Let’s face it, dealing with Doctrine and Theology can be a tricky and often complicated matter. It’s easy to inadvertently step into the theological quicksand and quickly sink up to one’s neck. So, when Gregg R. Allison’s volume arrived for review I was anxious to examine how 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology compared to other volumes on the same topic.
The answer: wonderfully – and the subtitle provides an explanation of the difference. Allison does not try to compete with Grudem’s Systematic Theology or MacArthur and Mayhue’s Biblical Doctrine. Both of these are detailed examinations of theology and doctrine. Rather, he presents the material in bit-sized doctrinal pieces designed specifically for the Sunday School teacher or the pastor desiring to educate the flock on doctrine.
The title may be a bit misleading in that Allison, a professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, does not deal with 50 major doctrines. Rather, he engages eight major doctrinal subject areas – Word of God, God, God’s Creatures, Christ, Holy Spirit, Salvation, Church and Future Things – and divides them into 50 chapters. For instance, Part 1 deals with the “Doctrine of the Word of God.” Allison includes seven chapters comprising such subjects as Inspiration, Inerrancy, Authority, and four other subject areas.
Each of the fifty chapters is structured exactly the same. And this is where the usefulness of this volume comes in. At the end of each chapter Allison has included a Teaching Outline that will guide the instructor in presenting the material. The outlines follow the arrangement and subheadings of each chapter.
Bear in mind that this is a conservative theological volume so if your theological leanings are liberal you will not find justification for them in this publication. However, with that premise in mind, anyone teaching the essential doctrines of the faith to a Sunday School or Small Group should have this book as a resource. You will find it invaluable.
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this volume by Baker Books for a fair and honest review.