Cascade Books, 2010
“In the beginning God raised Jesus from the dead.” With these attention-grabbing words, Lendrum MB Church (Edmonton) pastor Michael W. Pahl begins his book, From Resurrection to New Creation: A First Journey in Christian Theology. From the outset, Pahl makes the case that since the resurrection of the crucified Christ was the “ground and centre of earliest Christian theology and practice,” it ought to remain as such for Christians everywhere today.
The book is exactly what its subtitle indicates: an introduction to Christian theology. Any time a work of theology is published, what is left out and undervalued often speaks as loudly as what is included and made of much importance. Of course, no one book can ever say it all, and all the more a book of this size. At only a little over 100 pages, the book’s scope is quite limited compared to most others of the same genre, yet Pahl manages to pack a lot of substance and thought-provoking content into its few pages.
In an interesting twist, Pahl exchanges the typical “heads of doctrine” divisions for chapters entitled Resurrection, Crucifixion, Son, Gospel, Father, Spirit, and Creation. As a result of this type of categorization, Pahl does a great job of producing a narrative sweep that addresses not only the what of Christianity, but also the why.
Included at the beginning and end of each chapter are sets of discussion/reflection questions that help readers map the progress from their already-held notions regarding a topic, to their newly informed (and possibly challenged) understanding.
For these reasons, Pahl’s book would be a worthwhile tool to bring into any small group that seeks to address the ever-important question, “What’s Christianity really all about?” while keeping an eye intently fixed on growing in knowledge of God’s world and Word.