Reformed Reflections

Christian: What It Means, Why It Matters
by Alfred E. Mulder.
Published by Faith Alive Christian Resources,
Grand Rapids, Mich. 2007. Pb. 88 pp

Who is a Christian? In our multicultural-pluralist-postmodern society, it is a difficult question to answer. But answer it, we must. The apostle Peter charged the Church to be "ready to make a defence to everyone who asks to give an account for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). Rev. Alfred Mulder, a retired missionary, says that "Christianity is about having a faith relationship with the God of the universe. And God's face in this relationship is Jesus." He describes a Christian as a person whose "life is wrapped up in Jesus. A Christian is a Jesus-follower."

In a conversational style, using easy to understand words and ideas, Mulder explains the basics of the Christian faith. Key terms are highlighted in sidebars on each page. He quotes from songs, literature, and the creeds. I recommend Mulder's booklet as a tool to explore the basics of the Christian faith with a small group. It can also help Christians to become better equipped for outreach. Questions for personal reflection or group discussions are included in the back of each chapter. In this otherwise solid and very readable booklet, there are a few statements, which call for clarification. Mulder states that in the Roman Catholic tradition the Lord's Supper is celebrated as a central part of the Mass. I wish he would have explained the difference between the Roman Catholic Mass and the Reformed view of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. (Cf. Heidelberg Catechism q.a. 80). And Mulder could have been more specific in dealing with the reasons for infant baptism. Why do we baptize children of believing parents instead of dedicating them? This question is now discussed in some Reformed circles. Mulder should have put more emphasis on the golden thread of the covenant woven throughout Scripture. A careful exposition of God's covenant of grace and the infant's place in it would have benefited the discussion on baptism.

Johan D. Tangelder