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Know Your Faith by Nels F. S. Ferré


Dr. Ferré was for many years Abbot Professor of Christian Theology at Andover Newton Theological School. Published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1959. Copyright 1959 by Nels F.S. Ferré. This material prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


Preface
This book is an attempt to make theology more available to the general public. Ferré says, "No book has caused me more pain of authorship than this one... If harder writing makes for easier reading, without forfeit of content, the pain is worth while."

Chapter 1: By What Authority?
Authority is found in experience, the Bible, and the church, but these are all in the world. The Holy Spirit is beyond it. Christ as the Godman is both in and beyond the world. Only when the Holy Spirit can draw from "the things of Christ," using the channels of experience, the Bible, and the church, can we find that authority of the Christian faith which is truly of God, ever beyond the world, and yet also truly in the world for man.

Chapter 2: The Son of His Love
Christ rightly interpreted is the Word of God’s eternal love become historic, of God’s universal love become personal. Can anything be more universal; can anything be more needed? Here we have the answer to Judaism, to Islam, to Baha’i. Christ can be and has been falsely interpreted so as to block communication, but he can and should be understood in such a way that an open, concerned community is created.

Chapter 3: To Mature Manhood
Is man good or bad? God made man good. This is his essential nature. Man’s fallen nature is not his real nature, but only the actual condition of his nature. What does it mean that man was created in the image of God? God is infinite and perfect Love. Man is finite, made for love. The image is absolute; the conscience is relative. Man himself lives in the conflict of the perfect and the sinful, the unconditional and the conditional.

Chapte 4: Grace Abounding
The meaning of sin, salvation, and sanctification: Sin is our deliberate act of faithlessness and rebellion. Salvation means getting right with God, and such a state alone can give man full satisfaction. The indwelling presence of God as Holy Spirit at work in life is called sanctification. To sanctify means "to make holy." God saves us by making us holy.

Chapter 5: "And the Life Everlasting"
Three concepts of "Life Everlasting" are discussed: 1. Eternity as a quality of life is participation without the right of duration, in the case of man, in the life everlasting; 2. Life as a continual stream of choices and consequences, of living and dying, of repeated reincarnations in this world; 3. God reawakens us to life after death in another realm beyond this earthly existence. The final outcome is in God’s hands. We can trust him for the best result possible.

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