Over the years there have only been a few books that I have felt fully happy to recommend to people exploring the Christian faith. Sometimes I’ve not agreed with everything in them (and of course I am right – not) or sometimes they have not been very readable.
There are a few however, that I recommend and give away very enthusiastically. And I’ve just found another one (thanks to those who lent it to me). “Cafe Theology” by Michael Lloyd.

It is, in effect, a ‘systematic theology’. Normally such a book would be near the top of the “10 Things that help me cure insomnia” chart. But in this case, that isn’t so.
Systematic Theologies have a long history in the Christian Church. An early example would be John of Damascus’s 8th-century “Exposition of the Orthodox Faith”. More well known are works by Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin.
They are all books that attempt to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs. They normally start with who God is, and work out from there.
They tend to be long, important and inacessible.
Michael Lloyd’s book is a systematic theology written in a conversational style.Full of quotations and examples, he tackles all the big questions of theology and Christianity – creation, providence, the fall (a particularly good chapter), redemption, the church etc.
It’s a paperback and not too long (which always help) – and I think his theology is marvellous.

So, I am recommending away!

2 Comments, RSS

  • Philippa

    says on:
    May 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Hi Matt! Would you recommend this for a new Christian who is trying to get to grips with what it means to be a Christian? Most books that explain theology are inaccessible to those who are not academically minded (as you say). I have had it said to me that Christianity is too complicated for an ordinary person. My experience is quite the opposite but it is hard to put that across.

  • Matt

    says on:
    May 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Yes, definately recommend this for anyone. If they can read The Guardian – they’ll be fine with this.

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