culture of interest and one person urging another to think and inquire. I can truly be myself with them and it’s wonderful.

[1] A younger (30-something) lay person who knows I’m a minister was describing Redaction Criticism to me at which point I said “Do you mean Redaction Criticism?” The person brightened up and said: “Yes! I didn’t think you’d know about it. I thought it was ‘after your time’”. :-)

13

Pam 02.22.11 at 11:27 pm

Bob, we all fail to live our lives as Christ teaches. Lucky we are loved eh? It’s nice for me to know you are active on this blog.

Doug, I don’t interact with non-believers because of any agenda. I just interact with people (full stop).

14

Earl 02.22.11 at 11:58 pm

“Many Christians…” etc. Really. The writer needs to get out more. He might be surprised at how “many Christians” deal with issues of faith… and even doubt. As far as academia is concerned as well as a supposed ignorance of ethical issues, etc., again he needs to get out more. Lay people routinely deal with complex issues in secular life. Life experience informs Christian faith on both sides of the altar rail. It is the same even with theologians. If they wish to be heard, they must go beyond jargon and speak in the plain language of lay people. If they can do so persuasively, they will gain a hearing. Blaming lay people for ignoring them is a poor excuse for their own failure to effectively communicate.

Christian faith is not monochromatic. Paul described in detail the diversity of perspectives that existed even as early as the Primitive Church. James spoke to the challenge of how faith and practice intersected. Substitution of any ideology for the teachings of Christ is toxic. The best antidote is close careful attention to Scripture in personal Bible study and group worship.

15

Pam 02.23.11 at 12:20 am

Liked much of what you said Earl. Not every single thing but much.

16

Bob Gilston 02.23.11 at 12:22 am

Earl. What is it you know about me that suggests to you that I need “to get out more”? You don’t know anything about my experiences with people Christian and non-Christian. I can assure you my experience includes many Christians who “deal with issues of faith… and even doubt.” My comments related to those who don’t and they are “many”.

17

Bob Gilston 02.23.11 at 12:27 am

My point also Earl was not about Christians dealing with faith or doubt but those who are so entrenched in their dogmatic beliefs that they aren’t open to teachings that might just reveal truth to them.

18

Earl 02.23.11 at 3:01 am

“Earl. What is it you know about me that suggests…”, etc. With respect, my comment was entirely a response to the three paragraphs of the original post. At no point was reference made or inferred to any subsequent comment.

19

Paul F. 02.23.11 at 9:10 am

“The best antidote is close careful attention to Scripture in personal Bible study and group worship.”

That’s what the author Kim quoted was referring to — Biblical illiteracy and indifference to contemporary theology = ideology with Jesus sprinkled on top.

Pam, I’m with you on belonging to an Anglican church that you don’t always agree with. I’m aware that the Australia branch of Anglicanism is pretty Calvinist. Am I mistaken? Anyway, I attend a very Anglo-catholic cathedral here in the U.S. while I tend toward a more Reformed, “N.T. Wright” form of Anglicanism.

20

Bob Gilston 02.23.11 at 9:24 am

Apologies Earl for the misunderstanding. I had used the term you referred to. However I’m not sure “the writer needs to get out more” is an appropriate response. I happen to think his observations are valid.
I agree with Paul’s comment about personal Bible study and group worship but there is still the problem that those engaged in study “do not know enough about academic theology or modern ethical issues to understand why traditional ideas are being questioned”.
Where is the guidance from our church leaders to their congregations about what we should be reading?

21

Doug 02.23.11 at 3:00 pm

“Doug, I don’t interact with non-believers because of any agenda. I just interact with people (full stop).”

Pam, I too am the same here. However, if a person whoever it may be asks me a question about God, the Bible, God’s Word, Jesus, etc. then I’m “going to give the answer to the hope of my calling.” Also, if after some time to where I’m beyond acquaintence closer to a friend and I see they are in need of help, discipleship, etc. I’m more than willing to point out how they can be closer to God. However, the interaction from the git-go is not one of “an agenda”.

Hopefully you didn’t get the wrong impression from my earlier post.

22

Doug 02.23.11 at 3:02 pm

“Substitution of any ideology for the teachings of Christ is toxic. The best antidote is close careful attention to Scripture”

I loved this statement Earl. Thanks. :)

23

Bob Gilston 02.23.11 at 4:31 pm

Open question to all who post on this blog.

