A detailed guidebook examines modern Christian faith and practice.
Goulder-Frick intends her nonfiction debut to be both an introduction to the concepts and implementations of Christianity for newcomers to the faith and a reference tool for established believers. The book addresses four stages in readers’ spiritual lives—unbelief, belief, commitment, and discipleship—employing clear prose buttressed by copious Scriptural citations to outline the core beliefs of Christianity. These include the nature of the Trinity, the character of Jesus as both teacher and Messiah, and the precepts of Christian tolerance, charity, and self-denial: give to the poor, help the downtrodden, sublimate one’s wants to the needs of others, etc. The entire gamut of Christian subjects is covered in satisfying detail, with pertinent biblical quotations assembled on such topics as hell, angels, Satan, the mechanics of prayer, the afterlife, original sin, the personality of God, and the specific teachings of the church on such subjects as birth control and abortion. The author’s assessment of most of these topics hews to a fairly strict literal interpretation; progressive Christians will read pronouncements like “Any sexual activity that is not between a man and a woman is sin” throughout the text. And Goulder-Frick’s moral certainty occasionally prompts her to overreach: when she asserts that the teachings of Christianity provide the “criteria for right vs. wrong” throughout the world, for instance. Or when she writes that “one simply has to look up” to see that the universe is overseen by the Christian God; such claims obviously fail to take into account either the world’s atheists or its billions of believers in non-Christian deities. The author’s obvious target audience is ill-served by naïve assertions that the truth of Christianity is self-evident. But in the ambition, sweep, and comprehensiveness of the rest of the book’s teachings, Christians should find a gold mine of useful information and synthesis, with plenty of textual references to track down.
A spirited and comprehensive overview of the scriptural foundations of Christianity.