Monday, December 21, 2015

Exploring Catholic Theology (Baker Academic)

Bishop Robert Barron has been credited with teaching many Catholics worldwide the basics of their faith. He has done this through his ever popular series Catholicism. However, to say that is the extent of his work would sell him short, as he is responsible for numerous study programs and books that dive deeper into the Catholic faith and explore some of the more heady ideas of the Church. In one of his latest books, Exploring Catholic Theology, Bishop Barron presents us with essays on subjects of God, Theology, Liturgy, and The New Evangelization.

Exploring Catholic Theology contains fifteen essays by Bishop Robert Barron, which have either been previously published in academic journals or given as lectures. By combining them in one book, Barron hopes to "provide a framework to help Christians think through some of the most pressing issues of our time." The first part tackles the doctrine of God by drawing from such great minds as Augustine and Aquinas and a chapter on the Trinity with Irenaeus as our guide.. Part Two begins with reflections on the Catholic intellectual tradition, a heady subject to say the least. We also see a lot of John Henry Newman in this section of the book. Lastly, there is a chapter on Biblical interpretation with Irenaeus once again showing us the way. Part Three is all about the Eucharist and Part Four focuses on the hot topic among Catholics of this day and age - The New Evangelization.

I especially enjoyed the chapter on Biblical interpretation. Barron tells us the way in which Irenaeus interpreted Scripture. He believed that God is the divine author; the Bible is like a symphony in that it is consistent with itself; and lastly, God's words should speak to us in the present. As fascinating as this chapter was, I still believe Part Four to contain the most important chapters in this book. It is in these chapters that we learn both why and how we need to evangelize the people and the culture around us. As great as the first eleven chapters/essays are, they will be all for naught, if we cannot find a way to spread the Good News to the people who don't already know Jesus. Barron understands this as well as anyone, as he has made bringing people to the Truth of Jesus one of his most important life's missions.

Exploring Catholic Theology is a challenging and engaging work on relevant issues in today's world. He draws from both Scripture and tradition to present the reader with essays that proclaim the Gospel in a society that is doing all it can to avoid the Gospel. I recommend this book for students, teachers, pastors, priests, and any other Catholic who is looking for a taste of theology beyond the basics.

This book was provided to me for free by Baker Academic in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!