Bringing Theology to Life: Key Doctrines for Christian Faith and Mission
Darren C. Marks
IVP Academic, $33.95
Darren C. Marks is assistant professor of Theology and Jewish Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario. This book comes out of Marks’ conviction that “theology, or more specifically academic theology, is largely divorced from the needs and concerns of members of the community of faith”.
At the same time he identifies a need for communities of faith to engage more fully in the theological conversation, suggesting that Western Christians have turned theology and Christianity into a kind of self-dialogue in which we believe that we think just as God.
Marks seeks to “redress that imbalance by clarifying that Christian theology is exactly the content of the life of the Christian community in terms of its worship and therefore its understanding of Christ.”
In Bringing Theology to Life, Marks explores seven of the church’s key doctrines: Trinity, Sin, Incarnation, Holy Spirit, Bible and Sacraments, Heaven and Church, highlighting the interconnections between them.
Engaging academic discussions of the past and the present, he contextualises these doctrines and shows their meaning for the day-to-day life of a faith community. Each section ends with a bibliography grouped into introductory, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as some questions for discussion and further thinking.
If I have a criticism of Bringing Theology to Life it is that while Marks believes that every Christian should be familiar with the church doctrines included in this book in order to live and serve the gospel fully, and bemoans the disconnect between the academy and the community, he has produced a book that is quite academic in style and which assumes a reasonable level of prior theological language and understanding.
Some theological distinctions are not easy to grasp.
Nevertheless, Bringing Theology to Life is a useful guide to some classic Christian doctrines.