Short Answers to Big Questions About God, the Bible, and Christianity
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Short Answers to Big Questions About God, the Bible, and Christianity

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Product Description

Short Answers to Big Questions About God, the Bible, & Christianity presents a fair and honest responses to 50 of the most common questions asked about Christianity. Clinton Arnold and Jeff Arnold answer questions such as Does God hate sex? Why are there hypocrites in the church? Are there errors in the Bible? Did Jesus literally rise from the dead? Am I good enough to go to heaven? Do believers need to go to church? What is God actually like?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0801016665
ISBN-13: 9780801016660

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Publisher's Description

This accessible reference offers short and to-the-point answers to fifty pressing questions people have about God, the Bible, and Christianity, including

- Are there errors or contradictions in the Bible?
- Do science and faith conflict?
- Is hell a real place?
- What will heaven be like?
- Is it possible to prove God exists?
- Why did Jesus have to die?
- Does God hate sex?
- Do Christians have to go to church?
- and many more

This book is for those who want a clear introduction to the essential teachings of Christianity to help them grow in faith and in preparation to share the basics of Christian belief.

Author Bio

Clinton E. Arnold is dean of Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. Prior to becoming dean, he was a professor in the New Testament department for twenty-five years. He is the author of many books, including 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare, and is the editor of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary.

Jeff Arnold
is a high school English and logic teacher in Santa Ana, California. A former youth pastor, he is the creator of Unleashed, an intensive training camp for Christian high schoolers that equips them to share their faith. He also trains new believers in the basics of theology as part of a team at his local church.

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  1. SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Could have been better
    October 12, 2015
    SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible and Christianity by Clinton E. Arnold and Jeff Arnold is just what its title declares it to be, it is an endeavor to answer, in only a few pages, many questions new Christians, or unbelievers, have about God, the Bible or Christianity. The book is not as good as I had hoped it would be. My main problem with it is its presentation of the relationship/interaction between God and mankind.

    First, its discussions of the love of God toward people are presented too much like the modern concept of "falling in love", an uncontrolled, "couldn't help it" type of thing. Here are a few quotes to demonstrate what I mean: "God isn't just loving, he is loveAnd he isn't just a loving person 'in theory'; he literally, at this very moment, is aware of his deep love for you. "and, "he loves you because he created youIf you have a child, you have felt this love before; you don't love your child because of what they've accomplished; you love them because they are your child. This is how God sees you. " I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where God's love is declared to have been bestowed on us simply because we are His creations. God created Satan too but He doesn't love him even though he is His creation. "The problem of sin created a serious dilemma for GodIt is his nature to hate sin.yet he earnestly wants a relationship with his people..", "In his perfect purity, holiness, and righteousness, God is deeply offended by our sin. Yet he longs to have a close relationship with us. Since he cannot simply overlook our offenses, he devised a merciful and loving plan to deal with this problem" To me, this makes God's love come across as a human loving a pitiable sickly little child, but God's love isn't generally presented that way (unless you count the picture of God's love towards Israel, but even then, it was His choice), it's more like God choosing to love a corpse, or a zombiethose dead in their sins and yet using their decaying faculties to rage against God and His attributes and desires. God CHOSE to have pity on us, God CHOSE to love us detestable creatures, creatures who naturally choose to despise Him and His laws in favor of their own selves and desires. He chose to make us New Creations, breathing spiritual life into us.

    Second, in answering the question "Why Bad things happen to good people", part of the explanation is given like this, "God gave us the free will to make our own decisions. Without this freedom, we would be unable to truly love God - or each other, for that matter; we would simply be robots following commands. So when we ask how an all-powerful God could allow someone else to wrong us, the problem with what we're asking is that God's power has nothing to do with it;.God could, if he wished, end all pain on this earth right now. He could step in and directly control everyone's actions, thoughts, and feelings in order to keep anyone from doing anything that causes harm. But imagine the cost: an entire world full of people who move around like puppets, never saying or doing anything that wasn't controlled for them. No one wants that." So will we be robots in Heaven, not able to choose evil? When God makes us into New Creations, Christians, does that make us puppets? Is it really more loving for God to let a person choose to make choices that will lead to condemnation for eternity than it is for Him to change their dispositions to desire the right and accept Him so that they will live in the New Heaven and the New earth for eternity? That logic doesn't come from the Bible. That logic doesn't even make sense when it comes to parents with their children, it would not be loving for a parent to let their child slap their brothers and sisters around and then also give them the option to choose to stick their finger into a light-socket. The loving thing to do would be to stop them from doing both of those things, not giving them a choice in the matter, even if they aren't happy in the process of being stopped. "without this freedom, we would be unable to truly love God.." really? Where does the Bible say that? True love comes from God (see 1 John), it doesn't originate with human beings. God defines love, and we learn in the Bible that true love is selfless. So to rephrase the above statement, "Without the freedom to be selfish, we wouldn't be able to truly be selfless?" As you can see, I don't believe that question about why bad things happen to good people was answered biblically in this book.

