Note: I think I was supposed to do this as a blog tour last week, but I have lost all my record of it. So, I am going to go ahead and do it now. Perhaps BethanyHouse Publishers will never again send me a book. Perhaps they will. Either way, easy come, easy go.
Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day is one of three (currently) books in the "Understanding Fill-in-the-Blank in 15 Minutes a Day” series from BethanyHouse Publishers. The first one I have not read, the second one, Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day, is reviewed here.
Note this before continuing: BethanyHouse Publishers sent me a copy of this book so that I would review it. That is the only connection between myself and the company, and the only influence is the insistence that I actually do the review.
The essence of this book is realizing that theology, like any other truly complex subject, is going to take more than 15 minutes a day to really dig into. However, you have to start somewhere. And having read Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and a few other of the “basic-intro level” theology texts out there, I would agree that a lighter load of introductory material is helpful.
So this is, by necessity, a slightly shallower introductory text. If you come to it with that pre-conception, you’ll be in good shape. If you come expecting a fully exhaustive treatment, you will be disappointed. Considering that most theology books are either 3 inches (or more!) thick or are multi-volume, that should not be surprising.
Now, moving into the content that is present:
First, this book presents a basic systematic theology. The material is organized around addressing an orderly set of topics. This begins with a statement of what theology is and then proceeds to how one can know anything about theology. From there, the progression is into an understanding of each person of the Holy Trinity, an examination of angels, eternity, the nature of humanity, salvation, and the church. This is all in a fairly normal order.
Second, this book presents a strongly conservative theology. There is no sense in beating around the bush: Daryl Aaron firmly holds that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. That is his foundation for this text and for his theology, so if you have a differing view of the Bible and his chapter on why the Bible is inerrant does not persuade you, you will have difficulties with the further parts of the text.
Third, this book attempts to present a balanced theology. In examining the chapters on the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Aaron has presented the multiple points of view on each. Baptism includes both the Paedobaptist and Credobaptist views and does not endorse one over the other. The end result of this is mixed: both views are presented concisely and so neither is deeply explained. This is because Aaron is targeting the broadest possible audience in conservative Christianity, and so the book gives equal offense to Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Baptists.
At the low cover price this book has, it looks like a good pick-up for the Christian who wants to approach how they do theology from an organized standpoint. It’s fairly often that we want to say that “we believe what the Bible says” but we don’t take the time to go through and grasp what the full testimony of Scripture about a subject may be. This book will help with that.
I would gladly recommend it.