What Do All Christians Believe?
For many people, words like doctrine and theology cause their eyes to glaze over, or they find them difficult to understand and struggle to see how they are relevant to daily life. But theology is far from boring; it is the study of God and should lead to awe and wonder as we better understand who God is and what he has done for us.
In Core Christianity, author, pastor, and theologian Mike Horton tackles the essential and basic beliefs that all Christians share. What is core to the Christian faith? In addition to unpacking these beliefs in a way that is easy to understand, Horton shows why they matter to our lives today.
This introduction to the basic doctrines of Christianity is a helpful guide by a respected theologian and a popular author, and it includes discussion questions for individual or group use. Core Christianity is perfect for those who are new to the faith, as well as those who have an interest in deepening in their understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
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About the Author
Michael Horton (PhD) is Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary in California. Author of many books, including The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, he also hosts the White Horse Inn radio program. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and four children in Escondido, California.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Chapter 1 Jesus is God
This chapter moves from Jesus’ claims to his resurrection as the proof of the Christian faith.
Chapter 2 God is Three Persons
This chapter covers the Trinity and introduces the Spirit. Now that we know Jesus is God, what about the Spirit.
Chapter 3 God is Great and Good
This chapter covers the divine attributes.
Chapter 4 God Speaks to Us
This chapter will cover the concept of God’s revelation to us.
Chapter 5 God Made the World, But We’ve Made a Mess of It
This chapter covers the doctrines of Creation and the Fall.
Chapter 6 God Made a Promise---and Kept It
This chapter covers the covenant of grace from Gen 3:15 to John the Baptist.
Chapter 7 Joy to the World!
This chapter covers the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
Chapter 8 Jesus is Lord
This chapter covers the Ascension, Pentecost, and the Church/Kingdom.
Chapter 9 What Are We Waiting For?
This chapter covers the doctrines of Last Things and the end times.
Chapter 10 What Should We Be Doing in the Meantime?
This chapter covers what the Bible teaches about vocation and our calling as Christians. Until Christ returns, what should we be doing?
What People are Saying About This
When I was in college, I needed an introduction to what Christians believe about redemption---not what my own denomination believed but what all Christians have always believed. A favorite professor told me to read John Stott’s Basic Christianity, and that book was a gift of God for me. I still have my underlined copy. In Core Christianity you have a similar book, one fit for a new generation the way Stott’s was for his generation. Here you will find what Christians believe about what most matters about the most important topics. You might need an extra copy to give to those who, like me many years ago, need an introduction to core Christianity. -- Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
I read straight through this solid book on the central truths of the
Christian faith and was impressed. But when I searched the text for some of the standard technical terms of theology, I found that Horton had managed to deliver the whole message in simple, nontechnical language. Then I was doubly impressed. This is a very useful little book. -- Fred Sanders, Professor, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University
Here we meet a skilled master seeking to train the novice. Taking rich theological concepts and explaining them in a way that is both beautiful and practical, Horton’s book proves genuinely inviting to the newcomer. Learn from a master who is not afraid to put things simply and clearly. -- Kelly Kapic, Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Many people turn away from words like “doctrine” or “theology.” They seem like things only pastors and scholars should care about, but theology is simply the study of God and His word. In Core Christianity, Michael Horton discusses the central beliefs that all Christians share, why we believe them, and why it is important for us to understand why we believe. At less than 200 pages, this little book is filled with important information, but it’s not a difficult read. Horton explains clearly, and with a style of writing that, for a professor, reads very little like a textbook. Horton is a professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, and it’s easy to see both aspects in this book. The chapters are well organized, and the book as a whole has a great flow from one topic to the next. This book will serve its purpose equally well for both the layman and the Christian who already has some background in theology. It will also help to equip people to answer questions about what Christians believe and why. I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook in return for an honest review.
“Core Christianity” is an excellent read for the average believer. Horton breaks down the essential doctrines of the Christian faith – things that all believers across all denominations must agree on in order to remain true to orthodox and biblical Christianity. So many people today are looking for these “core” doctrines because of the increasing plurality and divide in our culture and within our church culture as well. There are so many doctrines, so many differences, so many arguments that believers are not sure where to come down on, not sure what to believe. Horton helps believers discover what those essential truths are and clearly state biblical truth about each of them. Woven together under the subtitle “Find Yourself in God’s Story”, these doctrines find their way into our hearts, minds, and lives as believers. God’s grand story, the unfolding drama of history, and how Jesus and the church fit together in that drama is what Christianity is all about. In fact, it is what life is all about. In simple terms with quality illustrations, Horton helps simplify complex theological truths into the common language of the American Church as well as I have seen in my readings. As a pastor, I have attempted to do much of what Horton has done in this book, though with not nearly as much success. To make these doctrines easily understandable for the average reader is something few pastors and theologians can accomplish with such fluency and ease without compromising the complexity and beauty of the doctrines. Long story short, I would highly recommend this book to those who are seeking to know and understand what makes Christianity what it is, to know who God is and who we are at the core, so that we can better grow in our relationship with Him. In this book, we see the story of the Gospel – a Trinitarian God who is mighty and benevolent, who reveals himself to the people who have made a mess of this world and promises to save them anyway if they repent and turn to God through Jesus, our mediator. This is the good news of the gospel message; this is Core Christianity.
Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story by Michael Horton Popular author and theologian Michael Horton has written another timely book on the impact of Christian theology for the life of every Christian. Beginning with the 4 D’s; drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship, Michael charts a way that integrates knowing the Christian faith, experiencing that same faith, and acting it out in the culture in which we live. In turn, what you have in this book is a sort of apologetic of how and why theology makes sense for all of life, not just in some cerebral narrow sense. This new book, Core Christianity, is an examination of the crucial doctrines of the Christian faith for the purpose of bringing God glory and his creatures obedience to Him. Uniquely, Horton starts his book out with a chapter on the deity of Jesus Christ. Drawing on the testimony of Jesus’ words, his death, the empty tomb, and eyewitness testimony about Him, Horton finishes the chapter with the question of Jesus to us, ‘Who do you say that I am (37)?’ With an adept number of historical references (Josephus and ancient Christological heresies) and drawing on the liar, lord, or lunatic argument set forth by C.S. Lewis, Horton draws us into the impossibility of taking Jesus as some quasi moral teacher but calling us to consider his claims. While I’m not generally sure why a book on finding on story starts with the deity of Jesus Christ, I’m glad that he started there for none other than the reason that without Jesus the story makes no sense at all. One of the most beautiful and careful handling of Scripture comes in chapter 4 (God speaks). After cataloging how various strands of believer’s use the Bible, Horton writes, “The scope of Scripture therefore is God’s commands and promises – law and gospel – centering on this unfolding plan in Jesus Christ…Instead we must allow Scripture itself to identify its scope and purpose (77).” How does Scripture direct us? For one, we must look at the natural sense of each passage, discerning its genre (poetry, apocalyptic, historical narrative, etc.) and then look at the covenants, whether they are promise based covenants or not. This canonical approach to Scripture sets limits on our interpretation but also challenges us to see the God of Scripture rather than simply daily nuggets of joy for today. With characteristic wit and wisdom, Michael Horton gives us an account of the breadth and scope of redemption, the final judgments, the sacrifice of Christ in connection to OT sacrifices and finally helps us understand how these pieces of the puzzle fit together. Though you won’t find any necessarily novel or new in these pages, you will find a rich theology that one can preach but also that one live out in the created world we live in. Thanks to Zondervan and BookLookBloggers for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.