by Sharon Ely Pearson
Who is God? Why are we here? Is the world just a random collision of atoms, or is there a plan and a purpose to it all? Who is Jesus, and how is he related to God? Why was it necessary for Jesus to die for us? How is the Spirit present in the world today? What is the authority of the Bible? If God is good, why do bad things happen? What is my responsibility to care for others – am I my brother’s keeper? What is the church? What difference does faith make in my life? How do I serve God in the midst of the constant challenges of my work and family life?
Phew! When it comes to matters of faith, we all have questions, no matter what our religious background (or lack thereof). In Welcome to the Christian Faith, Christopher L. Webber offers some answers to the fundamental questions of believing in God – or at least points us in the direction where we might find the answers for ourselves as we grow in faith.
We all experience faith in God in our own way. For some, faith is experienced primarily through the emotions and must be deeply authentic and convincing. For others, faith is more focused on the intellect, without a strongly emotional type of believing. Since believing is about your own individual relationship to God, it will probably be like your other relationships, depending on the kind of person you are. Your faith is your own and need not be like someone else’s. Relax and grown into the kind of believer God has called you to be. (p. 16)
Webber simply and carefully unravels the complex questions of theology and salvation, the Bible and ethical behavior, worship and prayer, and places them all in the context of our relationship with God in the Christian community, where we are nurtured in faith and knowledge and come to a deeper understanding of who God is and the meaning of our lives.
This resource could be a handy book for study groups or passing along to a seeker, newcomer, or anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the mysteries of life and faith. With nine brief chapters (accompanied by questions for discussion and reflection) on Believing, The Bible, God, Jesus, The Trinity, Sin and Salvation, Worship, The Christian Church, and Being a Christian, this is a great book with a variety of uses in a Christian education setting.