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on 2 January 2013
It has always been one of my passions to discuss and communicate theology with clarity and simplicity while avoiding being simplistic. This difficult balancing act is more than achieved by Michael Lloyd in this book.

In some 400-odd pages, Lloyd provides an excellent, sensible overview of evangelical theology, dealing with such central subjects as creation, the fall, providence, incarnation, atonement, resurrection, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the End Times, and the Church.

What I was impressed by was that Lloyd manages, as well as giving a general overview, to make some very interesting arguments that I haven't come across elsewhere in my theological reading.

His chapter on the Fall was the most interesting for me in the book. Here Lloyd tackles some huge issues and tries to explain how the Fall means far more than simply that we are all sinners. It also means that the world is not exactly as how God would have it. For Lloyd this is the basis for dealing with such matters as the problem of evil and why there is so much suffering in the world from both natural disasters and moral evils.

Lloyd also touches on an idea that the fall of Satan occurred prior to the fall of humanity and accounts for death in creation among animal species even before man was created and fell. This allows him to affirm that death is as the result of sin while affirming animal death prior to humanity's fall. Thus he presents a kind of "Gap Theory" for creation.

It is not surprising that this book comes from Alpha course producers. It is an evangelical theology book designed to be read by the modern, thoughtful, 21st century Christian and would be eminently suitable for new Christians who have maybe been through an Alpha or Christianity Explored course and who wants to explore the faith in greater depth.
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on 12 April 2005
First- This is an enjoyable book to read. It is packed with interesting (and often amusing) illustrations and anecdotes. They don't simply entertain, they really do serve to illustrate the subjects covered in this book.
Second - Mike tackles the vital areas of the Christian faith with boldness and integrity, never flinching from difficult issues or hesitating to give bold answers.
In this book Mike works from the big picture (Creation), and explains how a Christian perspective can make sense of the perplexing world we see around us. This leads him through tough territory (suffering, providence) and to look afresh at more familiar ground too ... (The incarnation, atonement, the Spirit etc.)
I would recommend this book to
- people who have been following Christ for a while and want to freshen up their faith and are prepared to think about what they believe. (It would surprise me if Mike doesn't succeed in making most of us rethink issues along the way.)
- Church Pastors who are looking for a book to recommend to their small groups to study.
- people who are enquiring about Christianity who want something both enjoyable to read and substantial in content. This book could play the part in our generation that C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity did when it first came out. It could sit alongside Lee Strobel's the Case for Christ and be given to people who have alread read Nicky Gumbel's Questions of Life.
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on 1 July 2011
There are some books that we read that have us tingling inside because the prose so closely presents our "lived reality". This is just such a book. Having read the whole canon of the new atheists who seem to feel qualified to tell me what I believe about the world, I sometimes want to scream and say, "but I just don't believe in the kind of world you are describing". Mike Lloyd's book is the perfect antidote to this. Not only is it gentle, warm and witty but it is written by someone who knows theology at an academic level.

I feel much more human after reading this book.

Listen to Mike on Godpod as well - I think he's great! (and I'm not his mum)
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on 22 July 2006
No, this isn't a Christian analysis of the rise of Starbucks. It's a book about Christianity that Michael Lloyd has written at the level of an everyday chat or discussion that you might have over a cup of coffee. It's got that feel. Michael Lloyd is an Anglican Priest and Theology Lecturer, but also a great communicator who can reveal truths through Monty Python Sketches and Pope and the Chief Rabbi Jokes. I'd love to have a few coffees, or pints with him while discussing the finer points of the Christian Faith.

This is a book that really will suit people who have never been to church, or whose only memories of church are of deathly boring sermons, this is nothing like them. At the same time, as an active Christian who has been exploring my faith for 30 years, I still found myself getting new insights on key points while reading the book.

The 10 chapters take us through the basic shape of the Christian Faith: Creation, Fall, Providence (how God's will & our will fit together), Incarnation (God becoming man as Jesus), Atonement (what Jesus dying for us means), Resurrection and Ascension, The Holy Spirit, The Trinity, The Final Victory of God, The Church. If anything this is a better book that C.S.Lewis' Mere Christianity and a more approachable book than Tom Wright's Simply Christian published in February 2006.

Michael Lloyd pulls off the trick of putting forward a shared understanding of Christianity that most Christians recognise as their own. People worried that anything with the `Alpha' brand name on it will have a `Charismatic - Light' flavour to it can rest assured that this is not the case. Radical Dispensationalists won't like everything said about the Kingdom & Reformed Christians may feel that God's sovereignty is not stressed sufficiently (I have some feelings on that score about the Providence chapter). Anyone who didn't understand what I was talking about in those last few sentences doesn't need to worry, what's on offer here is the mainstream message of Christianity.
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on 29 May 2013
After reading it myself, I have bought this book as a gift for the young adults who are leaving the Bible Class and moving on to university and work. It really provokes discussion and addresses many of the questions and difficult topics that come up in life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has questions about God, and lets face it who doesn't.
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on 17 March 2008
This is a thick, dense book but full of flavour. You cannot consume it all at one sitting, but it is, like a good desert, moreish. What I enjoyed about it was the thorough referencing and the additional reading lists so that if you get stuck on a point or want to go deeper into something you can. The style is best described as an eclectic mix of flowing prose and witty observations about the absurdities of life. For me it was a good mix of the serious and amusing, with anecdotes always marshalled well to illustrate points raised. I particularly appreciated the very obvious pastoral heart that lies behind the theology that Michael shares. It betrays a great love for people and a deep understanding of the human condition. I heartily recommend it.
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on 27 September 2013
An excellent book recommended for every thinking person, young or old, which will help to dispel and challenge any dawkins delusion
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on 21 December 2014
Meant to read this a while ago but finally got round to it. Really enjoyed it and explored a number of issues which were not considered by me before. Will read again in a few months, it's that helpful!
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on 22 March 2014
What an excellent piece of literature and a useful teaching aid. Some of the words are incredible and the section on the difficult subject of the Trinity concept is fantastic.
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on 28 March 2014
A good, easily understandable book on key Christian concepts. Written in an accessible way without ducking the complexity of some of the issues covered.
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