What book alongside that of the Bible would you recommend as required reading so that we can be “informed about or understand the nature of the most important questions for contemporary theology”?

24

Doug 02.23.11 at 5:48 pm

Bob, my recommendation would be “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell another is “Desiring God” by John Piper “More than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell another is “How Good Is Good Enough? by Andy Stanley

Bob hopefully you appreciated these suggestions.

25

Kim 02.23.11 at 6:16 pm

Hi Bob,

A couple of excellent basic “texts” on doctrine and ethics:

On doctrine:

In the SCM Core Texts series: Mike Higton, Christian Doctrine (London: SCM, 2008).

Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Grand Rapids / Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans, 2004).

On ethics:

Robin Gill (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics (Cambridge: CUP, 2001).

Samuel Wells & Ben Quash, Introducing Christian Ethics (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

On ethics and the NT, the outstanding Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996).

26

Bob Gilston 02.23.11 at 7:57 pm

Thanks Kim and Doug. That’s £145 so far at second hand prices. I might have to wait for a birthday or Christmas for some of them.

Kim, “The Moral Vision of the New Testament” is the most expensive book in the list. Would you recommend it over the other books on ethics?

27

Mendip Nomad 02.23.11 at 8:14 pm

Hi Bob,

Migliore’s book is certainly a core text here in Cambridge for Doctrine. Others include:

Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology - An Introduction (5th Edition) (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)
Colin E. Gunton (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine (Cambridge: CUP, 1997)

Rowan Williams, On Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000) - whatever one thinks of +Rowan, of his personal theology (at least as it is portrayed in the media) and how he has led the C of E and the worldwide Anglican Communion, his contribution to modern academic theology can not be underestimated and he is worth reading.
Herbet McCabe, OP, God Matters (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1987) - there have been more recent editions printed since McCabe’s death in 2001, any of which will do, alongside the posthumously printed collection of previously unpublished works, God Still Matters. And I will declare my bias here - I reckon McCabe was an utter genius. Whether they agree with me or not on that most students of modern doctrine will agree his influence cannot be denied.

N.T. (Tom) Wright is also good - coming from a different theological position than Williams and McCabe (much of his work is in the area of NT Studies - he’s one of the major NT scholars of our time - but he has written more theological/doctrinal stuff as well, such as Surprised by Hope (London: SPCK, 2007))

The (translated) writings of St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli, and John Wesley all deserve reading in their own right as well, as I’m sure Kim would agree :).

On Ethics, our first go-to text-book is:
Stanley Hauerwas & Samuel Wells (Eds), The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (Oxford: OUP, 2003)

Hauerwas is a Christian ethicist who is also worth getting to grips with in his own right.

And, while it is a heck of a book to read your way through, no review of texts in modern Ethics would be complete without the following:

Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Duckworth, 1981) - there have been plenty of editions since, most recently in 2006 or 7 I think, so you don’t need to go hunting the second-hand book stores for it!

With the suggestions from Earl, Kim and I, with various different starting points and angles covered, that should keep you going for a while! :)

28

Mendip Nomad 02.23.11 at 8:22 pm

Bob, re: your question at 26 - I clearly can’t speak for Kim, and I’m sure he won’t hold back on his opinion, but if you’re just starting out I really would recommend either the Cambridge or Blackwell Companion. I have not read the Hays book and it comes highly recommended by a couple of people here in Cambridge, however the Companions will give you a better grounding of where ethical thought stands right now, from which you can then launch into Hays. Hope this makes sense.

29

Bob Gilston 02.23.11 at 9:10 pm

Thanks MN for your advice which is greatly appreciated. One can see why in the original post that Jeremy Young states “It is also true that many churchgoers do not know enough about academic theology or modern ethical issues to understand why traditional ideas are being questioned.”
I would guess that lay people would a) not even know those books existed, b) not be inclined to read more than one or two of them. I hope Kim gives me his pointers too because it is unlikely that I’ll get at all of the books suggested but want to know where best to start.

30

Doug 02.23.11 at 9:10 pm

Bob, it appears people are suggesting some “deep theologians”. My suggestions, while theological, were based on a slightly less “scholarly tone”. My additional suggestions to match the level of “scholarly analysis” are anything from these theologians:

R.C. Sproul, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Finney and Charles Spurgeon

Some additional authors to go along with the particular books I referenced are as follows: Chuck Swindol, Chuck Colson, Ravi Zacharias, John MacArthur, Josh McDowell, Franklin Graham, just to name a few.

