Definitions matter. We need to know what a thing is, where it comes from, what to do with it, and what it might do to us. The more important a thing is, the more imperative it is that we define it correctly.
When you think about it, the unity of the global Christian church depends on a bunch of shared definitions. A Trinitarian God, salvation through Christ, the coming of the Helper Holy Spirit, the arc of history towards a new creation.... these are all components of "Core Christianity" as we can find it in the Scriptures.
Michael Horton has helped us all out by bringing together multiple definitions in one book, putting the core concepts in your hands so you can get them into your head.
He begins by explaining why doctrine is a good word and not a bad one. Doctrine, he says, is born from drama. "God reveals what he is like, not in ivory towers of speculation, but down on the ground in real history. From the throbbing verbs and adverbs of the drama we are given stable nouns.... it is doctrine that tells us what the drama means for us."
And then we're off, exploring the nature of God, the character of God, the origin of Scripture, the role of Scripture, the creation and the curse, covenants and their fulfillment, the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. This book is a fine starting point and/or a handy reference, moving along carefully but quickly and always showing the centricity and supremacy of Christ.
I'm glad I had the chance to add "Core Christianity" to my shelf. We need both kinds of book- the sweeping stories that look at the large curves of God's work in the world, and the precise statements of God-Is, God-Did, and Follow-Him. This book is the latter kind.
Thank you Booklook for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.