By Thomas H. Groome (HarperOne, 2011)
Toward the end of his public ministry, Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Religious educator Thomas H. Groome hopes to ensure that Christian faith will endure for future generations.
To that end, he has summoned his faith, professional knowledge, and personal life experiences for Will There Be Faith?, an amazing tour de force covering the terrain of Christian doctrine and practice. His book is a complete “faith-scape,” beginning with the core of Jesus’ teaching (the reign of God), his teaching style (providing a setting for “discovery”), and methods to address current need (draw upon students’ relevant concerns). Education for Christian faith should “inform, form, and transform,” Groome says.
Because it culminates in a lifestyle of discipleship, faith will develop and thrive only in an environment providing its absorption into the community’s way of life. That is what “handing on the faith” truly means. Will There Be Faith? is designed to assist parents, the parish, and professionally prepared teachers in this undertaking.
Groome calls this “a new vision” in religious education—one needed for these most challenging times, in which parents and educators “are more embattled than empowered in their faith journey.” “New,” it should be noted, does not mean iconoclastic. Groome draws heavily from scripture and appreciatively from treasures in church tradition—plus many scholarly sources.
The heart of this book’s energy is Groome’s mantra: “bringing life to faith and faith to life,” a contemporary, natural, holistic, and flexible approach, he says. It will survive in the flow of cultural change and shifts of worldview, and can meet the needs of ongoing conversion, loyal discipleship, and openness toward our global “village.”
Every Christian should engage in studies for personal faith enrichment as well as for the education of youth. This book is a valuable resource for reviving and refreshing the faith of Christians of all ages.