Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A. Beverly

Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A. Beverly is a voluminous tome that takes time to digest but is an excellent source of well researched material on religions of the world. Mr. Beverly does admit that he is not all knowing and any negative opinions are not done in malice or in any hating of any individual or religion.

In the Introduction Mr. Beverly ten things that he feels are a Christian way to respond to different religions that are not Christian and outlining the basics of the Christian Faith. He also gives ten tests for truth in religion:

  1. The God Test
  2. The Christological Test
  3. The Biblical Test
  4. The Love Test
  5. The Spirit Test
  6. The Freedom Test
  7. The Psychological Test
  8. The Social/Political Test
  9. The Prophetic Test
  10. The Rational Test

I won't go into much detail about each test, suffice to say this provides a good starting ground in determining wether a religion is truly Christian grounded in the Truth. He also describes cults and what constitutes a cult - sometimes the lines are not so clearly drawn in regards to some.

The religions discussed in this book are Baha'i, Branch Davidians, Buddhism, Christian Science, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, The New Age, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Satanism, Sikhism, Unification Church and Witchcraft. Within each religion such as Protestantism there are subdivisions discussed like Adventism, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Baptists, Charismatics, Church of Christ, Emergent Church, Florida Outpouring, Fundamentalism, Kansas City Prophets, Seventh-Day Adventist, Methodists and other denomations within the Protestantism belief system.

Within each is given time lines of that particular religion, websites for further research and learning and other recommended reading. The full colored pictures are accompanied with short descriptions of the picture of the place or person the picture is of. The pictures are a wondeful addition to a book that would feel extra large without them. There are four appendices as well which provide more information:

  1. Religions as Family Traditions
  2. Taoism and Taoism Chart
  3. Introduction to Brainwashing and Deprogramming
  4. Resources on World and New Religions.

This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys theology, study of other religions or just to know why other religions think the way they do. While I am sure this is not all encompassing, as religions constantly shift and change the information contained in this book will enable the Christian to see other religions and understand even if not in agreement with them. I do suggest young children not see this book as there other dieties and images dealing with Satanism which could be scary to some children.

You can find out how to purchase this book by visiting Thomas Nelson's product page.

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