From the ever changing stack of books on my nightstand, I am not sure you could figure out what I like. Among the devotions books, the historical fiction, the biographies and the Apologetics, you might find a legal thriller, romance or even a book about Dinosaurs in the Garden. With four kids, getting older every day, I am constantly trying to choose books that satisfy my hunger for knowledge and entertainment, but I am also longing for books I can share or pass along to them, which will strengthen their faith.
My latest find was Four Letter Words, by Bill Giovannetti. I am not sure what exactly peaked my curiosity and caused me to request this book, but I am sure glad I did. I was hoping this book would be a great tool to use with my oldest, almost 11, to help him get an early and gentle grasp of Apologetics. I want to make sure that my kids are grounded in “their” faith, not mine, and that they can understand and defend it. Those two goals are lofty ones at best!
When I started with Four Letter Words, honestly I was a little slow with it. Sometimes I like to slowly savor the words of certain authors so that my mind has time to really process it. I find that if I fly through a book, a few weeks later I can only tell you if I liked it, and not much else. With a book like Four Letter Words, I think you will want to slowly move through it. There is so much great information that you want to allow that information to really take root in your mind, so you can call upon that knowledge in the future.
In ten chapters, Mr. Giovannetti covers topics such as truth [True], knowledge [Know], suffering [Pain], and also [Evil] – these topics are all topics we wrestle with, but seeing how people of other faiths wrestle with these within their own religions is eye opening. Understanding how our approach to God as LOVE – is completely unique to ONLY the Christian faith. Being able to understand so many of these issues in a way that you could casually bring some of these topics up with friends, neighbors, or strangers to ultimately share your faith with them, is priceless.
My boys are still young, but I would love to share this book with them gently; maybe go through a chapter with them and talk about it over many days or a couple weeks. I loved how Mr. Giovannetti started each chapter with a list of Touchy Ideas and then listed a few Touchy Scriptures, pertaining to each subject he addresses. These would offer some great in-depth study based on the Christian World View before getting into the “meat” of the chapter. Then you could dig into the rest of the chapter. Finally at the end of each chapter is a list of talking points : ideas to addressing this subject with others, main points he made and questions to make you think. Throughout the book are QR reader icons that you can scan as well to go directly to links that Mr. Giovannetti has put together on his website with even more information related to the chapter. (There is even a downloadable/printable reader guide that would be great to use with friends or your kids.)
I especially enjoyed how Mr. Giovannetti takes you through a series of other faith’s beliefs on the chapter – for instance in the chapter on Hell he then describes the Universalism (Pluralism) beliefs, the Universalistic Inclusivism beliefs, Universalistic Exclusivism, and Annihilationism. In other chapters he explains the beliefs of Monism and Naturalism. When you complete this book you will feel like you spent a great deal of time reading the cliff notes of a couple Seminary classes.
If you want to really know how your faith compares to a multitude of philosophies held around the world, this is a great book for you. If you want to help equip your child to stand firm in a world that wants to steal their faith and corrupt it, this is the book for you. It is a very in-depth examination of the hard questions we all ask, or need to ask.
I highly recommend this book for all Christians, but especially for any middle-schooler or high-schooler and any parents! What a great tool for adults and kids to dig into understanding why they believe what they believe.
To see what others are saying about Four Letter Words check out LitFuse.
About Bill Giovannetti:
Dr. Bill Giovannetti is a professor at A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church of Redding. An experienced speaker and author, Bill informs the mind in ways that touch the heart. He enjoys life with his wife and two kids in northern California. For more information about Bill and his other books, visit http://maxgrace.wordpress.com and http://fourletterwords.org.
About the Giveaway:
Bill is celebrating the new Kindle edition of Four Letter Words (for only $4.99)! He’ll be traveling coast to coast over the next few weeks on this virtual book tour and he’s celebrating by hosting a great giveaway!
Click here (http://fourletterwords.org/2012/01/contest-giveaway) to find out how you can win two gift certificates to Amazon (in the amount of $50 and $25) and free downloads of his yet-to-be-released title, Recession-Proof: Living a God-Blessed Life in a Messed Up World.
The whole scoop here: http://fourletterwords.org/2012/01/contest-giveaway/
NOTE: I was offered a copy of Four Letter Words at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.