Thursday, November 10, 2011
Simply Christianity is good because it really does let the Bible speak for itself. A vast amount of the book is simply the gospel of Luke intermingled with John Dickson's commentaries on the chapters. So you're reading chunks of Scripture and then hopefully any questions you have will be answered in the subsequent chapters. For this reason, I found the book more helpful than the course, although the course has the advantage of having group discussions.
When I read the book and did the course, I was presented with Jesus. 10 years ago this shocked me when I encountered in the pages of Luke not just gentle Jesus meek and mild, but also a man who had authority over nature, over mankind, over sickness and over death. He was and is like no-one I've ever known. The book explores the repercussions of meeting this Jesus. Who is this man? If He is who He says He is, what does that mean for our lives?
The downside of this book is the same as I imagine it would be for all 'life of Jesus' type courses. Inevitably questions arise about sin. Before I became a Christian, I did not think I was a sinner. I believed that sin was murder, rape etc and because I had never committed those sins, I was not a sinner. My question was: why did Jesus have to die? For this reason, something like Introducing God would have been helpful because it goes through the Bible from creation to the fall and you get to see God's great rescue plan for the world unfold so when Jesus comes along, hopefully it makes a bit more sense. But having said that, John Dickson does a great job addressing potential FAQs in an 'Extra Information' section at the end of the book.
If you or a friend are wanting to investigate Jesus, then the Simply Christianity course and book are great places to start. Put aside any views of Him you may have got from the media or friends, and be willing to encounter the real Jesus in the pages of Luke's gospel.