As a pastor, I am always looking to see how to articulate the many doctrines of the gospel and of the Christian faith. I am also always looking for resources that are easy to understand and applicable for the average believer. Without a doubt, one of the best resources I have come across thus far is Erik Thoennes helpful book Life's Biggest Questions: What the Bible Says about the Things That Matter Most (Crossway, 2011).
The book is essentially a systematic theology text. Through the means of questions, the author lays out in a systematic way the doctrines of the faith. For example, "What is a Human Being?" regards anthropology. Likewise, "What is God Like?" discusses theology proper and God's many attributes. I find this to be a helpful approach. Beyond the more dry attempt to simply lay out what Scripture says on a given doctrine, Thoennes pulls he reader in driving them to see that doctrine affects who we are, how we live, what we believe, etc. Why does it matter that God is Immutable, that we are sinners by conception, the Holy Spirit is Divine, and Jesus will return? Unless pastors, and theologians as well, can answer these questions, they haven't done their job.
This is a very easy book for those new to Christian doctrine and systematic theology to read. He begins with the existence of God and ends with eschatology, thus covering the whole spectrum of theology. He offers easy-to-understand charts, graphs, figures, and illustrations to guide the reader to understand his argument all the while writing with clarity and articulating what Scripture says on each doctrine. The author does not overlook difficult doctrines, but instead explains them.
This is a helpful resource that every pastor and believer should invest in. For pastors, we must continually seek ways to better articulate theology. For many of us, we take the collective sign of boredom from our congregation as a sign that theology isn't for the average person. We ought not do that. Theology is critical and all of us are theologians, thus it is the job of the pastor to shepherd his flock to better theology. Thoennes has given us a helpful resource that is short (only 176 pages), thorough, easy-to-understand, practical, biblical, and Christ glorifying. You can't ask for much more!
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