Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Practical Theology for Women (2008)

Practical Theology for Women. Wendy Horger Alsup. 2008. Crossway. 154 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Practical theology is a good thing. And I believe that women should read theology, should be encouraged to read theology. But do women need practical theology written just for them? I'm hesitant to answer that with a yes. I'm confused, in a way, because I never thought of theology as being written by men for men. I have always thought of theology as being beyond gender for the most part. Theology can be very practical for every Christian reader, regardless of gender.

There were statements that bothered me,
Have you ever wanted to understand the deep things of the Word but have been put off by the intimidating vocabulary of theologians? Have you assumed that studying the attributes of God is for seminary students only? Or maybe "just for men?" Have heavy doctrinal themes felt beyond you and your everyday world? If so--if you've ever thought theology was too deep, too impractical, or too irrelevant for your life as a woman--this book is for you.
Most of us want to understand the Bible. If you've read this far in this book, chances are you love God and want to know more about him. But many believers, especially Christian women, are not confident in their personal study of the Word. Does Scripture intimidate you? (143)
If the last statement is true, that "many Christian women" lack the confidence to read the Bible for themselves, that is just incredibly sad to me. The idea that ANY woman would cling to the idea that she is not smart enough to read and learn of God is incredibly sad to me.

That being said, is the theology of Practical Theology for Women practical and biblical? The answer is yes. The book is divided into three sections: "What Is Theology?", "Who Is Our God?", and "Communicating With Our God."

The first section introduces readers to the basics of theology. It focuses on the faith, on what it means to believe, on how your belief comes into play in your daily life. Your life can reveal what you truly believe, perhaps exposing your trust issues at times. The second section focuses on God, on His character and attributes. It focuses on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Again this is very basic stuff. Good stuff, I might add! The third section focuses more perhaps on our response. It focuses on the disciplines of prayer and Bible-reading.

The topics discussed in Practical Theology for Women are relevant to men and women. If you're new to the faith, this might be a good place to start. I can think of a dozen other good books that would also serve equally well, books that aren't targeted just for women.

Favorite quote:
Some of us don't know the truth of the character of our God. But many more of us do know the truth but don't count on it, don't set our minds on it, don't take our thoughts captive and make them submit to it when we get to the practical issues of life. (99)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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