Rightly understood and rightly communicated, the Christian faith is one of great joy. It is an invitation to God’s kingdom, where tears are replaced by laughter and longing hearts find their purpose and their home. This is the heart of the gospel: God’s search to reclaim us and love us as his own. But have we truly grasped this? Those of us who have disdained Christianity as a religion of bigotryhave we repudiated the genuine article or merely demonstrated our own prejudice and ignorance? Those of us who are Christianshave we deeply apprehended the mission of Jesus, and do our ways and character faithfully reflect his beauty? From the nature of God, to the human condition, to the work of Jesus, to God’s coming kingdom, and all that lies between, how well do we understand the foundational truths of Christianity and their implications? The Faith is a book for our troubled times and for decades to come, for Christians and non-Christians alike. Colson considered The Faith to be his legacy book to the Christian world: a thought-provoking, soul-searching, and powerful manifesto of the great, historical central truths of Christianity that have sustained believers through the centuries. Brought to immediacy with vivid, true stories, here is what Christianity is really about and why it is a religion of hope, redemption, and beauty.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Chuck Colson was a popular and widely known author, speaker, and radio commentator. A former presidential aide to Richard Nixon and founder of the international ministry Prison Fellowship, he wrote several books that have shaped Christian thinking on a variety of subjects, including Born Again, Loving God, How Now Shall We Live?, The Good Life, and The Faith. His radio broadcast, Break Point, at one point aired to two million listeners. Chuck Colson donated all of his royalties, awards, and speaking fees to Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Harold Fickett is the author of numerous books, including an acclaimed novel about the evangelical experience, The Holy Fool; a critical biography of Flannery O’Connor, Images of Grace; and the inspirational Living Christ. He is a cofounder of Image: Art, Faith, Mystery, a journal devoted to the intersection of the arts and religion. He is a contributing editor of the web magazine God Spy (www.godspy.com) and writes regularly for such publications as Books & Culture and Crisis. Fickett made contributions to Colson’s projects for twenty-five years, beginning with Loving God and most recently in The Good Life. He speaks regularly at conferences and retreats. He and his wife, Karen, live in Nacogdoches, Texas, with their children, Will and Eve.
Read an Excerpt
What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, And Why It Matters
By Charles Colson, Harold Fickett
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2008 Charles W. Colson
All rights reserved.
EVERY WHERE, ALWAYS, BY ALL
* * *
What we witnessed at Nickel Mines and in the times of the Roman plagues is true Christianity—sacrificial love, concern for all people, forgiveness and reconciliation, evil overcome by good. These two examples, drawn from thousands I might have selected, represent signs of the Kingdom of God announced by Jesus and lived by His followers to this day.
Admittedly, Christianity has not always been practiced this way. Christians are fallen, flawed, and broken people who often profess one thing and do another. But contrary to the public misconceptions about Christianity today, the Christian Church and the truth it defends are the most powerful life- and culture-changing forces in human history. This enduring truth has been tested and proven true over two thousand years.
Christianity—The Enduring Truth
My wife, Patty, and I were visiting London on a ministry trip some years ago. We found a few free hours one day for sightseeing and visited Christopher Wren's architectural masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, in the heart of the old city. Hundreds of visitors were milling around, looking at the art treasures and sculptures, admiring the grand rotunda above. One look at the narrow walkway curling upward into the dome cured us of any desire to climb the steps.
To our surprise, an Anglican Mass was being celebrated at the high altar and, interestingly, broadcast over the loudspeakers. Most of the sightseers regarded it as little more than elevator music. But we made our way to a back pew and sat among perhaps a hundred other worshipers.
Although I am from a low-church tradition, I found myself caught up in the beauty of the liturgy, riveted by its scriptural basis. We decided to take a few minutes to sit quietly and enjoy the power of the Word in such a glorious setting.
We were caught up in the church's history. I remembered Winston Churchill's funeral had been conducted here in 1965, and we had visited the memorial chapel that commemorates the American contribution to winning World War II. The history of St. Paul's extends back through the centuries. Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603) contributed to repairs after a lightning strike. A side chapel is dedicated to St. Dunstan, who almost single-handedly revived British Christianity in the tenth century after the Danish invasions, and no doubt he had a hand in the St. Paul's of his day.
When the service reached the acclamation—"Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!"—I was struck by the realization that the congregation and casual sightseers alike were listening to the heart of the Gospel, which was being proclaimed with force and power as it had been on this very spot for at least 1,400 years, when the first St. Paul's was built, and likely earlier, back to Roman times. The same Gospel—every doctrine—was rooted in Scripture, given by the apostles, and expressed in the creeds of the early Church. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I whispered my thoughts to Patty, who nodded in agreement. The realization sent shivers up our spines. "The faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude v. 3) was being boldly proclaimed from this altar, and hundreds of unsuspecting tourists, if inadvertently, were soaking it in. It has always been this way and always will be!
Then I had a second moment of inspiration as I realized that our ancient faith provided answers to the deepest questions in the hearts of all those visiting St. Paul's that day and to secularized Britain as a whole. This witness was being given in the heart of a cosmopolitan city and in a nation that has largely turned against God in increasingly desperate times. The Christian West is under assault by the twin challenges of secularism and radical Islam—whose roots have some unsuspected likenesses. Only through Christianity, I believe, can Western Europe and America meet these desperate challenges.
Even as we sat there, radical Islam was transforming Britain's capital into "Londonistan." The city's underground and buses were soon to be bombed by these radicals, confronting secular society with a religiously motivated challenge it could not comprehend. Only the God of love celebrated that day at St. Paul's could provide the renewal needed.
Skipping a Stone across Ages and Cultures—A Time-traveler Visits Christian Communities
The core beliefs that have united Christians for two thousand years certainly built Western civilization, but it is a mistake to think that Christianity belongs to Western culture. Christianity did not originate in the West and has never been confined to it. The core elements of the faith have brought about a tremendous unity in a diversity of cultures, as the renowned writer on Christian missions Andrew Walls demonstrates, imagining what a time-traveler would see if he dropped in on five Christian communities living in different cultures over the centuries.
First, the time-traveler visits the founding church in Jerusalem in AD 37. He notes that these new Christians are hard to distinguish from a branch of Judaism. They simply identify the Jewish teaching about the Messiah, the Son of Man, with Jesus of Nazareth. These Christians are mostly drawn from the ranks of tradesmen and laborers. They have large families, and their faith is marked by celebrations and by helping one another to face life's material challenges.
Next, our time-traveler visits Christians about the time of the Council of Nicea in AD 325. These Christians are no longer Jewish but drawn from all over the Mediterranean world. Many of the leaders now practice celibacy. They are familiar with the ancient Jewish Scriptures but give equal value to writings that have been generated by their own community—the "New Testament." The subject of their discussion centers, as did the first community's, on the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Culturally, these two Christian communities are already worlds apart.
Our time-traveler then visits Irish monks of the sixth century. They practice such spiritual disciplines as fasting and praying for long hours with their arms outstretched in the form of a cross. They are otherworldly in a way the first two communities were not, but they have the same evangelical zeal; they want those near and far to understand Jesus' significance as the Messiah. Some of their members are about to depart for the Scottish coast in tubby leather and wood boats, where they will call the Scottish clans to exchange their nature worship and bloody practices for the joys of heaven.
The time-traveler drops in on one of the great English missionary societies of the 1840s. Unlike the Irish monks, these Christians seek a spirituality marked by social activism instead of severe spiritual disciplines. While the monks lived on virtually nothing, these people are almost too well fed. But they feel exactly the same burden to spread the message. They are funding missions to the Far East, Oceania, and Africa. They are also working to improve conditions within their own society brought on by the Industrial Revolution.
Finally, the time-traveler comes to Lagos, Nigeria, in the 1980s. He sees white-robed Christians dancing and chanting their way through the streets. They call themselves Cherubim and Seraphim, and they invite their neighbors to experience the power of God. They are not social activists like the English. They fast like the Irish monks but more for specific benefits. They talk more about the Holy Spirit and His power to inspire preaching, bring healing, and provide personal guidance.
The time-traveler notes that, culturally, these five Christian groups could hardly be more different. Yet they think of themselves as connected, and indeed, their thinking is remarkably similar. They believe that in Christ the world has been rescued from the power of evil and death; they believe in God's sovereignty over history; they make the same use of the Scriptures and of bread and wine and water.
Surprising historical connections among these groups come to mind as well—those activist English missionaries first brought the faith to the dancing Nigerians, for example. (Today, in a fitting reversal, these Nigerians and other peoples of the Global South are bringing the faith back to the West.) The Jews evangelized the Mediterranean Gentiles, from whom both Ireland and England received the faith. All five groups, despite cultural appearances, are part of the same legacy: the one Lord, one faith, one baptism they profess holds true for all.
