RCPC’s Small Groups, which meet at various times and locations during the week, and the Stepping Through the Bible adult Sunday School class, are sharing a focus on the Big Ideas of Christianity. That’s a worthy theme for all of us to explore, and our library has resources to broaden and deepen that effort. Here are a few:
Christian Doctrine by Shirley Guthrie, who was Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. This is a classic, originally published in 1968, as part of the Covenant Life Curriculum series. “This edition reflects changes in the church and society since the publication of the first edition and takes into account new works in Reformed theology, gender references in the Bible, racism, pluralism, ecological developments, and liberation theologies.” - Amazon (Note: for the sake of clarity, Shirley was a man.)
The Book of Confessions, which is Part I of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), contains the official texts of our confessional documents - creeds, confessions, and catechisms.
Calvin’s Institutes, the abridged edition, not the 1,500+ pages of the original, is still challenge enough for anyone who really wants to hunker down with the seminal work of Reformed theology. Quite a bit lighter going would be Calvin for Armchair Theologians, which even includes cartoons!
An Introduction to the Reformed Tradition by John Leith, who taught at what is now Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond for many years, and Presbyterian Beliefs: A Brief Introduction by Donald K. McKim (who also edited the abridged Institutes) are excellent!
For general reading on the Big Ideas, you might try A Concise History of Christian Thought by Tony Lane, Professor of Historical Theology at the London School of Theology, or Theology: The Basics by Alister E. McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College, in London.
If your head is spinning, don’t forget that these are Big Ideas, after all - and stick with the Guthrie book! It was written specifically for regular churchgoers and is especially accessible.