Being Christian
Rowan Williams, SPCK, 2014

£7.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer. ‘What are the essential elements of the Christian life? … those simple and recognisable things that make you realize that you are part of a Christian community. This little book is designed to help you think about four of the most obvious of these things: baptism, Bible, Eucharist and prayer.

What do you get and how?

Compact book of 4 chapters with 3 questions at the end of each. 30 minute discussion perhaps, depending on the group.

Who is it for?

Adult, beginners, enquirers.


Amazon: £6.39; Kindle £4.79; SPCK £7.99


  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Well-produced compact book with attractive cover and good font size.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Not a focus but aims examine four of the ‘essential elements of Christian life'.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    This is a read-a-chapter-in-advance book, with 3 discussion questions at the end of each chapter. A few subtitles but mostly straight text. No other material. Clear and penetrating questions which could galvanise good discussion.

    Who could lead it?

    Someone used to leading groups, who could use this as the discussion time and build other group-meeting elements around it.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Book advertised as both ‘elegant and lucid', ‘With clarity, depth and simplicity ... takes us into the heart of what it means to be Christian.' Short chapter to read before session. A highlighter pen would be good to use – other questions may naturally arise in addition to those asked.

    How good is any digital material?


    How much prep will I have to do?

    Read chapter and decide how to build material into a group meeting.

    Is there website support? Links?


    Is it dated?


  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Discussion questions are there but the rest is up to the leader.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Reading and discussion only. Deals with big theological concepts in an accessible way for the general reader.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Group needs to be comfortable with reading and discussion. Style and concepts accessible but still demanding.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Up to the leader

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Topic-based, with introductory, illustrative passage. Biblical illustrations along the way.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Integral to discussion.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Basis for discussion.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Anglican. Relevant particularly to chapter on the Eucharist, but general approach is generous, broad and window-opening rather than dogmatic.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Discussion around the four big Christian elements of Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer, building into a wide contemplation of the implications of these.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Thought-provoking from a deeply thought-through perspective.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Implications of the four elements are developed both broadly and deeply.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Real about the challenges of life, and living as a Christian, in an overall rather than specific way.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Implicit but not a focus.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Implicit in encouragement to connect widely with humanity in general.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Theological basis for this.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Implicit but not a focus.

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