Right Belief and Today's Confusion
We call the core beliefs that have united Christians through the ages orthodoxy, or "right belief." Understanding this faith, once entrusted for all, is critically important today, for we live in a time, as I realized in St. Paul's, when Christians and the civilization they helped to build are under assault.
Surveying the press coverage over the last couple of years makes it clear that Christianity is reeling from a bruising and perhaps unprecedented attack by aggressive atheism—or what one critic ominously calls "anti-theism." In 2006, Richard Dawkins, a clever and articulate Oxford evolutionary biologist, published The God Delusion, which took up near-permanent residence on the New York Times bestseller list. Dawkins considers religious instruction a form of child abuse and suggests that governments should put a stop to it. Tufts professor Daniel Dennett argues that religion is a dangerous toxin that may be poisoning believers. Similar books have appeared from Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation) and the brilliant if caustic Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great). The title of Chris Hedges' American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America could hardly be more direct. Regularly, critics liken politically active Christians to the Taliban.
This is not a fringe phenomenon. According to the Wall Street Journal, these authors sold close to a million books in one twelvemonth period alone. Richard Dawkins, responsible for half of those sales, can attest to how lucrative attacking God has become. These critics say we are trying to "impose" our views on American life—that we want to create a "theocracy," or a government run by the Church. But this is absurd; theocracy is contrary to the most basic Christian teaching about free will and human freedom. Christianity gave the very idea of separation of Church and state to the West. And Christianity advances not by power or by conquest, but by love.
Postmodernism and the Death of Truth
What's really at issue here is a dramatic shift in the prevailing belief of Western cultural elites; we have come into a postmodern era that rejects the idea of truth itself. If there is no such thing as truth, then Christianity's claims are inherently offensive and even bigoted against others. Tolerance, falsely defined as putting all propositions on an equal footing—as opposed to giving ideas an equal hearing—has replaced truth.
Millions acquiesce to the all-beliefs-are-equal doctrine for the sake of bettering their social position in our values-free, offend-no-one culture. But to succumb to this indifference is not to accept a tolerant or liberal view of Christianity; it is to embrace another religion, a belief in some supreme value—perhaps tolerance—but not in the God who is and who has spoken.
President Eisenhower, a great father figure of the post–World War II era, perfectly captured this spirit of the postwar age: "Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith—and I don't care what it is." In 2007, an Episcopal priest carried this view so far she became a Muslim and remained a priest, while publicly denying there was any inconsistency.
All the while, those making their truth claims are publicly demeaned with impunity. Christians are called "wing nuts" and "flat-earthers," or as one major national paper famously put it: "Poor, uneducated, and easily led."
Clash of Civilizations
Even as we provide a reasoned defense against postmodernist disbelief, we must renew our culture—the only true remedy to radical Islam's aggression.
The West has been slowly, almost reluctantly, becoming aware of its clash with radical Islamists. Millions of fascist-influenced jihadists, feeding on revivalist teachings as a counter to Western decadence, seek death for infidels and global rule for Islam. Many Westerners would like all of this simply to disappear somehow. As the polls show, secular Europeans, for whom religion has become inconsequential, cannot fathom a religiously motivated challenge to their way of life. They and others like them throughout Europe and America are eager to deputize competent authorities to handle the problem, so they can get back to their pleasurable lives.
Others ask, "What can be done? Can anyone come up with a new plan or vision of things?" But neither complacency nor fear serves us well. We don't need a new vision of things; rather, we need an eternal vision—to raise our eyes once again to the light that has always guided Christians during times of great distress. One of the greatest virtues of the Christian faith is that it is life affirming and culture building. No other worldview or religion protects the sanctity of life and human dignity as Christianity does; no other worldview has ever created as humane and progressive a culture as Christianity has. Our faith and our experience teach us that the power that created the universe can provide answers to today's dilemmas.
Challenge for the Church
The challenges of anti-theism and radical Islam could not come at a worse time for the Church, because most Christians do not understand what they believe, why they believe it, and why it matters. How can a Christianity that is not understood be practiced? And how can it be presented in its true character as peace, freedom, and joy? How are skeptics to understand Christianity's positive aspects?
Tragically, postmodern culture has infected and weakened the Church, particularly in the West. Spain, once the most Catholic country in Europe, has become, within a generation, among the most secularized. A recent report among Spain's bishops lays the blame squarely on heretical teaching as to the nature of Christ and His atoning work. Likewise, when I asked a priest friend why church membership was declining so rapidly in once rigidly Catholic Ireland, he answered, "Because the priests don't preach the Gospel."
Even evangelicals, known for their fidelity to Scripture, have not been exempt from postmodernist influence. Both George Gallup and George Barna, eminent pollsters and close Church observers, have in recent years decried the declining biblical literacy in the Church. The majority of evangelicals—whom Barna calls "born-again Christians"—do not believe in absolute truth. Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments; 50 percent of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
I viewed these findings with some suspicion until I did my own survey in preparing for this book. Over the past two years, whenever I had occasion, I asked mature believers to name the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. Many of them looked surprised, even perplexed. Of the twelve critical doctrines that I have identified in this book, most of my friends, admittedly unprepared, could name only four, at best five. One or two actually told me they thought that doctrine only confused, that we should simply focus on Jesus. Pastors were not much better informed than the laity; Barna found that 49 percent of Protestant pastors reject core biblical beliefs.
On a number of occasions I have stopped in the middle of giving talks and asked, "What is Christianity anyway?" At one dinner in the Bible Belt, the group of mature believers hesitated for what seemed like a full minute of painful silence. No one volunteered.
Finally one man said, "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul." I replied that was good, but only part of the whole. There followed three or four other answers, all based on what could be called broad scriptural truths, like the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
These, I explained, are true but only parts of the whole. Christians must see that the faith is more than a religion or even a relationship with Jesus; the faith is a complete view of the world and humankind's place in it. Christianity is a worldview that speaks to every area of life, and its foundational doctrines define its content. If we don't know what we believe—even what Christianity is—how can we live it and defend it? Our ignorance is crippling us.
Excerpted from The Faith by Charles Colson, Harold Fickett. Copyright © 2008 Charles W. Colson. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by Eric Metaxas, 5,
PART I GOD AND THE FAITH,
1. Everywhere, Always, by All, 21,
2. God Is, 31,
3. He Has Spoken, 41,
4. Truth, 57,
5. What Went Right, What Went Wrong, 71,
6. The Invasion, 81,
7. God Above, God Beside, God Within, 97,
PART II THE FAITH AND LIFE,
8. Exchanging Identities, 113,
9. Reconciliation, 129,
10. The Church, 147,
11. Be Holy—Transform the World, 159,
12. The Sanctity of Life, 171,
13. Last Things, 187,
14. The Joy of Orthodoxy, 201,
15. The Great Proposal, 209,
With Gratitude, 236,
Appendix: The Faith Given Once for All, 240,
What People are Saying About This
“Overall, the strength of The Faith is that it shows the vital connection between justice, reality, and truth.” John C. Maxwell, Founder
“The Faith: A Must Read for Christians Who Want To Engage The Culture. “Written primarily for the Church, the book opens with a prayer that the Kingdom of God will rule in our hearts and once again transform the places where we live, but is not a call for a theocracy. From this point most of the book focuses our attention on several propositional truths foundational to a Christian worldview. The truths are written in language accessible to the layperson. Moreover, they do not remain abstractions. They are brought to life through stories of people who down through the ages have experienced the validity of the propositions. Some of the stories are from the first two centuries of Christianity, some from the middle ages, and some from contemporary times. Many are from Colson’s own life and summarize his spiritual journey growing in love for God and serving as an agent of God’s providence in service to prisoners. “The Faith closes with a prophetic word for the Church. After summarizing what they had written, the authors issue a brief assessment of the current life of the Church. It is an assessment to which the Church should give heed. Prophetically, they encourage Christians to go beyond individual renewal and engage our culture with a Christian worldview that is an anti-thesis to secularism and radicalized Islam.” James J. Ackerman, Founder
“A good understanding of the basic truths of the Christian faith is essential for Christian maturity. Yet, for the most part, these truths are taught only in books called Systematic Theology; books that tend to be academic and intimidating to the average believer. Now Charles Colson and Harold Fickett have given us a summary of these basic truths in easily readable and easily understandable language. This book should prove valuable in helping ordinary Christians understand the faith they have believed.” Dr. Jerry E. White, President Emeritus
“Chuck reminds us that Christ isn’t simply looking for “decisions” … but for disciples who know what they believe and why. This is a MUST READ for every serious Christ follower!” Chuck Stetson, Chairman
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A much recommended book for those who believe God and His Word but have a hard time communicating His truth to others. Also a great gift to those who are earnestly seeking a relationship with Christ but have bought into a little too much of the 'talk show guru's' philosophies of life. I can't wait to pass this one on!!!
