Every so often I get the opportunity to read a book for an author or a publishing company in exchange for a review of the book. A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO KNOWING WHAT YOU BELIEVE was sent to me by Bethany House Publishers. I really appreciate the chance to try out new authors that I haven’t heard of.
In this book Patty Houser, the author, answers the questions, “Have you ever wanted a stronger faith – the kind that spills out and changes the world around you? A faith that stands strong under any kind of pressure?” Mrs. Houser is a Christian woman who earned a degree in Christian apologetics and wants to share with women that the key to being a dynamic Christian is to not only love God with all your heart, but also with your mind. She shares insight, research, and arguments that can help a person teach another the Gospel with conviction.
One question you may have is what is Christian apologetics? She states that it is the rational defense of the claims that Christianity is true. She describes herself as being “like one of God’s lawyers here on earth.” And like attorneys, she defends God’s claims about himself to those who don’t believe what God says is true.
This book has some light stories in it that illustrate a point. Following these stories are deep discussions of what those stories are telling us. This book may not be a light read, but it is enlightening. She discusses the fallacies of thought. How the Bible came to be organized as it is. Why there is a Latin Vulgate division and another division of the Bible called the Septuagint. She discussed why there are different translations of the Bible. I have read some of the verses in the various “translations” and find them to be way off the King James Version which is the volume I read.
She also compares the various religions of the world and how they answer important questions about who we are, what we are, why we are here, where did we come from, and other such important things. There are a lot of people who don’t have answers to these questions. My belief is that people would be happier and have hope if they knew the answers to these questions. We are here for a purpose and life is more fulfilling and makes more sense when we know what that purpose is. The philosophy that “He who dies with the most toys wins,” is very depressing and short-sighted.
This book would have earned a place on my book shelves, until then she mentioned in Chapter 1 the need she feels to reclaim deluded Mormons, who by the way go by the name of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The way she spoke about this made me feel she was discussing cults like Reverend Jones’s of Georgetown or Reverend Sun Yung Moon’s. Then when she was discussing comparative religions she wrote that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was patterned after the religious model of henotheism. Henotheists believe in many gods but worship only one as supreme. Not true for the Latter-day Saints. Her following answers to the meaning of life questions had many misconceptions mixed in with some truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints has the name Jesus Christ in it because He is worshipped as the Son of God, the Creator of the earth. Members believe in His literal existence, His ability to perform miracles, His miraculous Atonement for each person on earth, and His literal resurrection. Heavenly Father’s goal is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. To accomplish this, the Church encourages missionary work to bring souls to Christ. One thing we believe is that all churches have some truth. We invite them to come and receive the rest of the truth God has for them, instead of putting them down and wanting to “reclaim” them.
I wonder if her ideas came from a comparative religion class where all churches may not have been represented by actual members. Perhaps, to get the facts she should have spoken to a few members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that I found much of this book to be interesting and enlightening. I learned a lot and I appreciate that. I was dismayed at her beliefs about Latter-day Saints. Because of this I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.