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Out of the question: Prisoner’s reading

21 May 2012

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.

Your answers

Can anyone suggest a book on basic Christian belief which I could send to a recently baptised (but seem­ingly ill-prepared) life-prisoner in the United States? He is intelligent, but did not complete high-school education.

Many suitable books could be sug­gested, but, from recent experience in training adults with wide-ranging educational backgrounds for Chris­tian initiation, my first choice would be This is our Faith: A popular presentation of church teaching (Redemptorist Publications).

Feedback from candidates has been of the unanimous opinion that this beautifully produced book, with its accessible text and profusion of illustrations, gave them an invalu­able grasp of the fundamentals of Christian faith and practice. This would be ideal for the person in the United States. As a popular and straightforward introduction to the Christian faith, it could not be bettered.

Alternatively, Dr Tom Wright’s Simply Christian or Bishop John Pritchard’s Living Jesus (both published by SPCK) will engagingly stimulate the mind and deepen faith in equal measure.

(Canon) Terry Palmer
Magor, Monmouthshire

May I suggest Simply Christian by Tom Wright. To quote its back-cover blurb, “Simply Christian is essential reading for anyone who wants to consider the real fundamentals of Christianity or is intrigued by its claims about the place of justice, beauty and love in our daily lives. Written in a lively and accessible style, this book describes the excit­ing relevance of the Bible and the Christian story for the contem­porary world.”

Jill Haywood
Bingham, Nottinghamshire

What better than his fellow-American Robert Farrar Capon’s three books, The Parables of the Kingdom, The Parables of Grace, and The Parables of Judgement? Liberally spiced with humour, his books are more like a conversation with the reader than a theology lecture; and he always has his finger on the beat of the heart of the gracious gospel of Jesus, and what it means for the lost, the least, and the last.

(The Revd) Christopher Owens
London E7

[These three books by Robert Farrar Capon, first published in the 1980s, were reissued together in one volume in 2002 by Eerdmans as Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, outrage, and vindication in the parables of Jesus. Editor]

I was asked to write the enclosed book, The Way of the Christian, for schools by Hulton. It was one of a series on world religions.

(The Revd) J. C. Allen
Newland, Malvern

The simplest book on basic Christian belief on my shelves is Christian Faith and Life by William Temple (SCM Press, 1932).

Jean Gibbs
Sidmouth, Devon

I recently gave a copy of A Faith for Life to a teenager (but only just) who was being baptised. The book is intelligent but not academic, and (to quote the blurb on the cover) is about “Christian faith, life and values”. It is copiously illustrated. By Myrtle S. Langley, David Day, David Field, Mags Law, and John Young, it is (or rather was) published by Lion Publishing. Alas, it is currently out of print, but copies are still available on Amazon.

(The Revd) Peter Sear
Evercreech, Shepton Mallet

Another reader, whose initials we cannot make out, has suggested Why Believe: Answers to key questions about the Christian faith by Norman Warren (Lion Books). Editor

Your questions

Why are some of the compulsory readings from Acts unhelpfully brief? We read the results of a miraculous healing, but we do not read the healing itself. We read the results of words Peter to spoke to a group that included Gentiles, but we do not read what Peter said. N.S.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd Floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


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