Christian Faith 101, the Basics and Beyond by Steven Tsoukalas

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Tsoukalas has written a brief primer (barely over 100 pages) on the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.  His focus is on three major doctrines: the Godhead (with separate chapters on each member of the Trinity), the person and work of Christ, and salvation.  He closes with a practical chapter on living the Christian life and the role of the church.

The format used is quite helpful.  Each chapter is broken into four sections:  “The Basics” (which details the essentials of that particular doctrine), “Beyond the Basics” (which handles some deeper material), “For Discussion” (for use by group studies) and “Meditations” (which attempts to provide means of application).

Theologically the book is right on target and who has its best use among those new to the faith or in need of a short refresher.  There were, however, a few statements to which I take exception:

• I believe Tsoukalas goes beyond what is revealed when he states “Because God’s self-revelation came to a patriarchal and tribal culture, God was revealed as ‘Father’” (p. 6).

• He tells us to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him for whatever gifts He wants us to have (p. 28).  Scripture, on the other hand, never tells us to do either.

• We are also told to listen to the Holy Spirit when we pray, for He will give us the words when we do not know what to say (p. 33).  This is a misinterpretation of Romans 8:26-27. 

• He mistakenly tells us that Christians are called “Israel” (p. 43).  Although He does not mention Galatians 6:16, this is apparently the passage he is referencing.

• He believes the present heaven of God will be united with the present earth in a restored Eden (p.79), in contrast to 2 Peter 3:10 which says the present heavens and earth will be destroyed.

Aside from these concerns, I believe Christian Faith 101 accomplishes its purposes as a short overview of basic doctrines.

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