Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tokens of Trust

If you ask me to name the best living contemporary theologian among those that I know and read, I will not hesitate to say that Rowan D. Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, tops the list. Not that I have read all his works and compare him with the other great theologians like W. Pannenberg, J. Moltmann, A. McGrath, and the likes. But he sure has the ability to translate concrete theological discourses into lay-man's term. And not only due to that that I regard him as the best but also his ability and struggle to shoulder the ecclesiastical responsibility, which was laid on him, as true to his theology. No doubt we have many great theologians, but few able to express their theology as wide, as relevant, as publicly noticeable, and as influential as Williams. The most recent example is his latest popular level book Tokens of Trust.

In the book, Williams expounds contemporary issues by illuminating the Apostles' Creed. He wisely navigates through the controversial theological topics without failing to address the main challenges faced by Christian communities today.

He unpacked the deep-seated suspicion attitude that is prevalent among modern people at the beginning of the book. Then he addresses the identity of God, the relation between God's action and the created world which leads to the discussion of miracles, and the sufferings and evils which are one of main objection modern people has against the idea of a good and loving God. He then leads the readers to the discovery of the identity of Jesus within the wider surrounding of his historical context. And the last part is also, I think, the most elaborated part and has the most immediate relevance in the book for the church. Williams shares his theology of the church through concrete examples and fueled with his own experiences as a major ecclesiastical member of his tradition. Through and through, Williams explains the significant of 'trust' in a human-God relationship on one hand, and the trustworthiness of God on the other.

Another worth mentioning feature of the book is the inclusion of paintings and pictures that help to illustrate his points and help the readers to meditate on these issues. The layout of this post is the fruit that I learned from the book. Each pictures illustrate my points :) So much more than a mere apologetic book, it really lives up to its sub-titles as an "introduction to Christian belief" with all the much popularized confusions on this matter in the current world. To those who are more theologically-inclined, I think it is not an over-statement to say that this book is a popular-leveled exposition of the doctrines of Christianity. An excellent book for those who are interested to learn about Christianity, and clear the airway of those who are suffocating academically.


Kar Yong said...

I like it when you put it this way: "clear the airway of those who are suffocating academically."

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kar Yong,

That's the image that I get when I finished reading it. There confusions on doctrines that I personally face and struggle with. It helps one to know which are the main matters and which are to be afforded to be argued by particular groups of highly learned people.

That said, I am not implying that I am suffocating as an academician... but more like suffocating due to excessive inhaling of the mixed gases produced from the ivory tower(s).

Sze Zeng said...
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