Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 3:1 (Fall 1985) p. 79
Books by the Faculty
Christian Faith and Beliefs, by Morris Ashcraft. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1984. 352 pp. $8.95.
The title of this comprehensive and incisive volume on Christian theology sets forth the basic method by which the author organizes his presentation of the Gospel as first a faith to be experienced personally, before it is expressed in terms of one’s convictions regarding the intellectual content of the Gospel. The word beliefs is chosen rather than the usual term doctrine as a deliberate emphasis on the personal necessity to embrace the Christian faith as over against mere intellectual assent to ideas about God and Jesus Christ.
One senses throughout the book the author’s own vital experience of the Christian faith. While the volume comes out of thirty years of teaching Christian theology, the presentation is not mere intellectual exercise. It comes out of the life of the writer as deep faith which finds expression in clear, concise, non-technological terms. In this manner he follows the biblical writers whose presentation of biblical faith came out of experience with the living God himself.
The introductory chapter is a brief description of how the Christian faith arose as an historical revelation of God in Jesus Christ. The various ways in which the Christian faith has found expression in the course of history make the reader aware of the various ways in which theology comes to be written.
As a Christian theologian, Professor Ashcraft sets forth his basic norm of Christian theology — “The ultimate standard by which Christian beliefs must be built and judged is Jesus Christ the revelation of God” (p. 35).
This norm becomes the pattern by which he treats the essentials of the faith. Part I deals with Belief in God with Jesus Christ as the starting point. Revelation, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father complete the section. Part II deals with Belief in Creation with special emphasis on the biblical view of man as made in God’s image. I found this to be one of the most helpful sections of the entire book, since our time calls for a clear exposition of the depth and truth of a Christian humanism. Part III, Unbelief and God deals with the problem of human sin and man’s need of redemption with a special treatment of Providence. Part IV, Belief in Reconciliation sets forth God’s provision for our redemption which centers in the atoning death of Christ on the cross and the necessity of the church in God’s work of reconciliation. The volume concludes with Part V, Belie[ in the New Creation, concluding with the Christian Hope and Everlasting Life.
All the great the...
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