31

Tony Buglass 02.23.11 at 9:29 pm

Kim got in ahead of me - I was going to suggest Migliore “Faith Seeking Understanding.” It was the textbook for the Apologetics course which used to be run by the Methodist Church Open Learning Centre - accessible, but deep enough to get properly into the questions.

32

Tony Buglass 02.23.11 at 9:33 pm

PS - I bought and read Josh McDowell. I wouldn’t recommend him for the subject you raise, but he’s a good introduction to a very conservative biblical theology. Indeed, he would have been a good textbook for the Biblical Theology course I took as part of the course at Cliff College in the mid-70s. I think he fails to adequately address some of the more critical issues around biblical studies, but he’s worth reading to hear that point of view.

33

Pam 02.23.11 at 9:41 pm

Paul F @ comment 19: The Anglican Primate in Australia, Phillip Aspinall, is I believe welcoming to more progressive ideas and the neighbouring diocese, Canberra & Goulburn, is also open about these questions. But the Sydney Anglicans (my diocese) will not even contemplate the idea of women in charge of a parish, or equality for homosexuals in the full life of the church. I am heartened though by a number of my fellow parishioners who agree with me.
That we can all love and respect each other in our diversity is my hope.

34

Mendip Nomad 02.23.11 at 10:12 pm

Glancing up at my bending bookshelves, another to recommend is John Stott - he’s published a whole heap of stuff. In terms of ethics I would suggest New Issues Facing Christians Today (3rd or 4th Editions - 4th was re-edited with Roy McCloughry) (London: Zondervan, 1999/2006) - Stott comes very much from the evangelical position, which means I often don’t personally agree with him, but he is thoughtful and considered and worth reading, IMO.

35

Mendip Nomad 02.23.11 at 10:17 pm

Doug - sorry, I wrote that Earl had made suggestions when, in fact, it was you. You are clearly different people and that was a silly mistake, so my apologies.
Oh, and re: 30, are you suggesting John Piper (at 24) isn’t a “deep theologian”? - I’m sure you’d find common ground with many here if you are ;)

36

Paul F. 02.23.11 at 10:22 pm

For what it’s worth, Bob (it seems you’ve just had 30-some books recommended to you!), I’d agree with Mendip that Surprised by Hope is the best thing to read by N.T. Wright. (Wright himself feels it may be his most important work) If I could get the ideas of one book into the heart and mind of every Christian I know, it’d be that one.

37

Doug 02.23.11 at 10:24 pm

Pam, like I said, the society of the world is attempting to change the society of the church and the standards therein to the detriment of the church. How can one entertain questions regarding “equality of homosexuals in the life of the church” when Scripture in Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6 state otherwise? When one states “equality” I have no problem with homosexuals attending church but if the church has a view that the acting upon that desire is acceptable that is what is contrary to Scripture. That is not to say that I don’t love and respect homosexuals and women as co-leaders of a church (my particular Presbyterian church has a wonderful woman pastor as a “co-leader”).

38

Pam 02.23.11 at 10:30 pm

Ah, Doug, it’s early in the day here. But if it was later in the day I’d lie down with a cool cloth on my brow after reading that!!

39

Doug 02.23.11 at 11:03 pm

Pam, lying down with a cool cloth on my brow sounds real refreashing right now. :)

BTW on a totally off-the-topic sidebar, my pastor Ms. Brown at my Presbyterian church gave the best sermon I have ever heard on prayer. I think a real real long time ago you and I discussed about prayer, answering of prayer, why’s of prayer, etc. Looking back I wish I could have taken her words, which my view never contradicted, and had her attitude back then on what I stated in reply to your postings.

You and I have come a long way. While we disagree and at times strongly disagree, I totally have the upmost respect for you from the bottom of my heart. I’m not being diengenuous, flattery, etc. God knows my heart and “what you see is what you get”. :) God bless you and all on this thread.

One of my favorite Scripture is this: “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds by Christ Jesus.

