Sadly, most Christians rarely, if ever, put a second’s thought into the doctrines of Christianity. Many may even find the title (Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe) to be offensive or controversial. Many, if not most, self-professing Christians may not even know what “doctrines” are or where they stand on the important doctrines that make up the Christian faith. All the more reason that every Christian should read this book (or listen to the audio version). No, not all Christians believe the same thing.
In this title, Mark Driscoll has chosen to go over 13 core Doctrines of Christianity:
1. The Trinity of God
2. Revelation: God Speaks
4. We are made in God’s image
5. The Fall (and God’s judgement)
6. Covenant: God’s Pursuit of us
7. Incarnation of Christ
8. The Crucifixion of Christ
10. What exactly is The Church?
13. What is the Kingdom of God?
Each of these core doctrines is explained with direct Biblical reference from the perspective of the author. Many of these doctrines are debated differently by different groups and Driscoll devotes some time to discussing views different from his own. But he does clearly define his own view as he believes it and presents it to his church.
The discussions of each topic were fascinating. As a long time Christian (I am 42 as I write this and was saved at 12), I was honestly astounded at how little this content is discussed by Christians. Or at least that has been the case in my life, churches, and friends. That said, I found the book to be challenging and satisfying at the same time. The author doesn’t just state “This is what you should believe” and leave it at that. There is explanation and discussion of what is said about it in the Bible. There is also discussion of pitfalls surrounding some of the doctrines and why people may believe things differently.
While the title states “What Christians Should Believe” it may have been even better to have stated “Why Christians Should Believe.” If you are a Christian but haven’t really put much thought behind some of these topics, this is an excellent resource. Being Christian means putting your faith in the fact that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he died on the cross in payment for our sins, and that we are all sinners and in need of His saving, healing grace, without which we are doomed to death and hell. Getting that is crucially important. But then we need to take our knowledge further and this book helps explain the foundations of our faith in a way you may never have considered it before.
Clearly, this book is targeted at Christians. However, if you’re not a Christian, this book is still a good explanation of the core beliefs of Christianity. So often Christianity is misrepresented in the media and by people who call themselves Christian but who simply aren’t. Going to a Christian church doesn’t make a person Christian, nor does calling yourself one. It’s deeper than that. If you are interested in learning more about it, this is a good resource. Even better would be to visit an active local church that teaches the Bible and start some discussions. Or read the Bible yourself. But honestly, this book isn’t an impassioned presentation intended to “convert” you.
I should mention this book is not “preachy” at all. It is very straightforward “teaching.” Some people might consider it very “dry.” I felt that it was quite dry at first, but as I kept reading, it was just so interesting, it ended up reading fairly quickly.