website statistics Questions to All Your Answers: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Questions to All Your Answers: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith

Availability: Ready to download

'Jesus is the answer.''God has a perfect plan for your life.''All sins are equal.'Sayings like these may make catchy bumper stickers, but as deep, life-changing truths they fall short. They are the earmarks of 'folk religion'---a badly distorted pop-Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans and resists reflection and examination. Such pat spiritual answers often con 'Jesus is the answer.''God has a perfect plan for your life.''All sins are equal.'Sayings like these may make catchy bumper stickers, but as deep, life-changing truths they fall short. They are the earmarks of 'folk religion'---a badly distorted pop-Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans and resists reflection and examination. Such pat spiritual answers often contain a nugget of truth, but that truth is easily misunderstood and misapplied in ways that do more harm than good.Roger Olson encourages us to reach for a higher and deeper faith. Examining ten prevalent Christian beliefs, he raises questions that encourage us to engage our minds with the Scriptures in order to carefully consider what it is we believe and why. You'll be surprised at what you find. Questions to All Your Answers will help you use the God-given gift of your intellect to sift through glib sayings that sound right to what actually is right---to truth that really can set you and others free.


Compare

'Jesus is the answer.''God has a perfect plan for your life.''All sins are equal.'Sayings like these may make catchy bumper stickers, but as deep, life-changing truths they fall short. They are the earmarks of 'folk religion'---a badly distorted pop-Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans and resists reflection and examination. Such pat spiritual answers often con 'Jesus is the answer.''God has a perfect plan for your life.''All sins are equal.'Sayings like these may make catchy bumper stickers, but as deep, life-changing truths they fall short. They are the earmarks of 'folk religion'---a badly distorted pop-Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans and resists reflection and examination. Such pat spiritual answers often contain a nugget of truth, but that truth is easily misunderstood and misapplied in ways that do more harm than good.Roger Olson encourages us to reach for a higher and deeper faith. Examining ten prevalent Christian beliefs, he raises questions that encourage us to engage our minds with the Scriptures in order to carefully consider what it is we believe and why. You'll be surprised at what you find. Questions to All Your Answers will help you use the God-given gift of your intellect to sift through glib sayings that sound right to what actually is right---to truth that really can set you and others free.

30 review for Questions to All Your Answers: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Martindale

