If you want to know what “heart Christianity” is or to understand what will without a doubt describe one as an Evangelical read The Evangelical Experience by Anthony Coleman. Written under a pen name, this book is an interesting mix of a scholarly article and memoir. Although short, it consists of three uneven parts. The first part is the largest and deals with the core beliefs and tenets of Evangelicalism. The author also provides here a historical background into Evangelical’s movement development. Undoubtedly, the author’s B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies and a M.A. in Theological Studies helped him in his explanation of the Evangelical doctrine. The book’s precise and laconic language works great in describing the most important aspects of Evangelical interpretation of Scripture and its ethics. The most theologically influential for Evangelicals books, professional Evangelical theologians and biblical scholars, the theological diversity in Evangelicalism, ways of salvation are briefly discussed in this part, as well. The author gives a fair, unprejudiced observation of one of America’s largest religious movement and proceeds to his personal experience with it.
“It’s one thing to be able to explain a doctrine theoretically. It’s another thing to accept the doctrine and live it.”
Being born in a “nominal” (as he calls it) Christian family, the author became a fervent believer in his high school years. He was certain that his purpose in life was in the God’s service. With much eagerness, he started his theological training in an Evangelical university. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm didn’t last. Moreover, the author’s intensive studies and work with diverse communities of people brought to the surface such doubts that led to dramatic changes in his life: he left his faith. Surely, this wasn’t what the author hoped or looked for. However, there is no anger or resentment in his honest account on this life-changing crisis. The author’s positive attitude toward such a shocking and unpredictable traumatic experience is appealing. You’ll be curious to learn about the way he worked his way through this painful occurrence. To the most people this book could be educational; to many others it may be helpful. The concrete Biblical quotations help to understand the author’s point of view and it’s easy to sympathize with him.
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