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Women in evangelical churches believe in God. However, when they are faced with life's battles---financial problems, job loss, serious illness---they begin to question the God they know. "Can he really provide for my family?" "Can I truly trust him to get me through this crisis?" If such a woman is not grounded in her knowledge of God, the battles she faces threaten to shatter her wavering faith.
Wendy Horger Alsup recognizes such dangers. In Practical Theology for Women, Alsup uses the power of theology to address practical issues in women's lives. Her book opens with a general discussion of theology and addresses the most fundamental and practical issue of theology: faith. Then she explores the attributes of God the Father, Son, and Spirit from Scripture, concluding with a look at our means of communicating with God---prayer and the Word.
Throughout the book, Alsup exhorts women to apply what they believe about God in their everyday lives. As they do this, their husbands, homes, and churches will benefit.
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Publication Date: 2008
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Have you ever wanted to understand the deep things of the Word but been put off by the intimidating vocabulary of theologians? Have you assumed that studying the attributes of God is for seminary students only? Or maybe "just for men"? Have heavy doctrinal themes felt beyond you and your everyday world? If so-if you've ever thought theology was too deep, too impractical, or too irrelevant for your life as a woman-this book is for you.
As author Wendy Alsup explores fundamental theological issues you've always wondered about-minus the daunting vocabulary and complex sentence structure of academic tomes-she brings them into real life… into your world… and reveals the heart of true theology. It's really about "simple yet incredibly profound stuff that affects our daily lives," she says. Stuff like faith and gaining a right knowledge of God as the foundation for wise daily living.
Alsup writes: "Truly, there is nothing like a good grasp of accurate knowledge about God to enable you to meet the practical demands of your life-the practical demands of being a daughter, mother, wife, sister, or friend." Let Practical Theology for Women show you the everyday difference that knowing God makes.
In Part One, Alsup argues clearly and simply that the more time women devote to theology (the study of the nature of God), the richer their spiritual lives will be, and thus their relationships with their families and church community. She shows clearly from both the Old and New Testaments that the very essence of saving faith is to [k]now Him, and then act like you know Him. In Part Two, she then proceeds to outline some of the major attributes of God, along with sections on how we communicate with Him (prayer) and how He communicates with us (Scripture).
One of the major challenges of any work on the nature of God is how to properly list and describe the various aspects of Gods character, both individually and as those aspects work together. Most books make an attempt to create a kind of structure or list from which they can be ordered and studied, so as not to leave any out. Consequently, anyone who has read other works on theology will note that the structure of Part Two seems somewhat haphazard, with some chapters alternately describing an aspect or aspect of Gods identity (e.g. God is our Father) and others describing what God does (The Spirit Sanctifies Us). In some chapters, a single attribute is described in detail, while others outline multiple ones, some with only a paragraph or two. Some critical attributes, such as Gods holiness, justice, and love, are strangely absent, as are common theological concepts such as the Trinity. This is certainly not to suggest that Ms. Alsup doesnt believe that God possesses these qualities, or that they are unimportant! But better editing might have led to a more systematic outline of the various aspects of Gods nature, and to the inclusion of these vital characteristics.
Alsups writing style, on the other hand, is clear and engaging. Each chapter includes many helpful stories from both Scripture and her own life, adding richness to the aspects of Gods character she has chosen to highlight. She confidently and unapologetically takes on unpopular concepts, such as the supremacy of Scripture, and defends them biblically and articulately. There are also helpful book recommendations at the end of each chapter that dig deeper into the various areas Alsup covers.
Overall, the lack of more careful structuring, and a number of unexpected omissions keep Practical Theology for Women from being a truly comprehensive introduction to Biblical theology. Nevertheless, women who want to have their spiritual appetites for the deeper things of God whetted will have much to gain from reading it, and will no doubt be spurred on to read other, deeper works on this topic with more confidence and interest. Rachael Starke, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Alsup provides hope and help to women by situating theology, or the study of God, right in the middle of daily life. How does knowing God make a difference when we experience financial problems, serious illnesses, and other difficult circumstances? Alsup makes the study of God accessible by setting aside the daunting vocabulary and complex sentence structure of academic volumes. Practical Theology for Women explores the truth that faith and a right understanding of God form the foundation for the wise daily choices that women desire to make, and it will help women to practice a practical theology.
