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What is the Point of Being a Christian?

What is the Point of Being a Christian? [Kindle Edition]

Timothy Radcliffe
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Description


This book deserves to be, and indeed must be read ... Radcliffe writes with the essential humility of a man who has lived the Christian life in many different cultures. --James Kelly in Catholic Times, 2007

Product Description

What is the Point of Being a Christian? has been awarded the prestigious Michael Ramsey prize for the best in theological writing. For more information please visit:  

What is the Point of being a Christian? One is pointed to God, who is the point of everything. If one thinks of religion as just 'useful' then one has reduced it to another consumer product. But if we are pointed to God, then this should make a difference to how we live. This is not a moral superiority. Christians are usually no better than anyone else. But the lives of Christians should be marked by some form of hope, freedom, happiness and courage. If they are not then why should anyone believe a word they say? In this new book, Timothy Radcliffe is at his best, writing with a prophetic edge. His argument for Christian belief is profoundly Catholic and profoundly human. But what is just as remarkable, Radcliffe's argument for and interpretation of Christian Gospel is couched in a deep understanding of human nature and the problems and anxieties of modern men and women. Radcliffe is far distant from the theologian's ivory tower and yet his understanding of the Gospel is profoundly theological. The frame of reference for this book is wide, and it is based amongst other things on Fr Radcliffe's pastoral experience of dealing with people with problematic marriages, those struggling with celibacy, those trying to understand the nature of religious authority and those trying to remain loyal to the Church which finds their sexual orientation 'irregular'.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 956 KB
  • Print Length: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum; 1 edition (17 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AYY2RW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #208,134 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Timothy Radcliffe was Master of The Dominican Order. He is the winner of the 2007 Michael Ramsey prize for theological writing for his book What is the Point of Being a Christian? He was the author of The Archbishop of Canterbury`s 2009 Lent Book Why Go to Church? He lives in Oxford but spends much of his year giving retreats, lectures and conference key-note addresses in the UK and overseas.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
116 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 18 Aug 2006
I cannot praise this book highly enough. It opens up the riches of traditions in the church, and allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about how to build on those traditions. There is none of the dogma that one finds with some contemporary Christian writers.

It doesn't sink to the level of answering the superficial questions that people ask, but looks at the person behind those questions, and how they relate to the world. Like any good writer, he compliments the reader by assuming an ability to engage with the text no matter what their education, and anyone reading this will find something to help them.

He is not patronising, but encouraging, and doesn't push the RC line down one's throat. I'm a Methodist, and found that the book spoke to me far more deeply than many other 'protestant' writers.

I would recommend this as a follow-on from someone like McLaren, or CS Lewis, as it continues the open-hearted and open-minded thinking of both authors.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big question, big hearted answer 4 Aug 2009
By Dr. Peter Davies TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I admire authors who set out with a big question, and then bring lots of helpful material together to answer it fully and honestly. To achieve such books successfully usually means that the author has spent most of their life wrestling with a particular question.

In this book Timothy Radcliffe tackles answering his question with a combination of learning, enthusiastic but disciplined passion and many stories and examples. You sense he has a long open hearted experience, which has seen many people and problems. Reading his text it becomes clear that he has not rushed to judgement, nor sought refuge in doctrine, but has sought to understand people and their predicaments.

This is an excellent book that shows exactly what the point of being a Christian is. It is a great book for Christians reflecting on their faith and practice. For those who want to understand more about Christianity and its potential then this book is a good starting point.

It's one of those starting points that we may only recognise fully after some exploration, and as T.S. Elliot says,
"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

My thanks to Timothy Radcliffe for writing this book which will help many of us to know our faith more deeply.
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131 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who thinks that Roman Catholicism is just about preaching a narrow morality would do well to consider the overall message of this book: "God coming to meet us in all the drama of our lives: birth and death, eating and drinking, sex and healing.” Radcliffe is concerned with an inner spiritual life – “breathing with the rhythm of the Eucharist” as he calls it. As is fitting to someone who has been Master of the Catholic Church’s Order of Preachers, he is a great wordsmith, and phrases such as “Grace means we can stretch, stand upright and unwind as we do to prayer the Our Father” rub shoulders with intriguing chapter titles such as “The Body Electric” and “Breeding Pandas.” He cites Rowan Williams with as much ease as he does thirteen-century theologians, and roots his thinking in traditional teaching, in the Gospels. Quirky, humorous, but with a serious set of messages about what really is the point of being a Christian, this is a great book to give focus to a lacklustre Lent or to give colour to the greyer days of the Christian life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speak of what you do not know? 30 July 2009
For a man whose experience of life in all its glory can only be limited by his vow of chastity, Timothy Radcliffe seems to have a profound grasp of passion and human relationships. He mixes a rare insight into the human condition with wit and humour which makes me warm to him a great deal. His Catholic roots appear to have branched into the wider sphere of christian belief and I find him so refreshing it's demolished many a preconception I had of the 'narrow-minded, insular and exclusive' Catholic Church. A most challenging and entertaining book, truly ecumenical and sensitive to the yearnings (both secular and spiritual) within many of us.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
If you are looking for a sensible critique of Christian faith for the 21st century, buy this book! It is full of insights and anecdotes drawn from the author's experience of running the worldwide Roman Catholic Dominican order, as well as just being an ordinary monk. Timothy Radcliffe deals head on with with the ambiguities of being a Christian in this scientific age of lost innocence. How can we be Christians in a world where the Jewish victims of the Holocaust put God on trial and fouind him wanting? What is the right Christian response to people whose lifestyles radically differ from their own? Timothy Radcliffe does not offer a prescription. Instead he suggests approaches to help us work it out for ourselves.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good! 25 July 2008
By Birmingham Book Reader VINE VOICE
What's the point of being a Christian is a very open question. But this book does try and answer it. By reading it we see the Church in all of it's traditions. Which are very important. The person reading is allows to find their own path, to draw their own conclusions about how to build on these traditions and change as people.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian practice today
I am an admirer of Timothy Radcliffe and this book confirms my respect and appreciation for him.
It is faithful, modern and not at all oppressive account of how Christianity... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Iain Torrance
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving yet humorous spiritual book.
I wonderful book written by a man who combines his deep Faith with a style of writing which is accessible to all readers. I hope it brings Faith to those who are wondering.
Published 21 months ago by Ricardo
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read
I am not finished yet but getting a lot from this book. It is best read rather slowly so one can absorb the detail
Published on 23 Nov 2012 by Sally
4.0 out of 5 stars Point taken
I bought this for my daughter a few years ago, and pulled it off her shelf for some Lenten spiritual reading (somewhat belatedly, as I didn't get round to starting it until Easter... Read more
Published on 21 May 2012 by Jeremy Walton
4.0 out of 5 stars What is the point of being a Christian?
There are lots of good reasons for being a Christian, but we should not become one for any of these, not even for eternal life. Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2011 by Leslie Barker
1.0 out of 5 stars What is the point of reading this book?
There are some books (and authors) that I just cannot get into. This was one of them. Not the first book I would give to someone who was hovering on the edge of faith or the second... Read more
Published on 25 July 2011 by Rev. J. P. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think..
This is a fantastic book. So good that, I am writing a short review on our Church website. At times, though, the book can get very deep and sometimes I felt that I could not really... Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2010 by Spark
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I hesitate to give five stars to any book, but in this case it's warranted. I found this a wonderfully warm, humane, sane, witty and compassionate work, to be read and re-read.
Published on 17 July 2009 by Michael Davis
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