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

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

4.0 5
by Martin Thielen
     
 

Pastor and author Martin Thielen has compiled a list of ten things Christians need to believe—and ten things they don't—to be Christians. This lively and engaging book will be a help to seekers as well as a comfort to believers who may find themselves questioning some of the assumptions they grew up with.

Many people in the twenty-first century hunger

Overview

Pastor and author Martin Thielen has compiled a list of ten things Christians need to believe—and ten things they don't—to be Christians. This lively and engaging book will be a help to seekers as well as a comfort to believers who may find themselves questioning some of the assumptions they grew up with.

Many people in the twenty-first century hunger for an expression of Christian faith that is different from the judgmental and narrow-minded caricatures they see on television or in the news. With an accessible style that's grounded in solid biblical scholarship, Thielen shows how Christians don't need to believe that sinners will be "left behind" to burn in hell or that it's heresy to believe in evolution. And while we must always take the Bible seriously, we don't always have to take it literally. At the same time, Christians do need to believe in Jesus—his life, his teachings, his death and resurrection, and his vision for the world. Thielen articulates centrist, mainline Christianity in a way that's fresh and easy to understand and offers authentic Christian insights that speak to our deepest needs.

This is an ideal book for individual, group, or congregational study.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For anyone still trying to get out from under that old, hard brand of Christianity that clinches its fist against science, women, or other faiths, and for those trying to sort out the simple basics of what we believe is at the heart of the Christian faith, Thielen’s book is clear, accessible, down to earth, and reliable." James C. Howell, Senior Pastor, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of The Will of God

"This is a fine resource for clergy and laity alike, particularly those who have wondered: 'Do I have to believe that?'" John M. Buchanan, Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois

"Thielen engages the kinds of questions people actually ask. He combines theological acumen, a pastor’s heart, and a knack for story-telling to fashion one of the most useful books I’ve read in a long time." Michael A. Smith, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Library Journal
Thielen, senior pastor of Lebanon First United Methodist Church in Tennessee, has written a brief book that somewhat belies its catchy title—it is not a cynical expedient for quasibelievers, but rather a purgative for overeager and bigoted Christians. He reminds readers that Christians need not be sexist, anti-Semitic, literalistic, antievolution, or judgmental; they do, however, need to believe in and embrace Jesus and his message. VERDICT Clear and easy to read, with punchy messages, Thielen's book will find favor with pastors, church groups, and individuals.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780664236830
Publisher:
Westminster John Knox Press
Publication date:
01/21/2011
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.61(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.51(d)

Meet the Author

Martin Thielen is Senior Pastor of Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. He previously served as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, for over a decade, during which the church experienced significant revitalization and growth. He has been a national worship and preaching consultant, seminary professor, and author, and has led more than one hundred church leadership workshops across the country. Visit his Web site at GettingReadyForSunday.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book. Well written. Great discussions of topics that are pertienet to being Christiain.
DrAnneUT More than 1 year ago
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.
ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago