Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Theology for Women

As women, our lives get busy and our attention has to be on so many different things that it is often difficult to slow down and articulate what we believe and be intentional about how we live our lives.  It is easy to get overwhelmed by the pressings and priorities of now and lose sight of the big picture. 

I have had several women say to me that they don't want to read books that make them think.  They would like to read easy to read books.  They don't want to sort through theology and what they believe if it isn't easily decipherable.  At first, I was surprised by these comments and honestly shocked.  And then, of course, God put me in their shoes!!

A few weeks ago, I said to a gal at church, that I just couldn't read any more heavy books about theology and living out the Gospel-centered life.  I was reading a book about the Emergent Church, Doctrine by Mark Driscoll, and another book at the time.  I was overwhelmed because I don't always have a lot of brain power left at the end of the day after taking care of the kids, homeschooling, and caring for our home.

Yes, I said exactly what someone had said to me just four months earlier! 

And in all honesty, I'm not able to tackle Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables right now.  I tried one day.  My husband looked at me puzzled when I set it down and explained to him that I just wasn't as smart as he is!  Honestly, I think it's more that he reads books like that regularly and I don't.  I have forgotten a lot of the vocabulary and meanings of words.  It makes it much more difficult to read books like that when you don't know what the words mean.

But, books can be difficult to read not just because of the vocabulary.  They can also be hard to read because they ask you to really think about what you're reading and process it.  With all the things on our plates as women and as moms, there often isn't a lot of energy left to put towards reading books that challenge us.

Or at least it feels like there isn't enough energy.

One thing that I find that helps is finding a book that I really want to read or that I feel I really need to read.  I also just read a little at a time.

I just finished reading Practical Theology for Women.  I requested it after reading the introduction on Crossway Book's website.  (http://www.crossway.org/product/9781433502095) I enjoyed the introduction and wanted to read more.

Wendy Alsup's heart is to share solid theology and biblical commentary with women.  This book reminded me of the book John Stott wrote about the basics of the Christian faith that pastors often quote. 

This book covers the basics of theology, "which is the study of the nature of God".  p. 23
In part one, Ms. Alsup talks about what faith is, and what it means to walk in faith.  Then, she talks about who God is, which includes who Jesus and the Holy Spirit are.  In the third part, she addresses how we communicate with God and what the Word is.

She covers the basics well.  I was impressed that this is a book that is perfectly suited for a mentor to go through with a new Christian.  Reading this book would remind older believers of what they know and help new Christian women understand what the Bible says and who God is.  It would also be a good book for a Bible study which includes young Christians as well as women who have known the Lord for a long time, because younger believers wouldn't feel at a loss not understanding many of the words Christians use.

Here is an example of something that I thought was very well put in the chapter about the Holy Spirit:
"If a ministry talks more about the Holy Spirit than it does about Christ, it is probably not controlled by the Spirit of God.  The Spirit is all about Christ rather than himself.  The best way to figure out if a ministry is controlled by the Holy Spirit is to evaluate the clarity of its teaching and worship of Christ." p. 109

I have often longed for a book that I could recommend to new believers that wasn't fluffy or unbiblical.  Too many books today are thinly veiled self help psychology books with a few encouraging Bible verses in them.  I have also found many books that are simply unbiblical in what they say and take verses out of context.

I highly recommend this book if it sounds like what you are looking for.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Crossway Books.


Anonymous said...

Where do you stand on the emergent church? For or against. I personally, do not feel it is biblical and was curious of your stance.

Anonymous said...

After reading my comment, I realized that it may have come off as judgmental when I stated my personal opinion and I wanted to apologize to you and your readers for that. That was not my intent. Thank you so much for so beautifully stating your opinion in your post.

Suz said...

Oh, no, I didn't think your comment was judgmental by saying that you thought it wasn't biblical. I do have concerns that it isn't biblical. One of the biggest is when I see a church alienate half of their congregation because it is choosing to become emergent. If it a belief about how to do church that causes so many people to leave your church (one that has been known to be very biblical), that makes me uneasy. I was just reading in the Word this morning that we are to seek unity and peace within the body.