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Crisis of Confidence | Book Review



book cover crisis of confidence by carl trueman introducing book review

These days it seems you hear it everywhere, "you do you" or references to "your truth." For Christians, this isn't exactly a thing because there is a truth we hold to, a set of beliefs, a holy Word.


So, if you'd be asked to summarize what you believe, what would you say?


How did you come up with your answer?


In Crisis of Confidence: Reclaiming the Historic Fatih in a Culture Consumed with Individualism and Identity author Carl Trueman takes us through the value and relevance of creeds and confessions for our church life today. Culture forms how we think, and that will include how and what we believe as core doctrines of our faith.


So let's review the content of the book and a few thoughts.


book cover Crisis of Confidence by Carl Trueman

Crisis of Confidence | Book Review

Content


quote from crisis of confidence by carl trueman

Content

Purpose of the Book

The author writes this to detail the value of historic creeds and confessions for all believers and that they are necessary for the wellbeing of the church.  


Table of Contents

Introduction

 

Chapter 1: The Cultural Case against Creeds and Confessions

Chapter 2: The Foundations of Creedalism

Chapter 3: The Early Church

Chapter 4: Classical Protestant Confessions

Chapter 5: Confession as Praise

Chapter 6: On the Usefulness of Creeds and Confessions

 

Conclusion


Summary

In the first two chapters, the author addresses problems he commonly hears from evangelicals against creeds and confessions—a main one being the idea that there’s no creed but the bible. He shows how our cultural values of expressive individualism heavily influence these reasons.

Next he teaches how early church creeds focus on the building blocks of the faith, which keep us from being swept away in cultural currents. He goes through the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed as well as the first ecumenical councils to give us an understanding of the historical setting and early church debates. As well as a handful of protestant confessions.


Lastly, he shows us how the creeds invite and shape our worship, and how they are useful to the church today.


quote from crisis of confidence by carl trueman

My Take

The first time I learned the Apostle’s Creed, it was in Swahili. Well, I guess we truly had to understand it in English first. I grew up in a non-confessional church, the other churches locally I’d been to also hadn’t involved these in their worship services either. So when we joined a training team overseas, our education was not only in culture and language, but we also had theological work to do as well.


This creed became increasingly relevant, particularly because we began sharing the gospel in a new cultural context. The creed gave us language to use as we taught about the Christian faith. I began to read more about the creeds and church history to understand what was going on during these times as the church took shape after the apostles.


As we had children and began homeschooling, the resources I ran into often involved a catechism, and I found this worked well as I learned alongside them. 


One way I’ve found the creeds and confessions helpful in my own life is in developing a theology of suffering. In my younger years I had not yet known the sharpness of pain and struggle as I do now. Yet, learning and growing deeper in my knowledge of God, in understanding the doctrines of who he is, of salvation and redemption, of the person and work of Christ, gave me the compass to direct my path in the storms of life. I could say along with the apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim 1:9). In the acute distress of suffering I knew my God, I knew his Word and the gospel and by his grace he held me there and led me through.


This is how theology became important to me, because it makes a difference in our daily lives: The words we speak, the things we do, and the choices we make. Even more now as we disciple our kids in the faith, to equip them with truth in a culture where Christian beliefs are maligned. 


*In a spur of the moment idea, I was wondering if I could remember the Swahili version, so here it is as best I remember, so the grammar might be sketchy, but in comparing to the English it should all be there: 


Namwamini Mungu Baba Mwenyezi, Muumba wa mbingu na nchi

Na Yesu Kriso Mwana wake wa pekee, Bwana wetu,

Aliyechukuliwa mimba kwa Roho Mtakatifu, akazaliwa na bikira Miriamu,

Akateswa zamani za Pontio Pilato, akasulibiwa, akafa, akazikwa,

akashuka mahali pa wafu, siku ya tatu akafufuka, akapandwa mbinguni

anakaa kwa mukono wa kuume wa Mungu,Baba Mwenyezi,

 atakuja tena kuwahukumu watu wa hai na wafu.

Ninamwamini Roho Mutakatifu, Kanisa takatifu lililomoja,

ushirika wa watakatifu, ondoleo la dhambi, ufufuko wa mwili,

na uzima wa milele.  Amina 


quote from crisis of confidence by carl trueman

My Recommendation

I really enjoyed reading one of the author’s previous books, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He’s a professor of church history and pastor of a presbyterian church. His writing leans on the academic side.


This title will be for you if you come from a non confessional background (which is majority in the area where I live) or if you have an interest in the historical creeds and confessions and want to gain a better understanding of why they are important and relevant for us today, particularly as the cultural trends steers us away from the value of history and tradition.


(I read this as part of the 2024 VT Reading Challenge - a book published in 2024)


quote from crisis of confidence by carl trueman

Quick Stats

# of Pages: 216

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

My Rating: 5 stars


WATCH: Why Would Evangelicals be Suspicious of Creeds?

Here's a short clip from the author, Carl Trueman's interview on the Guilt Grace Gratitude podcast on why evangelicals approach the creeds with a degree of suspicion.




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Scriptures About Doctrine

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.(Tit. 1:9)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16)
Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. (Heb. 13:9)
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Rom. 16:17)
So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph. 4:14)
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 4:16)
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)

Follow Along




*A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and for the opportunity to post an honest review

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