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Bringing Theology to Life: Key Doctrines for Christian Faith and Mission

IVP Academic (Downers Grove),

2009, RRP $33.95

Reviewed by Peter Harvey, Frontier Services, Flinders Patrol Minister.

BRINGING THEOLOGY to Life is an attempt to “maintain the strenuous pleasures of precision, clarity, and lively confrontation that are mutually empowering and that keep us accountable to one another, to the responsible reading of Scripture, and to the God we serve.”

Author, Darren Marks, recognises and understands that theological distinctions are part of a growing spiritually.

“We are impoverished when we speak and act without a substantive knowledge of what we are doing,” he said.

The book is obviously not intended to be an exhaustive book of systematic theology – its scope is limited to just seven major doctrines which the author believes every Christian should be familiar with as concepts to “live and serve the gospel fully”.

Mr Marks does succeed in being clear, precise and confronting with his interpretation of the truth behind these doctrines,
seeking to empower and make each of us accountable to one other.

He clearly displays a conviction that academic theology is largely divorced from the needs and concerns of members of the community of faith.

He seeks to redress that imbalance by clarifying that Christian theology should be the content of the life of the Christian community in terms of its worship and therefore its understanding of Christ.

One thing I appreciate in this work is that Mr Marks continually relates everything back to the church, rather than focusing on the individual.

He reminds us that we are called to community, something our highly individualised society fi nds hard to accept.

Each section ends with a bibliography that is grouped into introductory, intermediate and advanced levels, which allows me, even when I disagree with Mr Marks’ outcomes, to further my thought and clarify my own position with the help of other thinkers and writers.