In the spirit of nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill's admonition to "fully, frequently, and fearlessly" discuss what we profess to be true in order that it remain a "living truth" rather than dead dogma, Thomas P. Rausch gives us I Believe in God: A Reflection on the Apostles' Creed. Rausch carefully explores the controversies that led to the development of the Creed and thereby brings the Creed to life for modern readers. More important, he maintains that the Creed is most fully alive when those who profess it do so as a personal response to their baptismal call.
I Believe in God carefully unpacks the three articles of the Creed but does so always with an eye and heart toward communion with God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As baptized Christians, to profess the Creed is to be committed to enter more deeply into this trinitarian relationship and thus more fully into communion with one another. Rausch clearly shows that the Apostles' Creed is grounded in Scripture, first came to expression in the church's baptismal liturgy, and can be better understood in light of contemporary theological reflection. Attentive to the ways in which the language of the Creed is relevant to the experience of twenty-first-century Christians, he leads us to understand what Pope Benedict meant when he said the Creed is "a tiny summa in which everything essential is expressed." With Rausch's guidance, readers will confess those essentials with greater conviction and appreciation.
Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, is the T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is the author of Being Catholic in a Culture of Choice, Towards a Truly Catholic Church, Who is Jesus?, Catholicism in the Third Millennium, and editor of the bestselling The College Student’s Introduction to Theology, all published by Liturgical Press.
This book is a welcome contribution by a widely respected author, a timely re-reading of the timeless heart of the Christian faith. In an accessible style, Thomas P. Rausch presents an important account of the heart of Christian doctrine from a Catholic perspective, taking seriously the skepticism of our age, as well as the subtle trends toward religious consumerism new forms of Gnosticism present in contemporary North American culture. His presentation of the creed pays careful attention to many popular and competing interpretations of Christian doctrine, weighing them against the biblical and historical sources of the Christian tradition, considered in light of the best of contemporary scholarship. This work will serve as a challenging introduction to Catholic belief and the study of theology, and as a rich resource for deepening adult faith.
Catherine E. Clifford, PhD, Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario
With his trademark clarity, accessibility, and depth, Rausch helps us understand the essentials of our Christian faith in a church and world marked by polarization and conflict. I cannot think of any other book of this genre that probes with greater acumen and pastoral sensitivity the challenges that face Christianity, especially the American Catholic Church, today and retrieves from the old treasure of the Creed new insights to help us understand and live our Christian faith. Once more, we are in debt to Thomas Rausch for this rare theological gem. I most enthusiastically recommend this book for undergraduate classes and continuing education courses.
Dr. Peter C. Phan, Ignacio Ellacuria, Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
There is no better way to know what Catholics believe and why they believe it than to explore-line by line-the central affirmations of the faith. The ease with which Thomas Rausch unlaces the ancient language of the Creed for rank and file believers is truly edifying, indeed astonishing. I know of no finer study of the basics of Catholic faith than Rausch on the Creed.
Michael Downey, Cardinal's Theologian, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
If the Creed has become a rote recitation, this book will certainly give readers a new and deep appreciation of what is professed at each Sunday eucharist. In an `often polarized church,' the Creed is a point of common ground for Catholics as well as for all Christians.
I Believe in God is a well-researched and well-written primer on the fundamentals of Catholic theology. It would make a fine textbook at the undergraduate and graduate levels of college and in adult formation settings.
Catholic Books Review
This is a most helpful book, probing the meaning of each of the segments of the Apostles' Creed. . . . The Clarity of this work, its compact size, and its awareness of contemporary perspectives make it the kind of resource that would be instructive for any thoughtful Catholic or anyone seeking faith.
The Bible Today
Rausch's theological introduction to the Christian faith professed in the Apostles' Creed expertly paves the way for his readers to enter into a deeper relationship with their Catholic faith. He also prepares them for further enrichment of their faith commitment through exposure to other theological resources-like the writings of Benedict XVI-which will continue to guide them to live out their faith passionately in the contemporary world.
Thomas Rausch, like the good householder of the Gospel, brings forth old things and new. His exposition of the Apostles' Creed reveals both the perennial power latent in that ancient text as well as contemporary resources for recovering that power. This book is a crisply intelligent meditation of the faith of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien, Professor of Theology, The University of Notre Dame
I Believe in God uses the Apostles' Creed as its organizing tool for an insightful tour of a broad range of basic Catholic teachings. It can serve as text for college classes, catechumenate groups, adult parish discussions, or individuals wanting to keep up. Fr. Rausch writes in his usual clear and engaging manner to give his readers an accessible introduction to topics of substance and depth.
Dennis M. Doyle, Religious Studies, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio