If the average evangelical in America were to appear on the game show Jeopardy!, they might struggle with a category called “Christian Theology.”
According to recent findings from the State of Theology study conducted by Lifeway Research, a majority of U.S. evangelicals entertain confusion at best and heresy at worst on some of the Bible’s most foundational doctrines. Consider some of these alarming statistics among evangelicals:
- 73% say Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God
- 60% say the Holy Spirit is a force but not a personal being
- 57% agree that “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature”
- 56% say God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
Outside of faithfully preaching the Word, how can church leaders address this doctrinal deficiency that plagues many Christians between Sunday gatherings? We’ve compiled a list of 21 resources that can help churchgoers develop a rich, biblically informed theology. While many pastors’ libraries are adorned with academic textbooks on the following subjects, this list aims to present resources accessible to the average adult, student, and child at your church.
- “Everyday Theology: What You Believe Matters” — This 8-session study focuses on the foundational doctrines of Scripture, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, humanity, salvation, the church, and the end times.
- “The Apostles’ Creed: Together We Believe” — This is a 12-week study that examines truths Christians have confessed for more than 1,600 years. In a culture where truth is presented as fluid and individualistic, this study corrects the narrative, presenting truth that is absolute and communally expressed.
- “He’s Where the Joy Is: Getting to Know the Captivating God of the Trinity” — Research cited above reveals great confusion in the church over the Trinity. This 7-session study not only helps Christians understand the doctrine of the Trinity, but it also evokes delight in believers as they learn what it means to follow a triune God.
- “You Are a Theologian” by J.T. English and Jen Wilken — An upcoming 2023 release, this book presents theology as a subject in which every Christian should be contributing to the conversation. Chapters are presented as questions such as: Who Is God? Who are we? What went wrong? What has God done?
- “Fruitful Theology” by Ronni Kurtz — For some, the word “theology” may evoke images of harsh and prideful social media feuds. This book shows how true Christian theology leads to the cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit.
- “Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary” by J.D. Greear — Many of the doctrinal fallacies revealed in the State of Theology study come from a misunderstanding of the gospel. This book and the one that follows are easy reads that help Christians understand and apply the greatest news of all time.
- “What is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert
Just as important as understanding what you believe is knowing why you believe it. The following three titles are easy-to-use resources that empower Christians to stand firm on their faith, being ready to “give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, CSB).
- “The CBS Apologetics Study Bible” — Also for students
- “Holman Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics”
- “Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel”
Student theology resources
- “Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World” — There’s a spiritual assault facing today’s young people when it comes to embracing a reasoned truth. This resource helps students prepare for life after high school by strengthening their spiritual backbone as they engage a complicated culture.
- “Everyday Theology for Teens” — The same study listed above for adults but adapted to a teen’s level.
- “He’s Where the Joy Is for Teens” — This study and the two devotionals that follow help teens understand and worship the God of the Trinity.
- “Three-In-One: The Unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”
- “Three-In-One: The Unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Teen Girls Devotion”
Kids theology resources
- “Cornerstones: 200 Questions and Answers to Teach Truth” — Any parent knows children love to ask questions. This time-tested method of teaching theology through Q&As helps endow children with a doctrinal database that’s as accessible as recalling their multiplication tables or ABCs.
- Cornerstones On-the-Go Flash Cards to Learn Truth
- “Mama Bear Apologetics” — This parent-to-parent resource helps mothers understand how to help their kids become independent thinkers who can discern truth, reject lies, and stand on God’s Word.
- “The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New” — This book for parents to read to younger children presents Christian doctrine through fun, visual storytelling.
- “CSB Defend Your Faith Bible”
- “Thinking About God” by Alex Early— This Q&A book on theology developed from real-life parent/child conversations releases in 2023. But you can go ahead and put on your calendar or preorder it.
Theology and transformed hearts
The goal of this list isn’t merely to equip saints with the right answers. While understanding truth is essential, Scripture makes it clear that even demons believe certain doctrines (James 2:19). We must pray God uses a proper theology among our people to ignite hearts that are passionate about following Him. May some of these resources serve as kindling for the Holy Spirit’s spark among your people.
This article originally appeared at lifewayresearch.com. For more insights on church and culture and practical ministry helps from Lifeway Research, sign up for their Daily Insights newsletter.