Shelf Life Book Review: Bringing Theology to Life

Stephen M. Vantassel

Bringing Theology to Life: Key Doctrines for the Christian Faith

IVP Academic, 2009

Darren C. Marks’ work is a theological primer. Marks reviews the seven doctrines he considers foundational for Christians: the trinity, sin, incarnation, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the sacraments, heaven and the Church.

Marks does not clutter the text with discussions of various theological opinions. Instead, he situates each doctrine within the flow of Church history and explains why it provides relevant solutions to contemporary problems. He draws insights from a wide range of theologians with different theological persuasions. Marks’ book (for the most part) avoids controversial topics that have divided the church. But when a controversial topic is addressed, such as the relationship between the authority of Scripture and the Church, Marks provides an alternative understanding that helps resolve the debate.

Technical terms are carefully defined and each chapter ends with discussion questions. Recommended readings are organized by level of difficulty and depth. Individuals or small groups looking to delve deeper into theology should consider this text.

This review also appears in the May-June '10 issue of Bible Study Magazine.