Thursday, 4 August 2016

Why Christianity Makes Sense - a book review post

When John Pritchard was Bishop of Oxford he wrote a book called, 'Ten: Why Christianity makes sense', published by SPCK in 2014.

After decades of explaining Christian faith to others, this book is the result of a sabbatical when he clarified in his mind some core things he believes about God and key things he has learned about Christian faith. The result is an easy to read book about why and how Christianity makes sense for him.

I write this on the 3rd of 7 days of the Pro-Blogging Challenge. Today's challenge is to write a review post. As I love books and reading the obvious way for me to respond is to write a book review. I hesitated when choosing John Pritchard's book 'Ten: Why Christianity makes sense' when I re-read a comment he wrote in my author-signed copy,
"Be generous when you mark this out of 10!"
I will not be giving marks out of 10 but I am enthusiastic about this book. I think it succeeds in working as the author intended:
"I hope it's the kind of book that encourages Christians to recognize the contours of their own faith, and also one they can put into the hands of friends and say, 'See if that kind of faith makes sense.' " (page viii)
The title is 'Ten' with the sub-title ''Why Christianity Makes Sense'. The 'Ten' is simply a device to structure each of the short chapters. Each chapter can stand alone, so the book can be read in any order or dipped in and out of according to the interests of the reader. Most chapters have 10 points, a story and suggestions for 'taking it further'. I tend to look at chapter headings before deciding whether to buy a book like this. To help you decide here they are:

  1. 10 problems people have with faith
  2. 10 things I believe about God
  3. 10 things I don't believe about God
  4. 10 words of wisdom
  5. 10 reasons to believe in God
  6. 10 beliefs about science and religion
  7. 10 Bible passages that tell the whole story
  8. 10 key beliefs about Jesus
  9. 10 reasons why Christianity is so long lasting
  10. 10 Commandments for today
  11. 10 clich├ęs to avoid
  12. 10 ways to pray
  13. 10 sustaining gprayers
  14. 10 ways to enliven your faith
  15. 10 values for tomorrow's Church
  16. 10 lessons learned
  17. 10 reasons to procrastinate about faith

In spite of this long list of chapters this is a slim paperback book, only 148 pages so potentially quick to read, or would be if it did not contain ideas that make you stop and think. The final chapter only has a heading followed by a couple of blank pages for the reader to list '10 reasons to procrastinate about faith'. What an interesting and courteous way to end. It is inconclusive. It is for the reader to complete the story.


John Pritchard has a gift for expressing profound ideas in simple accessible language that avoids theological jargon and does not assume the reader is well educated in Christian faith. At the same time his style is neither patronising nor manipulative. The whole book reads as a generous invitation to explore Christianity further, but leaves the thoughtful reader free to take it or leave it. 

This is a book to read

  • if you are interested in Christianity or the person of Jesus but have been put off by what Christians seem to believe
  • if you are not sure the Christian faith you have held makes sense to you any more
  • if you would like a short refresher course in Christian basics but without the jargon
  • if you would like to grow in Christian faith and need some help

Have I whetted your appetite? Then take a look at this book.


Image Credit: own photo of the book's front cover

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