The last book I review here was Inspired by Rachel Held Evans (see links to all seven posts here). I received Andrew R. Rappaport’s book What Do We Believe?: A Systematic Theology of the Christian Life for free, like the Evans book, in an exchange for an honest review, like the Evans book.
But other than the price I paid for each book, these works have zero similarities!
A Systematic Theology
Systematic theology is something all Christians should be familiar with because whether we admit it or not, we all have a systematic theology. That is, we all have a system of thought about what the Bible teaches about “x” (God, salvation, Scripture, etc.). Systematic theology “organizes” particular subjects of the Bible into tidier systems of thought.
Rappaport’s work delivers on its subtitle. It is a systematic theology primer that lays out the basics of the Christian faith. This book isn’t the length of Grudem’s Systematic Theology or MacArthur and Mayhue’s Biblical Doctrine, but don’t let it’s brevity deter you. In fact, let it encourage you! This book is accessible by all Christians because of its depth of theology packed into a concise volume. In just 9 chapters, Rappaport covers The authority, sufficiency, and reliability of Scripture, God, Jesus, and His work, Sin, Creation, Fall, and Promise, Salvation, the Church, and the Eternal State.
There were many great things I liked about this book. The author’s heart for sound theology and desire to see Christians know what they believe is obvious throughout the work. If I had to choose a favorite chapter, it would be the chapter on Jesus Christ.
Rappaport labors in this chapter to show the importance of the “two natures in indivisible oneness” of Christ. Jesus is fully God and fully man and both of these realities are necessary for Him to be our perfect (and only ) mediator between God and man. Jesus Christ is our only suitable, and all-sufficient Savior. “Christians are not Christian by birth or name, nor are they decreed. It is only through a true belief in Jesus Christ that a person becomes a Christian” (p. 62).
The chapter goes on to show how Jesus is shown to be fully Divine and fully man in Scripture.
I also appreciated the commitment to the authority, sufficiency, clarity, and necessity of Scripture. Not only are these things stated in the book but also affirmed by the way the author constantly quotes Scripture. I also enjoyed the ordo salutis (order of salvation) given in the book, because it’s the same outline basically that I use in From Death to Life: How Salvation Works.
All in all, this was a refreshing read. This would be a great book to go through with others, to give to a new believer, or to freshen up on your understanding of the critical truths of the Christian faith.
I gladly recommend you grab it. You can pick it up for just $15 at the Striving for Eternity website.