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What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?: A Guide to What Matters Most

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Great Book. Well written. Great discussions of topics that are

    Great Book. Well written. Great discussions of topics that are pertienet to being Christiain.

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  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    What¿s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? By Mart

    What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? By Martin
    Thielen Published by Westminster John Knox Press ISBN 9780664236830 This
    book was supplied to me by the publisher via NetGalley in return for the
    promise of a fair and honest review if I chose to review the book.
    What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? A Book Review
    This title offended me. I believe that a Christian should learn all he
    can learn about Christ and then believe it if it is true. This title
    sounds to me like weaseling. So I was very relieved to get into the
    book and find out it wasn’t that way at all. The source for the title is
    a long-ago discussion between him and a self-described atheist. The
    atheist and the pastor continued to be friends, and finally the atheist,
    having gone through various phases of belief and non-belief, asked for a
    formal meeting with the pastor. This was the question he asked, and this
    is the answer the pastor gave him. First, it lists ten things a
    Christian need not and in most cases, should not believe. These include
    exclusivity to the extent that even fellow Christians who follow a
    different denomination, are undoubtedly damned. They also include the
    belief that God causes accidents, natural disasters, and illnesses;
    fretting over occasional (or even perennial) doubt (“I believe; help
    thou my unbelief); women as slaves of men; the belief that God doesn’t
    care about social justice; the belief that God will send sinners (
    category which includes most of the person’s relations and
    acquaintances) to burn in hell forever, even if they are people who
    never heard of Christ or who otherwise had no chance of learning to
    believe in him; the idea of The Rapture; the belief that everything in
    the Bible should be taken literally; the belief that God hates sinners,
    especially if they are homosexuals; and the belief that it is okay for
    Christians to be judgmental and aggressive over their disbelief.
    Christians should believe in Jesus’ identity (if you don’t know that
    Jesus is a part of the Godhead how can you worship him?); Jesus’
    identity with God; Jesus’ priorities if they don’t include us and our
    pet beliefs; and Jesus’ grace. I found that although there were things
    in the book that I didn’t belief; for example, in insisting that all
    Christians must believe in the Trinity—three in one, one in three—and
    that people who don’t believe in what the writer believes is a worse
    sinner than the ones the author condemns. He hasn’t the slightest idea
    that he is doing it; he is consciously welcoming all comers to the
    Church but then subliminally saying, ‘That doesn’t include you and your
    belief system.” Christians must believe in Jesus’ resurrection and in
    his later resurrecting all of humankind. Christians must believe that
    the church in general is still relevant; that Jesus was wise but not as
    much the God he was before the World and the God he is now; that the
    Holy Spirit was sent to call us; and in general most of the same things
    I believe. He also believes that Christians must believe in the dogma of
    the Trinity, although he admits that it isn’t present in scripture, and
    that it was later extrapolated, and the arguments he uses in its favor
    support the Mormon view of the Godhead more than they do the Catholic
    and Protestant Trinity. Finally, he states that Christians must believe
    in the Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ Vision: God’s dream for the world. He
    gets a little vague in this chapter, but it works all the same. This,
    in my eyes, makes this well-written, short and readable, book well worth
    reading, especially for someone who has recently become, or is
    considering becoming, a Christian. Anne Wingate Author of Scene of the
    Crime and other works of fiction and nonfiction.

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  • Posted July 14, 2012

    turned the bible into a smorgasbord

    Not enough room to say what I really want to say, but I'll do my best with the limited space provided. Martin Thielen had a very engaging style, which made this work an enjoyable read. I will admit, there were times he was long-winded though, writing the same theme in various ways. It gave me the impression he needed words to fill the page rather than getting his point across in an effective method. Still, he kept me entertained. Part One: What you don’t have to believe One thing I didn’t like about part one, is the author tried to slant ideas to fit what he wanted to believe rather than what is actually in the bible. For example, explaining away all the unhappiness in the world, as if God had no hand in any of it. At some point, Mr. Thielen asked, “how can we serve a God like that?” referring to incidents people label as “acts of God,” like tornadoes, car wrecks, earthquakes, etc. I’m not saying God is up in the clouds wreaking havok. However, if we look at the history in the bible, God has been known to do just that. The Old Testament (OT) is full of “acts of God.” The New Testament (NT) has a few of its own also. Other times, Mr. Thielen takes modern ideas which are popular in society and applies them as biblical fact when they’re very much contradictory to the bible. For example, he says, “God doesn’t want people to be in the bondage of slavery. Nor does God want women to be submissive, second-class citizens. God intends for marriage to be a partnership, not a hierarchy.” Now I’m all for equality. I want it for myself. Yet hierarchies and submissiveness is very much a part of the bible. Overall, Mr. Thielan had some great points in Part One. Other times he turned the bible into a smorgasbord where one can pick and choose what works best for his/her lifestyle. Mostly, I think it’s important to understand that True Christianity is about what’s in the bible, not necessarily the way people who call themselves Christian present Christianity to the world. Part Two: What you do need to believe I’m not going to go deep in Part 2 because most of it I’ll say was irrelevant. Mr. Thielen seemed to go off on tangents, which did not focus on the the questions “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” Yes, he answered the question, but it could have been done in 1 chapter versus the 10 chapters he used to do it. My bottom line for What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? — It’s an engaging read, has a lot of instructive information, but is also full of fallacies. As I tell my husband, commentaries and such are great, but people really need to get into the Word so they can decipher what is true and not true when information is presented to them. Would I recommend What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Yes and no. If you’re unfamiliar with biblical teachings, I wouldn’t recommend reading this work solo or for using as a basis for Christianity. However, it would be a nice book to study with someone who is knowledgeable about the bible. I also think it’d make an excellent book for a study group. Why? Because either of the latter two scenarios would provide the opportunity for discussion. When readers hit the areas which are questionable, they can talk it over, compare notes, and look up scriptures to determine if the bible supports Mr. Thielan’s ideas or not. I received this work from the publisher in exchange for a review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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