While the Apostle Paul says “Great each other with a Holy kiss.” I don’t think it would be approriate and also definitely my wife would not approve nor should she as well. Just kidding. Got to have some humor. :)

40

Doug 02.23.11 at 11:03 pm

Sorry Kim for the emeticons :) :) :) :)

41

Kim 02.23.11 at 11:08 pm

Bob, what Mendip said at #28. I’ll say no more. There is already enough good stuff on the table; too much choice can become crippling. But throw #30 under the table for the dogs to eat. A few of the recommendations will repay serious study (especially Chesterton), but they are hardly “contemporary”, while even a broken clock is right twice a day. Certainly any list that includes Chuck Colson cannot be taken seriously.

42

Doug 02.23.11 at 11:10 pm

Mendip, no, I’m not suggesting John Piper is “not a deep theologian”. While he is a theologian, I’m having difficulty coming up with a word for “day-to-day”, discipleship type of writing as compared with the opposite. That is not meant to diminish in any way the authors I mentioned but to recognize the personality of the writings of the authors. Some are way more “scholarly” others are not and that doesn’t diminish either if one is not the other. If you get my drift. I will say that John Piper’s writings, however, ARE backed by scholarly analysis.

43

Mendip Nomad 02.23.11 at 11:16 pm

Bob, just realised you asked for one book - you’d have thought with our academic training (though I am but a young Padawan to Kim’s Master - sorry Star Wars lingo!) Kim and I would have learnt to “answer the question” by now! :)
If it had to be just one book then, while the Companions/Readers are the sensible things, my heart would say McCabe’s God Matters - and not even the whole book, just the first 9 chapters and the very last one.

44

Mendip Nomad 02.23.11 at 11:32 pm

Doug - I hear you on that (#42). Can’t say I agree with anything I’ve read of Piper’s (which is not a lot) but I get what you’re saying about differing styles - I happily read Philip Yancey, have gained much from doing so and would recommend him to others, but wouldn’t assume it has the same kind of academic value as, say, Williams or Hauerwas. Of course, occasionally you get those writers that have academic gravitas but can translate that into the kind of writing that speaks to non-academic people - such as N.T. (Tom) Wright, who comes from a different tradition than me but whom I respect greatly for his ability to operate on that double-level (I wish I could say the same for +Rowan but alas I don’t think it’s quite true).

45

Tim 02.24.11 at 12:06 am

I think Richard Hays’ ‘The Moral Vision of the New Testament’ is an outstanding model of how to do serious biblical reflection on contemporary ethical issues. After spending the bulk of the book developing a method for reflecting biblically on ethical issues (which is not a simple task), he then goes on to demonstrate his method with regard to five issues, including violence, divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality. I would rate this book as one of the top ten I have ever read.

When it comes to issues of science and religion (something not mentioned so far), John Polkinghorne is very good, I think.

46

Bob Gilston 02.24.11 at 12:14 am

Thanks to all of you for your recommended reading. I’ve got a library to go at but will study the comments and make some informed choices. Give me some time before you all start testing me on what I’ve read.

47

Bob Gilston 02.24.11 at 12:18 am

PamBG #12. “they are also informed about various critical methods[1] and can quote theologians accurately and in context.”
You are indeed blessed.

48

Pam 02.24.11 at 6:58 am

After reading through all the “recommended reading” I’ve decided on Migliore’s “Faith Seeking Understanding” and Hays” “The Moral Vision of the New Testament”. Quite reasonably priced at Amazon. (Just don’t tell my local bookstore owner). :(
Good luck with your choices Bob.

49

Bob Gilston 02.24.11 at 6:22 pm

I’ve taken the plunge. Amazon always best on price.
Have gone for Robin Gill (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics (Cambridge: CUP, 2001) and Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996).
I’m still deciding on a book for doctrine.
Thanks for everyone’s input.

50

Doug 02.24.11 at 7:10 pm

Mendip, thanks for understanding my clarification however difficult it was to describe. :)

I will reiterate that the individuals listed below ARE theologians and any Christian or one who has questions about Christianity can find extremely good value in their writings whatever it may be:

R.C. Sproul, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Finney and Charles Spurgeon

Some others who aren’t technically theologians but who write from a perspective of a theologian:
Ravi Zacharias, John MacArthur and Chuck Swindoll

John Piper and some others I can’t think of are technically a theologians but writes in a non-theologian way.

While Josh McDowell, Chuck Colson, Chuck Swindoll and Franklin Graham are not theologians but write in a non-theologian way.

Love the discussion and sharing some wonderful Christian leaders and/or writers that are solid, Biblical and that are so inspiring in their Faith.

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