    I am a fan of Roger Olson's blog, I appreciate how, for example, that though he is an Arminian, he doesn't misrepresent what Open Theist believe, and is charitable to those who hold the view. I appreciate that though an evangelical, he has the guts to acknowledge the reality that there are some errors in the bible. Within this book, for the most part I agreed with his challenge of those clichés and conversation stoppers which are so popular within Christian circles. He did a great job deconstruc I am a fan of Roger Olson's blog, I appreciate how, for example, that though he is an Arminian, he doesn't misrepresent what Open Theist believe, and is charitable to those who hold the view. I appreciate that though an evangelical, he has the guts to acknowledge the reality that there are some errors in the bible. Within this book, for the most part I agreed with his challenge of those clichés and conversation stoppers which are so popular within Christian circles. He did a great job deconstruction statements like “God is in control” and “Nothing is impossible for God” and “God has a wonderful plan for your life” and the lazy use of the divine mystery card as a way of accepting contradictions. I was surprised however just how often I disagreed with him when he made more positive statements. He did a great job at questioning many Christian answers, but in doing this, he offered answers of his own, which I often found were questionable. I was surprised that while rightly questioning the rapture doctrine, he reads passages which context show to be about the destruction of the temple, as instead referring to the second coming of Christ. If we acknowledge the context of what Jesus said, though he have signs for when Jerusalem would fall, we have no signs at all concerning when Jesus will return. It seems problematic giving any weight to what Paul or St. John say on the second coming, since both were utterly confident that Jesus was to come back in their life time and were therefore utterly mistaken. I was surprised how Olson seemed totally on board with the Augustine's questionable interpretation of Romans 5; that mankind is born in sin, and that he accepts the doctrine of total depravity hook line and sinker. I thought he was extremely unfair to Pelagianism and Semipelagianism which he considers heresy, he seemed to completely support Augustine's radical and highly out-of-balance views on the matter, that fly in the face of many scriptural themes. While challenging the “God helps those who help themselves” Olson insisted that God's grace is a constant and unchanging source of power for the believer, and made the analogy of a water flowing through a hose. If no water is coming forth, it is not due to the lack of grace, but due to sin which puts a kink in the hose. But here is the problem, what if what one needs is grace in order to deal with the sin that puts the kink in the hose? Few things are more poisonous to my faith, than how it seems God doesn't give any power, will or ability, he sets the standard incredibly high and threatens eternal fire to all who don't fully obey, but then offers nothing; no supernatural strength, no writing his laws on our heart, no motivation. Such has been the main cause of my offense and disappointment with God, I feel utterly needy and dependent upon a God who refuses to lift a finger. When I am weak, I am weak, he offers no strength. When I let go and let God, he lets me fall, it is like there is no God at all. I am forced to try to somehow figure out how to help myself, for he share as hell cannot be trusted. I didn't like that in his challenge of those who think “God is nice” that Olson seem to glibly accept much of what I'd consider to be the evil and all too human portraits that Old Testament writers ascribe to God. If one just accepts a surface reading of much of the OT, God is not only “not nice”, but is down right wicked; one who shows little to absolutely no concern for the value of life, but will kill and ruin families at the drop of the hat. One who constantly complains, has an explosive and violent temper with an extremely short fuse, one who regularly punishes children for their parents sins, and supports an escalation of revenge, one who will command genocide; the slaughter of toddlers, infants, little children and woman because of what their long dead ancestors did 400 years prior, and condemns Saul for failing to be thorough enough in the genocide. One who supports the slave trade, theft, unjust wars of aggression, child sacrifice, etc... etc.... Yes indeed, that God is not nice is the understatement of the year, that is if one just simply accepts the oh so human and worldly portraits of God throughout the OT. One just hopes that maybe however that the enemy embracing love of Jesus upon the cross is a superior revelation and better represents the Father than what the ancient Hebrews portrayed of their tribal, enemy hating warrior deity. I appreciate how he points out that the bible doesn't give us answers for ever aspect of life, and is not best approached as a timeless authority on medicine, science, political and even some ethical issues, yet in acknowledging this reality, what is the basis for the assumption that is it completely infallible on central matters of dogma and doctrine? But yeah, this is getting a bit long. I'll let it rest.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Parker Jennings

    Definitely thought-provoking, and interesting viewpoints. I would recommend it, though it definitely helps to be sympathetic to post-modern Armininiasm. The book was very enlightening, and fun to read! The chapter I have the most trouble with is chapter 10 "Money isn't bad, but only what we do with it." I don't understand how the morally neutral aspect of money, which is needed in order to sustain populations, and church activities, is bad when it is gained in large quantities? I understand that Definitely thought-provoking, and interesting viewpoints. I would recommend it, though it definitely helps to be sympathetic to post-modern Armininiasm. The book was very enlightening, and fun to read! The chapter I have the most trouble with is chapter 10 "Money isn't bad, but only what we do with it." I don't understand how the morally neutral aspect of money, which is needed in order to sustain populations, and church activities, is bad when it is gained in large quantities? I understand that wealth is a drag on spirituality, because it causes people to lose their belief in God and boast of their own great works. Also it contributes to the suffering of the poor, because it takes money away from them. However, if we ask about the wealthy patrons in the Bible, the ones who are shown in a good light for helping the poor and needy, wouldn't the proper approach to the chapter be that those who are wealthy need to give their wealth away, instead of it's just bad to be rich? The desire to accrue money does hinder one's spiritual journey to God, but how are we supposed to proselytize to the rich if they are made to feel threatened for their hoarding of wealth. Does it actually make poor people suffer? I think it does, somewhat. I also think Olson was counting himself out of the "upper-middle classes" and above that constitute the rebuke that the Bible gives towards those who are wealthy. On the plain face of it, Olson believes that the Bible condemns wealth. Jesus did say that with God, all things are possible. And that all of humanity is in total depravity. Not all sins are equal, so those who commit murder may be worse off than those who gain wealth through honest means. In total depravity, does God extend grace and salvation to those who merely accept grace and salvation? Olson believes so, even saying that nowhere in the Bible does it say that only Christians go to heaven. So then, do the rich and powerful go to Hell for their wealth accrual? Judge not, less ye be judged. God allows the rich to give to the poor because that giving is a gift of God that only God allows. All hoarding is resisting God, God freely condones the act of giving. The accrual of wealth then is the individual's resistance to God prodding them to give. I think.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michala

