Decide for Yourself
Today, an oldie but a goodie. I picked up Decide for Yourself about ten years ago, and I can not tell you how helpful I have found it. What this book does is go through many of the major doctrines of our faith and explains some of the varying opinions people hold and/or have held over the years. Then, the author lists out the Scripture references associated with each of the various positions asking questions intended to provoke discussion and insight into that topic, so each person can "decide for themselves" what they believe the Bible to be teaching about these doctrines.
I have used this book in personal study as well as in group study situations, for groups of teens and groups of adults. This book has been a valuable resource for me.
Some of the doctrinal subjects Decide for Yourself covers are the atonement, what is God like, the inspiration of Scripture, the person and work of the Spirit, and what happens after death.
What the book does is open each of the 24 chapters with the background of what the belief is and means, states what the problem is or has been, lists the procedure for "deciding for yourself" by asking questions and listing Scripture to dig into, then encourages readers to write down their own conclusion tot he matter and then offers some follow up questions to the study.
For instance, chapter 8 looks into the will and providence of God. The author lists the differing opinions from Deists, Pantheists (and some liberals), religious existentialists and neo-orthodox theologians, and finally orthodox Christians. Then the problem is stated - How should we think of God's relation to the world of nature and human history? Which views merit your assent. Next questions are qsked and paired with Scripture to draw out insight. Does God overrule evil to accomplish good? (Ge, 45.5; Ps. 76.10; Rom. 8.28; etc.). How does God's providential agency relate to the evil acts of men? (1 Cor. 4.7; Phil. 4.13; Jas. 1.17, etc.). Readers are then encouraged to memorize Ephesians 1.11 and write out their own conclusion. Last, readers look at the significance and answer some questions, including "Why do you think this teaching so often seems offensive rather than comforting?"
Overall, whether you work for a church, lead a ministry in the church or just have questions about faith, ths is an extremely helpful book.