This book was written beautifully. All elements included are an incredible aid to those searching for the basic foundations of the faith. The names, events and descriptions presented are helpful in giving a quick reference guide should the reader desire to learn more. This book not only reviewed in a very fresh light the basic doctrine and beliefs of the Christian faith. It presented the core basis of the faith with such crystal clear conviction that I for one was prompted to raise my voice with a loud 'Amen' upon reading the triumph of the resurrection and what that means not only to Christians but to the human race. Recommended reading for the person whose faith is wavering to those who teach bible study. Great work.
Just as their is healthy and unhealthy humans, I believe the same can be said about Christians. Colson's book cuts through some of the kookiness and craziness some of us have experienced throughout the years and reveals what true life-transforming Christian health believes in, where it came from, and the benefits of healthy Christian living. For me personally, it was like having an english translation of a chinese menu. Words that I did not fully understand are now clear and I feel better about what I am partaking in...
This book was a little more intellectual than I had expected. Not an easy read, but full of information.
This book not only strengthened my faith, confirming my beliefs, it challenged my life. It would be a wonderful bible study guide not only for those studying for a career in missionary work but for anyone who wants to know more of why they believe what they say that believe. After reading this book, I can truly say that I can be even more confident and prepared to share my faith and to defend it should it be necessary. I know that I am so blessed to live in a country where it isn't against the law to believe the Truth, to live it and to share it. This book is a gem that should be in every Christian's library and definitely read more than once.
¿The Faith¿ is God-breathed. I started reading it at about the same time as my pastor started a similar series of sermons and Bible studies. This is what God wants His people to know and do right now. There is affirmation, reassurance and awakening in these pages. If Charles Colson accomplishes only two things it is to say: Stand up for what you believe in, and by the way, here¿s a reminder and greater understanding of what that is, or is supposed to be. Colson and co-author Harold Fickett put all in one place answers to many of the questions asked by spiritually seeking nonbelievers and trap-laying disbelievers: What if someone dies never hearing the Good News? Why is there suffering? How does capital punishment fit within the Christian view that human life is sacred? It is well researched. The examples point out the modern detractors that try to distract or dissuade people from the faith and give ammunition for countering them. It¿s cautionary and it¿s empowering. ¿The Faith¿ says it is more than OK, it is imperative, to be intolerant, by the definition the world has rewritten for that label. But the book does more than just arm Christians to defend their beliefs, it equips them to evangelize by explaining the harvest field ¿ who we¿ll meet on the mission field and how their beliefs were formed by postmodernism. ¿The Faith¿ doesn¿t blame secularization just on indulgent, excessive America. It gives a worldview of Christianity. And just as importantly, that view extends not just around the globe today but back over centuries to help Christians realize and claim their place in the tapestry of believers who are moving God¿s plan for redemption toward its ultimate conclusion. The content is compelling and relevant and the narrative style helps get the message across. There are some beautifully written passages such as when an Amish schoolhouse is described as ¿plain as notebook paper.¿ Colson and Fickett reach believers on their level and are not condescending or preachy. Their text is backed by tons of footnotes and modern-day examples. Readers probably will reread it to shore up their belief and understanding of that belief. And every time they read it, new realizations and applications will likely come to mind ¿ much like studying Scripture.
For a complete yet not-down-in-the-dirt picture of the Christian faith - this is an excellent book. As a teacher and student of Christian and other religous topics am always amazed at what people believe with no apparent basis for what they hold as true. 'The Faith' provides a broad-based view of what Christians should know, believe, and hold dear. Colson and Fickett give Biblical insight to current cultural quandries. This is an excellent read!
Charles Colson has dones it again! With the added insight of author and long-time Colson contributor Harold Fickett, he packs a thorough case for the Christian faith into a concise 240-page read. This is an excellent resource tool for evangelical Christians, as well as a wonderful summary of Christian tenants for those still seeking. Colson is masterful in his use of examples from throughout history, including very recent events, to back up his points and make them more understandable and memorable to the reader. 'The Faith' offers much-needed encouragement for Christians struggling to be salt and light in our modern-day world.
