My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Review: Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology

Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology by Gregory A. Boyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As stated in the Introduction, this work is intended to introduce several of the topics of debate within the Evangelical Christian movement along with a very basic position and support adopted by each side in the debate. Although the focus is on the Protestant tradition, there were a few references to Catholicism where that tradition was useful as a contrast (and I found all of the positions informative and useful). Each chapter takes up a specific debate introduced in a section entitled “Posing the Question” that tries to frame the question in common everyday language within a hypothetical discussion/encounter between two christians. 

The next section identifies “The Center and Its Contrasts” which briefly describes each Evangelical position before presented supporting arguments for each position (organized into an summary, biblical arguments, supporting arguments (extending the biblical support), and responses to [typical] objections. Perhaps it was a factor of the lack of nuance, or that fact that I already have my own researched position for some of these debates … but the responses frequently felt like straw-man arguments. The chapter then ends with a section recommending [extensive] Further Reading. Finally … the appendix gives a much abbreviated introduction to 15 topics that seem to be definitive for most Evangelicals without as much debate.

Although not intended as a balanced treatment of opposing beliefs, it was nonetheless highly instructive for me and I would recommend it for any who wish to understand the various sects within Christianity (although it would be a bit of a struggle for any not raised and learned in at least one christian tradition). It can also be explored in any order, or as a reference if studying the concepts independently, given the simply language used to present each argument … so I am giving it an additional star for usability.

1. The Inerrancy Debate
2. The Providence Debate
3. The Foreknowledge Debate
4. The Genesis Debate
5. The Divine Image Debate
6. The Christology Debate
7. The Atonement Debate
8. The Salvation Debate
9. The Sanctification Debate
10. The Eternal Security Debate
11. The Destiny of the Unevangelized Debate
12. The Baptism Debate
13. The Lord’s Supper Debate
14. The Charismatic Gifts Debate
15. The Women in Ministry Debate
16. The Millennium Debate
17. The Hell Debate

1. How Should Evangelicals Do Theology
2. What is the Best Analogy for the Trinity
3. Was Noah’s Flood Global or Local
4. Were Adam and Eve Historical Persons
5. Are Humans Made Up of One, Two or Three Parts
6. What is the Meaning of Justification
7. Must Wives Submit to Their Husbands
8. How Should Christians Approach Earthly Politics
9. What Happens to Babies Who Die
10. What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
11. In Speaking in Tongues the Initial Evidence of Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
12. Can a Christian Be Demonized
13. How Should We Interpret the Book of Revelations
14. Has Jesus Already Returned (Preterist)
15. When Will Jesus Return (Rapture)

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#AcrossTheSpectrum #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.