THE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY by Abraham Changwan Hahn

THE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY

A Guidebook for the Life of Faith
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A quick tour of Presbyterian dogma.

Hahn eschews Christianity as a moral guide and the life of faith as one of works, instead returning to Presbyterianism’s Calvinist roots. He appeals to biblical inerrancy as the root of faith and the final authority on any moral, religious or personal question. He touches briefly on hermeneutics and systemic theology, but the bulk of his book is content to appeal straight to the Bible and the need to read and believe it with the right faith. He quickly sweeps the usual arguments about this under the rug, and there is something refreshingly straightforward and confident in his assertion. The book could serve as a wake-up call to evangelical Presbyterians to recommit themselves to faith because of faith, not because of the benefits it might bring them, and those within the denomination may find inspiration in his words. However, like Hahn’s belief about Christians, the book falters the most when it moves away from the Bible. For instance, a lengthy diatribe against the “fabricated” theory of evolution brings in studies that aren’t cited and half-finished arguments, weakening Hahn’s point and putting the book on the defensive. Inconsistent metaphors similarly undermine other sections of the book, especially in a long, somewhat paranoid section about the mark of the beast, which feels like something out of a cyberpunk novel. The chapters seem somewhat arbitrarily divided, with a few appendices that seem to be chapters in their own right. Better organization and a clearer sense of goal would have served Hahn’s ends better than attempting to cover everything. The author is obviously well-read and familiar with the Bible and the denominational roots of Presbyterianism, and he does best when he sticks to that. Ultimately the book is ambitious and unapologetic, if somewhat tangled, and readers of the same denomination and belief system as Hahn may well benefit from his message.

An inspirational read for the like-minded, but may have difficulty finding a larger audience.


Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0615504339
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: Abraham Changwan Hahn
Program: Kirkus Indie
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