The Faith by Chuck Colson and Harold Fickett defines the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Mr. Colson expresses alarm by the postmodern influence that has creeped into our culture. He writes: ¿Most professing Christians don¿t know what they believe, and so can neither understand nor defend the Christian faith¿much less live it¿ 'p.9'. Mr. Colson is right when he says that we have become self-absorbed, self-indulgent, and materialistic. These smack of idolatry. True Christians have not left God, but continue on as Christians of old. We understand the essential doctrines and work to prepare ourselves to defend our faith, while living out our faith in accordance with God¿s Word. Only God can change hearts and minds. The question is not whether all are called, but whether if all who are called will turn to Him. May it be so. For those who are true Christians, The Faith is also a call to believers to rally around the faith in response to increased attacks on Christianity by secularism and radical Islam, for only the orthodox Christian faith can be a ¿bulwark of sanity and reason¿ against barbarism¿ 'p. 223'. How is this to be accomplished? Mr. Colson explains: ¿We have two divinely authorized commissions. The first is well known, the Great Commission, to make disciples and baptize them 'Mat.28:19,'. But the second is equally important. It is to bring the righteousness of God to bear on all of life, to take dominion, to carry out the tasks we are given in the first chapters of Genesis, to bring a redeeming influence into a fallen culture. I call this the Cultural Commission¿¿ 'p.107'. The task is difficult, hindered by postmodern influences on the younger generation. Young adults ¿resist direct presentations of the Christian faith and its ethical implications¿ resulting in Biblical illiteracy 'p. 62'. Stories and experiences appeal to them more than the Bible or doctrinal teachings. Romans 10:17 says that ¿faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.¿ The Faith is a complex read, inundated with references to postmodernism, the emerging church movement, early Catholicism, and Christian humanism. The Faith defines faith as ¿more than a religion or even a relationship with Jesus, the faith is a complete view of the world and humankind¿s place in it¿ 'p.28'. I disagree. Faith is a complete view of God and His righteousness as defined in Romans 10: 8b-9:¿ ¿that is, the word of faith, which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.¿ Loving God is a true Christian¿s purpose and reason for being.
What would theology look like if we were to wear it in life instead of keeping in on the shelves of a closet? What would happen if those who are clothed in righteousness were to really understand the God who is there and could in turn articulate both why we understand Him to be there and the implications of His presence upon our own life? Charles Colson, in his newest book, The Faith, masterfully takes the tenants of the stalwarts of systematic theology and weaves them together with the fabric of the lives of Christians through the ages. The result is a clear, concise conceptualization of the Faith once-again delivered to the saints that fits life like a well-tailored suit. What sets this book apart from others painting pictures of Christian doctrine is Colson¿s passion in showing how core belief systems touch real-life politics, business, education and virtually all points of life. The late Rich Mullins, contemporary Christian music¿s troubadour and part-time theologian, sang of his parents ¿who worked to give faith hands and feet, and somehow gave it wings.¿ Through personal illustrations and snippets of history, Colson ¿gives faith wings,¿ encouraging us to make it consistently be a part of the fabric of our lives. By the way, Faith looks good on you.
Chuck Colson has written a thought provoking work that challenges us to return to the orthodox tenets of the faith, not merely for the sake of right belief but for right living. The reader is consistently challenged to an orthodox belief that results in an orthodox, God-pleasing lifestyle. This is a great read for those who find themselves suffering from a disconnect between belief and practice ¿ this books helps to bridge the gap. Perhaps the key thought of the book can be best summed up by one of the chapter titles, ¿joy of orthodoxy¿. Colson does a good job of bringing theology down to a level for the lay person who wants to understand the relationship between belief and deeds.
I approached this book with great curiosity. I have read some of Charles Colson's writings in Christianity Today and depicted him as an ultra conservative evangelical. Mr. Colson certainly did not disappoint me in this respect even mentioning Jerry Falwell and Pat Robinson in his book. But I must say I was impressed and in concurrence with Mr. Colson that the foundations on which our faith is built are largely ignored or lightly touched upon within the Western Christian world namely the U.S. and Europe. He identifies the historic foundations on which our faith is built and then brings a relevancy to them with his personal experiences and stories of contemporary figures. It is well worth reading by those who are confident of their ability to profess their faith and by those who believe but are unable to articulate their belief.
