Item description for The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians by Erwin Lutzer...
Overview Many in the church seek unity by glossing over major theological differences. Lutzer confronts those differences head-on, seeking to give you a clear understanding of why they exist. His non-combative look at infant baptism, sacraments, the worship of Mary, eternal security, and other divisive issues will help you formulate a fresh biblical perspective on historic doctrines. 247 pages
Publishers Description Christian doctrine is a vital part of the gospel message, but certain doctrinal beliefs have divided the church for centuries. Lutzer examines various controversies that exist within the broad spectrum of Christianity, presenting the historical background of the issue and the biblical understanding of the doctrine. Chapters include "Predestination or Free Will?" "Justification by Faith."
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DR. ERWIN LUTZER has served as senior pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago for over 30 years. A renowned theologian, Dr. Lutzer earned his BTh from Winnipeg Bible College, a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, a MA in philosophy from Loyola University, and an honorary LL.D. from the Simon Greenleaf School of Law. He is an award-winning author and the featured speaker on three radio programs that can be heard on more than 700 radio stations in the United States and around the world. Dr. Lutzer and his wife, Rebecca, live in the Chicago area and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Reviews - What do customers think about Doctrines That Divide?
Doctrines that divide theologians... Jan 3, 2006
The book is very readable and its a good start for folks who are curious on these points. However, I recommend reading other books before you let this author influence your thinking. When I questioned a Lutheran pastor on Martin Luther's views of predestination vs freewill, I got a much different answer. Most of the doctrines that "divide" are not anything that has been taught to me as a practicing Catholic. I always find it interesting when non-Catholics tell me what Catholics believe. How is it that they are better educated in Catholic beliefs than Catholics? I would say the Christian doctrines that we agree on are a better use of my time.
Lutzer doesn't know what he's talking about Jul 24, 2003
The title of this book suggests that it is a careful analysis of the different doctrines dividing the various branches of Christianity. In fact, much of the book is a ham-handed critique of Catholic beliefs. The author is, to judge from this book, rather unqualified for this task. Nearly every time he presents the Catholic position, he either presents a caricature or an untruth. Whether this is out of malice, sloppiness, or ignorance I don't know. Anyone looking to understand the distinctions between different strands of Christianity would do much better to look elsewhere.
If you're looking for something from a Catholic perspective, I'd recommend Peter Kreeft. For a general, classic perspective on Christian faith in general, read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis.
AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL BOOK! Jul 6, 2003
The is one of the finest books I've read for it's scope and size in it's particular genre. I found the book incredibly fascinating in it's thorough coverage of important historical issues regarding church doctrine and theology. Erwin Lutzer is a great communicator who is able to make the history of church doctrine interesting and accessible. I find his style to be light and thought provoking, not heavy and dull. I am reading the book for a third time. What else can I say? Lutzer seems to lean towards a Calvinistic view of scripture concerning Predestination and Free Will, which I believe is largely biblical. Erwin is a clear headed, very bright minded communicator of biblical truth; in my opinion. You will not want to miss this read! I could not recommend a finer book, by a finer author.
If you're going to write a book about Baptist theology... May 24, 2003
...don't place it under the disguise of objectivity! The book misleads the reader into thinking that he/she will get a fair overview of various doctrines that are causing schism (strangely enough he doesn't address Sola Scriptura, quite possibly the #1 cause of schism, but I digress). Instead you'll get the Reformed Baptist position, some mud slinging and guilt-by-association for the other position, then a hasty rebuttal of the opposing position (this was especially the case on the section on baptism, which didn't even review one of the key texts for baptismal regeneration: Acts 22:16).
If you're just getting into theology and agree with the Reformed Baptist perspective of scripture, than you might find this book very interesting and helpful (Lutzer has some cogent arguments in the Christological chapters). But please, don't let the caricatures that he sets up as Catholic theology color your view of Catholics, there are much better defenses of our view points than Lutzer will let on.
Nice Intro, But Don't Expect Much Mar 7, 2002
Erwin Lutzer's book, The Doctrines That Divide, is a nice introduction to Baptist theology with a Calvinist bend. The aim of Lutzer's book is certainly one to be applauded. He hopes that his book will be a catalyst for getting others excited about theology.
He begins his work with the doctrine of the Son, specifically, the divine nature and he human nature. Lutzer briefly examines the historicity of the divinity of Christ. Following, he looks at the humanity of Christ. Both are presented as looking at some of the historical, and sometimes heretical, answers to the questions involved. Lutzer also looks at what the Scriptures say about them.
Following this, he makes his move from Rome to Reformation theology. This consists of looking at the Roman Catholic conception of Mary, the Papacy, justification by faith alone, and the Lord's Supper (Lutzer siding with Calvin).
The next section concerns baptism. Concerning this, he leaves it mostly to the in-house debate. He presents a baptist position and attempts to deal with the paedobaptist position, specifically Reformed view.
Strangely enough, the next chapter concerns how many books are supposed to be in the Bible. I find myself wondering, why is this chapter 8? He deals with Roman Catholicism earlier, and out of nowhere this chapter pops up. It is a most odd thing, but at least he gives nice short summaries in that section (e.g. how do we know which books belond in the bible; what about the Apocrypha; etc.).
The last section is the free will debate. He looks at the historical debate in the church focusing on the historical giants (e.g. Augustine, Wesley, Pelagius, Luther, Erasmus). From this, he sides with the Calvinists. He is helpful on a few points, such as making a case that "foreknowledge" implies an intimate relationship in Scripture. Lastly, he looks at the perserverance of the saints (aka eternal security, once saved always saved, whatever you want to call it).
Concluding remarks: This book is a good book if you don't know much theology at all. If you want a general overview, it is worth the ten bucks. If you already have a Th.M or M.Div, save your money. But Lutzer gets a 4 star because his book does a fairly good job at getting people interested in the debates (or it should!).