book response: The Quest for the Creed by Longenecker (2012)

Sometimes, when I drive to work, that familiar route is driven by my subconscious auto-pilot and I'm not even aware of the scenery. It's as if I teleported from my house. The same thing happens to those of us who use the Lord's Prayer or the Apostles Creed regularly. These are gifts to aid us in worship, to get us from earth to heaven, but the familiarity with them actually hinders their utility. Father Dwight Longenecker invites us to look at the scenery in the Apostles Creed behind every phrase. The tour guide makes the difference on the tour, and he is a rambunctious, hilarious docent who brings the creed to life.

How can you not expect a fun ride from a guy who graduated from Bob Jones University then became an Anglican priest and is now a Roman Catholic priest. He knows how to make fun of himself and fellow believers and church while keeping all his love and devotion to God. I enjoyed his presentation of church history as it relates to one line of the creed, "...who was conceived by the Holy Spirit...", with a chapter titled Arians, Apollinarians and One Eyed Pirates. He manages to talk about Jesus as fully God and fully man without bogging down in the theological terms. He refers to the Arians and Apollinarians as pirates. "The truth, therefore, is always stereoscopic. Error, on the other hand, has single vision. That is why pirates always wear eye patches." p.56 He continues, "In other words, if I am seeing like a pirate, I may end up behaving like a pirate." p. 57 He draws out the impact on the world of the incarnation. "Christianity was revolutionary because it taught that in Jesus Christ there was a stunning new relationship between all things visible and invisible." p.59 He also shows the impact on the Christian's life. "Through the reconciliation of heaven and earth, the Christian constantly realizes that the spiritual and the physical are intertwined. It is as if the heavenly lady and the earthly gentleman were forever spinning like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers." p. 60 His words zoom out cosmically and zoom into his own heart in one sentence. "As it conceived a fusion of earth and heaven in the godman, so the same Spirit writhes and wrestles to reconcile earth and heaven in me." p.61

I have many underlines and notes in this book. Sometimes I disagree with him, but usually I am emotionally moved. Longenecker knows Jesus loves him. He wants his readers to know that profoundly as well.

I received this book for free in exchange for this review from Speakeasy.

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