    Thank the Lord for this book! This book was required reading for a class I took and it is one of the (many) reasons I began to examine the things I believed. The Lord used this book to show me to question what I have been taught to believe, and ultimately lead to me draw closer to him as I searched out true answers. Overall, I encourage anyone to read this book. It will help you to examine your faith in such an incredible way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grace Yoder

    A very good book, though I did disagree on a few view points. I would encourage anyone who wants to dip their toes I to theology or deepening their christian ideology to read this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex Hackney

    I was definitely not impressed with this book. For starters, there were a handful of things I saw as problematic - which I will address in a bit. Secondly, this is a simplistic book that is written at a very basic level. I would consider it being fit for high school aged kids. Generally speaking, the reason that books like this one bother me so much is because I fear (a fear that is justified by what I have personally witnessed) that theologically immature Christians will take the ideas presente I was definitely not impressed with this book. For starters, there were a handful of things I saw as problematic - which I will address in a bit. Secondly, this is a simplistic book that is written at a very basic level. I would consider it being fit for high school aged kids. Generally speaking, the reason that books like this one bother me so much is because I fear (a fear that is justified by what I have personally witnessed) that theologically immature Christians will take the ideas presented in this book as truth without examining them (which is ironic seeing as this book is based on the need to critically examine what we believe). I see too many Christians build their theological foundation on a single book - if not a single book, then a few books of the same type which never introduce new ideas. I used to believe that books like this one - those written on a basic level that is accessible to nearly everyone - were a good starting place for individuals who were interested in intellectually exploring Christianity, and in a way I still do believe they are a good starting place (even if they do have their faults). My fear is that this starting place will turn out to be the stopping place as well. When someone builds their theology on one of these books it makes for a very problematic belief system. That being said, I do have some specific issues with this book: In chapter 7 Olson cover matters pertaining to the eschaton. While I completely agree with his reasoning for the ridiculousness of Rapture eschatology (why "Left Behind" should be Left Behind is the way I'd put it), I'm not sold on *all* of his eschatological beliefs. Of course, that's a far too complicated subject for him to cover in limited space. Also, I am not able to give assent to his beliefs about total depravity. Again, here is another difficult doctrine to address but what he did present, I was not sold on. I am not comfortable with how he handles the Eden narrative in relation to original sin and them desiring to be "like God." I think more explanation may clear up some He could have handled the chapter on "Judge Not" a bit better. He mainly tried to define and expound upon the differences between being a Christian and being saved, and good judgement vs. bad judgement. While he claims that American Christians have let our culture shape up to be overly tolerant (that's how I perceived what he was saying), I do not see that reflected in our world today. To quote Joshua S. Porter: "In America the traits most associated with Christianity are homophobia, judgment, condemnation, patriotism, and a militant political agenda." I have a problem with something Orson says: "Christians are called to stand against the culture insofar as it contradicts the gospel." Here's the thing: America is not a Christian nation and it never has been - most likely, it never will be (I'm good with that). We cannot and should not enforce our moral code and religious beliefs onto a secular nation. For instance, fighting against equal rights for non-heterosexual individuals should not be on a Christian's agenda. He also doesn't want non-Christians in church. When addressing (rightly) judging a person (which he defines as good judgment), some form of discipline, he spoke about excommunication, is needed. Because, the "only alternative to church discipline," according to Olson who seems to be limited to different alternatives, is "a mixed assembly of Christians and non-Christians within the church." Going furthur, he claims that "few evangelical want [a mixed assembly]." At this point I'm not sure where he expects non-Christians to be consistently exposed to the gospel. Perhaps he intends for them to learn