The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters
In THE FAITH, Charles Colson --- internationally known speaker, author and founder of Prison Fellowship --- writes in his characteristically eloquent, sometimes alarming and consistently thought-provoking style. Evangelicals, as well as those not of the Christian faith, will find a solid resource of historical case studies recording how matters of faith and conscience have formed our nation's belief systems and educating readers of the larger world's historical, political and religious views. Colson is an expert at drawing parallels between current-day individual and corporate decisions with man's inner struggle for real meaning in life and through faith in Christ.
In this two-part text, readers will first gain foundational knowledge on God and the Faith followed by The Faith and Life. Colson opens this dynamic primer with a definition of orthodoxy and proceeds to lay out his premise of why today's Christian (and today's church) is frequently ineffective, divisive and lacking power to influence its contemporaries with light, love and Christian self-sacrificing service. Citing such classic Christian scholars as C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, William Wilberforce, John Stott, G.K. Chesterton, Abraham Kuyper, Francis Schaeffer and Richard Neuhaus, Colson shares that his text draws upon these authors' works to help illustrate the timelessness of the Christian struggle and its message. He tells readers that times are changing fast. Western culture is doing everything in its power to shut the door, which is why Christians must work hard and fast to regain the what and whys of their beliefs.
Starting with the beginning of the historical church, Colson offers a brief look back into history and explains how Christianity is the faith that has always endured time. Readers will better grasp sometimes-elusive terms such as postmodernism, the death of truth, orthodoxy and the like. He spends adequate space detailing the three ideas of origin: Theory 1: The Godless material universe; Theory 2: God Is an Intelligent Presence in All Things, a Universal Mind; and Theory 3: A Personal God. As he digs more deeply into this core belief, Colson concludes that what we individually choose to believe amongst these three options becomes our most important decision in life. "Everything else follows from it. It's the place where the search for the truth begins."
Following this key decision, Colson then wades into discussions on the Holy Spirit, the Canon of Scripture, Archaeology, Textual integrity of Scripture, and the Bible's historically proven transforming power to effect positive, life-altering changes in the lives of both individuals and societies. He continues along Christian theological issues on the importance of truth and why it matters to humanity, the problem of evil and personal responsibility, Jesus Christ and his work on the Cross, the trinity and God's sovereignty, suffering and saving faith, classic marks of the church, social holiness, and much, much more.
Every chapter, every topic, offers readers something weighty to mull over, contemplate and act upon. Colson certainly has succeeded in not only educating Christians but spurring them to take their faith beliefs more seriously.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on January 22, 2008