    Things like the above really bothered me. This is not to say that there weren't good things in the book, there were. I just don't think that this book would necessarily be the best to give an unbeliever or an immature Christian because some of the answers given do not match up with what the Bible says. I really liked their section on why we don't always sense the presence of God. That chapter contains many statements that I really like, actually, I think they're excellent! So I'll end on a positive note with my favorite excerpt from the book:

    Soon after I stopped feeling this intense love and presence of God, I started grasping for things that normally brought that passion back. I would drive almost an hour away to find churches with great worship bands and speakersI knew on some level that there was something off about the way I was approaching this, but I felt like I needed to do whatever it took to get that feeling back. And then one day it struck me: my faith had stopped being about God and had become about how I felt. That was really selfish of me. It shouldn't have mattered how I felt if I trusted that God was real. At that point the best thing for someone like me was to remove those feelings so that my faith would once again become about God, not myself. .the end result was that I began learning how to center my life around God with or without the feelings that I once had.To make Christianity purely about feelings is to make it about ourselves rather than God. God doesn't promise to constantly flood us with intense emotionFrom the earliest days of the church, Christians have based their closeness to God on theology - on what they knew about God from Scripture - rather than feelings. Many of the first Christians shed blood for believing in God. If anyone had the right to feel distant from God, wouldnt it be the people suffering for his sake? Instead, the early disciples rejoiced at the chance to suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41)."

    I received a free review copy of this book from the Baker Books Blogger Program and my review did not have to be favorable.
  2. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good introductory level book
    October 6, 2015
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    We Christians are to be thinking people and sometimes we need resources to help us. The authors have written this book to help fill in those areas where we need clarity in our thinking.

    They start with basic questions about trusting the Bible. They cover loads of topics, such as believing God is good, the supernatural, the destiny of man, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Jesus' return, and many more.

    The authors have limited their answers to a few pages, even though books have been written about some of these issues. The idea is that these answers are not exhaustive but are more springboards for further investigation. There are books listed in For Further Reading so the topics can be explored more deeply. There are also Discussion Questions listed at the end of each chapter.

    Potential readers should be aware that this is a very general and introductory collection of questions and answers. For example, when investigating the claim of possible errors in the Bible, they address the issue in general, not looking at any specific issues.

    Salvation is clearly explained so the book is suitable for someone investigating Christianity. There are places where the authors expect readers to accept the Bible as truth so those answers are suitable for readers already Christians. There were a few of discussions I especially appreciated. One was a very good teaching on the Trinity. Another was the explanation for the formation of the canon. Another was a balanced and well presented look at the return of Christ, not giving a particular view of the timing of the rapture, but covering the various possibilities.

    Some of the questions surprised me, such as the role of emotions in our Christian life. The authors talk about the dark night of the soul, something usually discussed in more advanced books. But the authors have selected the questions because they themselves have been asked these questions over the years. So the book does not deal with just theology but questions of life, like happiness and purpose. They have an excellent discussion of what it means to be in the world but not of the world. And they tackle hard questions, like unanswered prayer.

    I recommend this book to new Christians or those investigating Christianity. You'll get some good answers, some questions to stimulate your thinking, and some suggestions to investigate further.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
  3. GiniB
    Dallas, PA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Short Answers
    September 21, 2015
    GiniB
    Dallas, PA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The title describes this book well. It gives short answers, but as the authors say in the preface, Short Answers is not meant to be the end of your study; rather, its the beginning. Let this be the springboard for you to dive into the deep ocean that is understanding God. (17) To help the reader move toward that goal each chapter ends with several Scripture passages related to the chapter topics and then a few questions for thought. Some of those questions are tough, too. There is a list of titles for further reading provided at the end. The authors have achieved their goal, in my opinion.

    This is no light, fluffy read. There are illustrations that are relevant though, so it isnt like trying to read a catechism book. That is good. It is not written for the totally unchurched, but for someone seeking answers or for someone wishing to be better skilled in answering questions. It does not avoid the non PC questions, but remember this is a beginner reader and a springboard to more.

    This book is a good resource volume for most of us. Give it a look see.

    This book was provided by the publisher in return for a review.

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