On the upside, any book that accurately outlines the Christian faith is worth reading. A steady diet of such books is healthy for the believer, and this book fits that bill. On the downside, this book doesn¿t stand out as a particularly remarkable ¿meal¿ in that steady diet. I think the problem lies in the subtitle. Whoever came up with the subtitle had an instinct for what the reading public wants and needs in a book on this subject, but the actual content fails to deliver. While the book fulfills its promise to explain ¿what Christians believe,¿ it¿s rather thin on explaining ¿why they believe it¿ and ¿why it matters.¿ When I was doing the research for my explanation of the faith for seekers, The Anchor Course (exclusively at lulu.com), I searched for books that could serve as models for me--books that were designed not only to outline the faith but also to explain ¿why it matters.¿ Unfortunately, most of the books I ran across were written for a market of believers instead of seekers. Colson¿s book falls into this same stack in my collection. It¿s not written to commend the faith to a seeker, but it¿s a good, if unremarkable, review of the faith for those who already believe.
Excellent book! Very inspirational and motivating! It wasn't technical and very easy to read.
Colson and Fickett present a simple, readible, extraordinarily well written summary of the essential elements of the Christian faith. In the footsteps of "Mere Christianity," "The Faith" avoids the mine fields that divide Christians without compromising those elements that tie the faith to its historical roots and unite us all. This book is a must read for all thoughtful Christians.
I really enjoyed this book, as a matter of fact, I read it twice. Colson is close to being another C.S. Lewis. He has great insight into the Christian faith. The book was very factual, informative, inspiring and most of the time an easy read. However, at some points I had to slow down and re-read his concepts. I would recommend this to everyone. It is a great statement for Christians and an enlightening book for non-Christians.
Since I¿ve became aware of Chuck Colson¿s work in Prison Fellowship, I¿ve been a follower and supporter of his holy work there and been moved to join in prison ministry myself. So I was looking forward to ¿The Faith¿ when it was announced and I quickly settled in spending several weeks reading through Colson¿s latest tome. As a mature, but ever-growing Christian, I absolutely agree with Colson¿s major points on our shared faith. His positions on the Bible, the existence and essence of God, the Holy Trinity, evil, Christ¿s time on Earth and since all were clear and concise examinations of the tenets of our Christian faith. His second section, how all of those truths impact our ways of dealing with one another and dealing with the larger world around us are especially impactful. Without a highlighter handy, I found myself bending over numerous corners of pages where there were thoughts or passages I thought would come in handy later. My major beef, however, comes with Colson¿s ¿Why¿ which is a constant current throughout this book. Colson argues that the contemporary church must align itself with this very traditional orthodoxy or risk losing itself to atheism, worldliness, a doctrine of tolerance of others, and radical Islam. While all of these are major threats, his hammer-like approach to countering these threats risks putting off the vast majority of those who need to hear his base message. And that¿s unfortunate. On the jacket cover, ¿The Faith¿ is advertised as ¿a book for our troubled tomes and for decades to come, for Christians and non-Christians alike.¿ It goes on, ¿Here is what Christianity is really about and why it is a religion of hope, redemption and beauty.¿ Maybe I¿m too liberal, or too tolerant, or too Methodist, or too much of a tree hugger, or something. But I fear that while we should not shrink from preaching the truth, doing it with contempt for anyone who doesn¿t agree with us is not the way to go. We can and should teach others about the great gift we have in God¿s grace and through Christ¿s blood. And our lives should be a daily witness to that. But Momma said you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Unfortunately, you¿d have to be a very educated, erudite, and mature Christian to gain much from ¿The Faith.¿ And if you¿re already that far along on your walk, you might not need this message as much as someone who is still starting out.
God is so very good! Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This is a must read!! I enjoyed the way our reason for living is broken down in a nutshell: what we believe, why we believe it, and why it means so much¿God is great and am sure, will use this book for His glory. ¿But trying to argue that the God who spoke the universe into being is less than all-powerful is a self-refuting assertion. The real reason for sin and evil is that God created us in His image and gave us a free will, which means we have the capacity to reject God and prefer our will to God¿s. Pride¿¿I can do it my way¿¿will always separate us from God.¿ [Colson and Fickett, 2008] In Jesus¿ name, I pray that we will continue to forsake all, deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him. Time is short, we must remain steadfast, for His will is utmost. Amen.