Peter F Jensen
The Life of Faith: An introduction to Christian doctrine
Matthias Media, Sydney, Australia, 2023
ISBN-13: 978-192542479

The Life of Faith 


"Jensen, a former Archbishop of Sydney and principal of Moore Theological College brings a depth and a lifetime of engagement with key issues of Christianity to this work which, make no mistake, is an intellectual and deep read. "

Anglican Dr Peter Jensen is a well-known figure in evangelical circles and for decades has been involved in training Christian leaders in his home base of Sydney and around the world. This highly readable book represents an overview of his theology in which he examines the key concepts which undergird the Christian faith and explain what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. 

Jensen, a former Archbishop of Sydney and principal of Moore Theological College, brings a lifetime of engagement with key issues of Christianity to this work which, make no mistake, is an intellectually rigourous read. In its pages, Jensen covers everything from an exploration of the concept that we may know God and the impact of the New Covenant on our lives through to the role of those in ministry in the church and the Second Coming of Christ.

The work is firmly grounded - and led by - the Bible but it takes a thematic rather than a book-by-book approach. Jensen communicates his thoughts logically, clearly and without apology - and while you may not agree with every position he takes on the Scriptures, the reader is left in no doubt as to what that is without it coming across as overly dogmatic.

The book is broken into three parts and 27 chapters, making it easy, to access his thoughts on a particular subject or, if working through the book from cover-to-cover, to tackle it in bite-sized pieces. And to aid its use as a study device - including by small groups, each of those chapters includes end notes with a key verse, key terrms, a relevant quote from Christian thought, some questions and suggestions for further reading (one commonly referred to text is the Church of England's Thirty-Nine Articlenof Religion which is conveniently included in the back of the text along with the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds). 

The Life of Faith is not exhaustive - and not supposed to be - but rather an overview, each chapter canvassing some of the key issues which come up under the broader theme. And it is peppered with much good advice in approaching the Scriptures along the way, such as that found in the final chapter: "It is extremely important that in areas of Christian doctrine which the world finds unpalatable, we turn to the Scriptures. The world's view may be correct, and we may simply be reflecting old-fashioned worldly views rather than the actual teaching of the Bible. On the other hand, the world and the word of God may be at variance with each other, and we are being challenged to hold the Bible's point of iew by faith despite a hostile culture."

Doctrinal texts can sometimes come across as dry - this is not that, but a text rich in layered thought.

The Life of Faith will be useful for some wanting to engage with the Christian faith for the first time (although it won't be suitable for all) but it is also certainly a helpful read for those who have been Christians for some time to engage, perhaps for the first time, with some of the key elements of the faith as well as those looking to re-engage. 

Spiritual food for thought.