about Christianity from those judgmental, homophobic, bigots we see screaming all over the media (I'm look at you, Phil Roberston). Not all of his theology was bad and the premise of the book was good. But the execution was poor and the content was found to be lacking. I don't think I'd suggest this to any of my friends to be honest. I am hoping that the other book of his that I intend to read, "Against Calvinism", turns out to be better than this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Roger Olson is a theology professor at Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. In his book, Questions to All Your Answers he takes head on some of the most heard phrases uttered by christians. He breaks them apart and then thrusts questions back on the phrases. Some of the better chapters in the book are called, "Jesus is the Answer - So What is the Question?", "The Bible Has All the Answers - So What About Cloning?", and "Money Isn't Bad, Only What We Do With it - So Why Did Jesus Say Roger Olson is a theology professor at Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. In his book, Questions to All Your Answers he takes head on some of the most heard phrases uttered by christians. He breaks them apart and then thrusts questions back on the phrases. Some of the better chapters in the book are called, "Jesus is the Answer - So What is the Question?", "The Bible Has All the Answers - So What About Cloning?", and "Money Isn't Bad, Only What We Do With it - So Why Did Jesus Say it's Hard for a Rich Man to Enter Heaven?". These entries take you along for a entertaining, humorous but thought-provoking ride. For instance, "Jesus is the Answer" - Olson believes that while not intending this result the preoccupation with WWJD has left many folk christians with a "Jesus Only" theology and have lost the Trinity. At it is at this point that he leans into Eastern Orthodox treasure and pulls out "Trinitarian Life." That from them we can learn that, "...knowing and communing with Jesus is one dimension, however crucial, within a larger spirituality of being taken up into the life of the Trinity and enjoying the fellowship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (pg. 72-73). Of course one of the main problems with this slogan, Jesus is the Answer" is that most people aren't even aware of any need that they have. People, according to Olson, need to know to what questions Jesus is the answer - so therefore we need to start with conversations about music, culture, goals, relationships, world problems - rather than just Jesus is the answer to your problems. One irritating thing about Olson is that he seems to come from an Arminian point of view. Which is fine, but, he clearly takes jabs at non-Arminians (whether they be Calvinists or whomever). He says a lot of good things, but sometimes those things are drowned out by a constant need to elevate his viewpoint over his point. It's a good book, some parts were definitely better than others, but all in all a good one to pick up and read through and be challenged by regarding the phrases that christ-followers can easily throw around.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    The concern driving this book is that far too many contemporary evangelical Christians have succumbed to what sociologists of religion call "folk religion" - more specifically "folk Christianity." It's a badly distorted version of Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans while resisting reflection and examination. This "folk Christianity" too often denigrates the life of the mind and especially critical thinking. It revolves around cute, comfortable, or trite sayings that are found churc The concern driving this book is that far too many contemporary evangelical Christians have succumbed to what sociologists of religion call "folk religion" - more specifically "folk Christianity." It's a badly distorted version of Christianity that thrives on cliches and slogans while resisting reflection and examination. This "folk Christianity" too often denigrates the life of the mind and especially critical thinking. It revolves around cute, comfortable, or trite sayings that are found church signs, bumper stickers, and, most recently, internet stories. All too often contemporary popular Christianity leads people to think that spirituality and hard thinking stand in conflict with one another. This has ultimately reduced Christianity (in most parts of the U.S.) to the social status of astrology - good for a pick-me-up or maybe a little encouragement to do something worthwhile - but left to the margins when it comes to real, substantive input on the issues of life. The antidote: REFLECTIVE CHRISTIANITY (the opposite of folk Christianity) Ultimately reflective Christianity involves questioning what and why you believe while continuing to believe what you are questioning.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brook Warner

