My rating: 5 of 5 stars
During my research into Christianity, one of the biggest hurdles I kept encountering was how to properly define or identify the basic tenets of the faith. Having grown Catholic, I was already familiar with many of them, but not as an adult, and certainly not as a studious seeker. So I searched for books apt for people new to the faith or looking to learn the basics of the faith, and the first one that popped up on a couple of lists was Sproul’s Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. So off to the library I went.
The cover proclaims “100 key doctrines in plain language,” and it actually delivers. Sproul is an experienced pastor and writer, and after an introduction that talks about the need for the lay Christian to study theology and how it should be done, he brings his knowledge to the reader in one- to two-page entries that distill the doctrines into their essence, explaining them in simple and direct language, offering supporting Bible verses for each entry, closing each with a quick summary of the key points. These almost encyclopedic entries do a fantastic job of explaining the doctrines and why they are important to Christian life in the past and today.
The book is divided into sections covering doctrines dealing with Revelation, the Nature and Attributes of God, the Works and Decrees of God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, Human Beings and the Fall, Salvation, the Church and Sacraments, Spirituality and Living in This Age, and End Times.
Sproul’s book is perfect for anyone interested in the study of Christianity, offering a handy reference to the doctrines of the faith that is useful regardless of where you fall in the spectrum of learning. For me, it was the right book to read at this point in my life, as it answered a lot of questions about the basic beliefs of Christianity, while challenging me to keep studying those questions that didn’t have easy answers. Although I read a copy borrowed from the public library, I’ll be getting a copy for my personal library for sure.