Every so often a book comes out that is designed to allow the reader to do theology rather than to learn theology. The book includes guides, tools, and scriptures, that will allow the reader to discover his theology without being spoon-fed answers by the book's author. My favorite book was Decide for Yourself by Gordon R. Lewis (1970) and republished as late as 2012. In 1916 Michael Horton wrote Core Christianity along the same lines. David R. Veerman makes his own contribution to books helping the reader come to his or her own conclusions – and he does a satisfying job of accomplishing this task.
The book is divided into 35 “sessions” grouped into seven equal subheadings:
Doctrine of God
Doctrine of Humanity
Doctrine of Revelation
Doctrine of Christ
Doctrine of Salvation
Doctrine of Sanctification
Doctrine of the Church
Each session is subdivided into three sections. Look introduces us to the subject under discussion, both by allowing the reader reflect on what he or she already knows about the topic and to prepare the reader for future study. Listen takes the reader into the Bible text – sometimes leading to a deep study of the subject and at other times proving a set of texts which allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. Live focuses on the WHY of the theological lessons – what does it mean to the believer as they live their lives.
The book is Reformed/Calvinistic in its underlying theology. Quoting from the book, “Preservation (or Perseverance) simply means that salvation depends on God and not on any human effort. Believers can’t lose it. The future is guaranteed” (Italics are in the original text). No mention is made of the Wesleyan positions of Christian Holiness or Entire Sanctification. For most readers the greatest flaws will be the lack of an index to the individual topics covered and the lack of suggested references for future studies or additional information. A 400+ page theology book without these tools is hurting.
For many, this book would serve as a good introduction to theology. For those topics it covers (except for the two mentioned above), it does a good job of covering the major topics. It would serve as an excellent text for a one semester college level theology course. The book is not quite thorough enough for use in a multiple semester college or seminary sequence. For the lay person seeking to study theology, it would serve as a good foundation – though suggestions for future study would make this a more helpful work.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.