Book Review: To Be A Christian
Author: Anglican Church in North America
Publisher: Anglican House Publishers ISBN: 9780986044120
As a pastor and a teacher in the ways of the Christian faith, I am always interested in the materials that can be helpful with my efforts to lead others in following Christ. This latest book from the Anglican Church in North America is a wonderful addition to my list of favorite resources.
About the Book itself:
Made of bonded black leather and embossed with gold lettering, the book is handsome with a clean aesthetic. It has dimensions of approximately 6″ X 8″ and weighs in with about 160 pages. It is not a thick book, but the weight of the paper and quality is such that it leaves me with no fears that I must handle the pages with a delicate touch to keep them from tearing. This book is meant to be used. There is also a single ribbon marker.
Content and Instruction Philosophy:
I love the premise for instruction and the flow of material presented. Truly, there is nothing new here and that is (in my opinion) part of the beauty. Likewise, I think there is an ecumenical bond when we hearken back to our most common denominators of the Christian faith. I believe this spirit is evident in the work produced in this Anglican Catechism.
The primary teaching tools included in this work follow: Part One begins with the Gospel and the primary teachings of Christ concerning salvation; Part Two proceeds with Believing in Christ and enlists the Apostle’s Creed as the center of focus for teaching “what we believe.” A format of questions and answers following each line of the Creed helps to detail and explain the essence of each belief statement. Part Three introduces what it means to belong to Christ, Being Christ’s, and teaches the basics of the Christian Life through the Lord’s Prayer. The same line-by-line format of Q&A used with the Apostle’s Creed is utilized in this section devoted to the Lord’s Prayer. Part Four, Behaving Christianly, ventures deeper into the lifestyle of the Christian and continues the very effective format of line-by-line question and answer, this time using the Decalogue or Ten Commandments. While not novel, I think this “common denominator” approach is brilliant in simplicity and consists of the most basic foundations of our Christian faith. In a day of consumeristic zeal for newer, fresher, better, and improved… I think there is a beauty and a grace for this approach to making disciples of Jesus Christ. It has worked for two millennia; there is no reason to attempt to reinvent the wheel.
The Anglican Church has produced a beautiful and well-constructed catechism (discipleship tool). There are more exhaustive volumes available, but for the sake of simplicity and thoroughness as well as faithfulness to the core teaching of the Christian faith, I do not think you will find a better resource. You may find equals, but I am doubtful you will find better. This is a winner and I am blessed to add it to my favorite discipleship tools.