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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
160 pages
Jul 2008
Crossway Books

Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives

by Wendy Horger Alsup

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Review:

Wendy Alsup takes on several preconceived notions at once in her book , and from several perspectives. You may be thinking, “Theology for women? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” Just peruse the Christian blogosphere to see which gender seems to care more about infralapsarianism, and which cares more about making empty tomb crafts out of Pillsbury biscuit dough and a marshmallow for Easter. The truth is, as Ms. Alsup argues early in her book that “many Christians… [view] the Bible as two separate tracks – the simple, practical, everyday application stuff for the average Christian, and another, perhaps higher, level of spiritual study reserved for pastors and seminary graduates.”

In Part One, Alsup argues clearly and simply that the more time women devote to theology (the study of the nature of God), the richer their spiritual lives will be, and thus their relationships with their families and church community. She shows clearly from both the Old and New Testaments that the very essence of saving faith is to “[k]now Him, and then act like you know Him.” In Part Two, she then proceeds to outline some of the major attributes of God, along with sections on how we communicate with Him (prayer) and how He communicates with us (Scripture).

One of the major challenges of any work on the nature of God is how to properly list and describe the various aspects of God’s character, both individually and as those aspects work together. Most books make an attempt to create a kind of structure or list from which they can be ordered and studied, so as not to leave any out. Consequently, anyone who has read other works on theology will note that the structure of Part Two seems somewhat haphazard, with some chapters alternately describing an aspect or aspect of God’s identity (e.g. “God is our Father”) and others describing what God does (“The Spirit Sanctifies Us”). In some chapters, a single attribute is described in detail, while others outline multiple ones, some with only a paragraph or two. Some critical attributes, such as God’s holiness, justice, and love, are strangely absent, as are common theological concepts such as the Trinity. This is certainly not to suggest that Ms. Alsup doesn’t believe that God possesses these qualities, or that they are unimportant! But better editing might have led to a more systematic outline of the various aspects of God’s nature, and to the inclusion of these vital characteristics.

Alsup’s writing style, on the other hand, is clear and engaging. Each chapter includes many helpful stories from both Scripture and her own life, adding richness to the aspects of God’s character she has chosen to highlight. She confidently and unapologetically takes on unpopular concepts, such as the supremacy of Scripture, and defends them biblically and articulately. There are also helpful book recommendations at the end of each chapter that dig deeper into the various areas Alsup covers.

Overall, the lack of more careful structuring, and a number of unexpected omissions keep Practical Theology for Women from being a truly comprehensive introduction to Biblical theology. Nevertheless, women who want to have their spiritual appetites for the deeper things of God whetted will have much to gain from reading it, and will no doubt be spurred on to read other, deeper works on this topic with more confidence and interest. – Rachael Starke, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Book Jacket:

A woman faces many battles. If she is not grounded in her knowledge of God, some battles may threaten to shatter her wavering faith. Alsup exhorts all women to apply what they believe about God in their everyday lives. As they do this, their husbands, homes, and churches will benefit.

Women in evangelical churches believe in God. However, when they are faced with life’s battles—financial problems, job loss, serious illness—they begin to question the God they know. “Can he really provide for my family?” “Can I truly trust him to get me through this crisis?” If such a woman is not grounded in her knowledge of God, the battles she faces threaten to shatter her wavering faith.

Wendy Horger Alsup recognizes such dangers. In Practical Theology for Women, Alsup uses the power of theology to address practical issues in women’s lives. Her book opens with a general discussion of theology and addresses the most fundamental and practical issue of theology: faith. Then she explores the attributes of God the Father, Son, and Spirit from Scripture, concluding with a look at our means of communicating with God—prayer and the Word.

Throughout the book, Alsup exhorts women to apply what they believe about God in their everyday lives. As they do this, their husbands, homes, and churches will benefit.