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Author J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., addresses non-Christians and Christians alike in this compelling exploration of the essentials of Christianity. Though not a commentary on Paul’s letter to the Romans, Greear “uses the major talking points of Paul’s letter to construct a framework of Christian essentials.” He asks, “If Paul were writing the book of Romans today, to people living in a 21st-century Western post-Christian culture rather than people living in a first-century Roman and Jewish culture, how would he write it?” Greear persuasively argues that Paul’s letter does speak meaningfully to people today as it has throughout history because the basic human questions and fears of humanity remain the same no matter when people live. 

Greear answers questions, such as the following: “What is Christianity?” “How do we know there’s a God?” “If God is real, why doesn’t everybody believe in him?” “Why do Christians talk about ‘being saved’?” “Aren’t all religions the same?”  

Particularly applicable and helpful is Greear’s chapter that explores an answer to the question, “Why does the Christian life seem so hard?” Greear’s willingness to relate his own spiritual struggles adds authenticity to his insights: “I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years now, and I am often dismayed at my lack of spiritual maturity. Why do I still struggle so much with self-control? Why am I still so instinctively jealous over the successes of others? Why am I so tightfisted with money, even money I don’t really need?” 

Essential Christianity would make a meaningful gift for people seeking, for the first time, to know God, and for Christians who long to be refreshed and encouraged in their faith walk with God. 

(The Good Book Company)


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