Alsup writes: Truly, there is nothing like a good grasp of accurate knowledge about God to enable you to meet the practical demands of your life---the practical demands of being a daughter, mother, wife, sister, or friend. So if youve ever thought theology was too deep, too impractical, or too irrelevant for your life as a woman, this book is for you. Let Practical Theology for Women show you the everyday difference that knowing God makes.
DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Making Theology Practical--connecting faith & lifeApril 11, 2014DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In her new book Practical Theology for Women, author Wendy Horger Alsup shows women that theology (the study of God) isn't just for men or for academics, but it's for all Bible-believing Jesus followers. In fact, she says that studying who God is and what He does is "the root, foundation, and framework for practical living that reflects wisdom and understanding."
So many theology books are so academic and formal that the reader feels talked down to. Not Practical Theology for Women! Alsup approaches the subject manner in a respectful but conversational manner, helping women feel at home thinking about and discussing theological issues, something they may have previously thought was only for men or for academics. I applaud Alsup for making this subject matter accessible to everyday women of all ages.
I also appreciated the way in which Alsup heavily relied on Scripture throughout the book, showing integrity in handling the Word of God and doing her best to avoid misinterpretation. Additionally, Alsup sprinkled the volume with some of her own life stories showing how theology and life meet and how theology should affect a believer's daily lifeâ€”truly showing how practical theology is! Alsup says one of the goals of the book is to "remove any disconnect between what we say we believe and what our actions show our true beliefs to be." She leads readers to do just that.
Initially, I was struck by the shortness of this volume. I like the fact that it's a thin one, encouraging those intimidated by theology to give it a try. Alsup does cover some topics typical of a systematic theology book: God as Creator, Father and Sovereign; Jesus as Savior, Bridegroom and Vine; and the Holy Spirit as Helper, Comforter and Counselor. Alsup also addressed prayer and God's Word. I know that her goal was to make sure theology and life meet and mesh. So, I see why she covered the topics she did. At the same time, I hope Alsup will write a second volume of Practical Theology for Women to cover additional topics in systematic theology like Satan, angels, demons, heaven and hell, sin, salvation, and the church. I know women would appreciate her approach to these topics as well.
In the end, I highly recommend this book to all women who want to know God more and appropriate what they believe into everyday life. Practical Theology for Women is well-written, easy-to-understand and very biblical.
Wendy Horger Alsup (MEd, Clemson University) enjoys teaching theology to women and is the author of Practical Theology for Women, The Gospel-Centered Woman, and By His Wounds You are Healed. Alsup resides in Seattle with her husband, Andy, and two children.
* Note: I received a copy of this book from Crossway Books for this review. However, the opinions expressed in the review are my own.
Bina Ellefsen5 Stars Out Of 5September 17, 2010Bina EllefsenThe major theme of this book is that seeking to know the deep things of God from Scripture empowers Christian women in daily living- from the mundane to the events that shake our world. Throughout the book, Alsup quotes robust sections of Scripture to draw out themes such as Gods love for us, the role of trials in giving us greater glimpses into Gods glory, and the role of discipline in conforming us to the image of Christ. Laying a sturdy foundation from Scripture, Alsup highlights key truths about who God is. Humbly using examples from her own life, Alsups book exposes how our unbelief is often revealed in our common responses to trials by the way we manipulate our circumstances or sink into despair. Rather than settling for this way of living, Alsup urges women to stop, get off of the emotional roller coaster, and take our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. She then takes us by the hand and walks us through the ways we do this by accessing God and the exceedingly great power that is available to us through the Word and through prayer.The biggest legacy of this small book is its rich reference to Scripture, and the simple, practical, and empowering application of Scripture to the everyday life of women with everyday struggles. It can be read cover to cover in an hour or two, or it can be read chapter by chapter in about 5 to 10 minutes per day. After reading this book, I am left with this truth that Alsup draws upon throughout the book: God does not leave us as orphans but rather gives us direct access to Him and to the same power that raised Jesus from the grave! Alsups book left me convicted, inspired, and empowered.
Anne5 Stars Out Of 5May 26, 2010AnneWendy 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.