    This is a great book for any "evangelical" Christian to read, most especially if they have grown up in the church. The first chapter, which introduces Rogers method and the thesis for the entire book, is outstanding. His critiques and "questions" of various pat answers and empty cliches are great. My only critique would be that (probably due to limitations of the medium, rather than any intent or lack on Rogers part) is that some of his questions are simplistic, and sometimes he strays into provi This is a great book for any "evangelical" Christian to read, most especially if they have grown up in the church. The first chapter, which introduces Rogers method and the thesis for the entire book, is outstanding. His critiques and "questions" of various pat answers and empty cliches are great. My only critique would be that (probably due to limitations of the medium, rather than any intent or lack on Rogers part) is that some of his questions are simplistic, and sometimes he strays into providing answers which then opens him up to his own critiques. I was especially glad with the way that Roger (an excellent Arminian scholar) treated his Calvinist brothers and sisters, although his bias did show through quite strongly (perhaps too strongly?) in some parts. On the whole, a good, easy read and well worth giving to new Christians or people who have grown up in the church. I would also recommend it to any Christian teenager as they approach young adulthood (17+).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    My husband and I are using this book for our Sunday school class. The main theme is for us (as christians) to get back to the basics of what church life/christain life is. The church as a whole should be striving to give the understanding that "the unexamined faith is not worth believing". Church is not so much about things we see or hear about being Christians, such as Pam Anderson's "Jesus is my homeboy T-shirt" or that you should be praying for money with Joel Olsten. No matter what your reli My husband and I are using this book for our Sunday school class. The main theme is for us (as christians) to get back to the basics of what church life/christain life is. The church as a whole should be striving to give the understanding that "the unexamined faith is not worth believing". Church is not so much about things we see or hear about being Christians, such as Pam Anderson's "Jesus is my homeboy T-shirt" or that you should be praying for money with Joel Olsten. No matter what your religious preferenced are this book has something for everyone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stan

    Not light reading! The chapters mainly stand alone, but should be read in order, because by time you get to the end you learn to recognise his pattern of ""development"". Though I think reading the conclusion first would have taken some of the roughness off the earlier chapters. It is an outsanding perspective on how to add some depth and perspective to commonly uttered christian sayings that many treat as unexamined truths. It also gives you a tool or method for future study." Not light reading! The chapters mainly stand alone, but should be read in order, because by time you get to the end you learn to recognise his pattern of ""development"". Though I think reading the conclusion first would have taken some of the roughness off the earlier chapters. It is an outsanding perspective on how to add some depth and perspective to commonly uttered christian sayings that many treat as unexamined truths. It also gives you a tool or method for future study."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Good book. Too often we can skip over the hard parts of being a Christian. We can have what he calls folk religion. In this book he looks at easy answers which do not hold up,under scrutiny to what he calls examined faith..

  12. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    I never finished this, but Olson's approach is excellent. You pretty easily get the point though after about 4 chapters at most. I never finished this, but Olson's approach is excellent. You pretty easily get the point though after about 4 chapters at most.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Charles

    One of the most thought provoking books about theology I have picked up. Moves readers to critically think about many cliche "folk religion" sayings used in today's society. One of the most thought provoking books about theology I have picked up. Moves readers to critically think about many cliche "folk religion" sayings used in today's society.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chet Duke

    This books is enjoyable and deeply useful. Olson critiques the numerous cliches of "folk religion/Christianity" that infiltrate evangelical churches. This books is enjoyable and deeply useful. Olson critiques the numerous cliches of "folk religion/Christianity" that infiltrate evangelical churches.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Lloyd

    Clever idea and title. Weak in parts but overall really enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Partin

    simplistic not well thought-out or argued.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marius Lombaard

    good book. full review will appear on my upcoming site, theology book reviews (www.theologybookreviews.net) good book. full review will appear on my upcoming site, theology book reviews (www.theologybookreviews.net)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  23. 4 out of 5

    James Jones

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dave McNeely

  25. 5 out of 5

    Larry D.

  26. 4 out of 5

    T.C.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Corinna Hogan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steph

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...