Faith That Sees Through the Culture

Alfonso Espinosa

St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2018. 264 pages. Softcover. $14.99.

Reviewed by Grant A. Knepper, Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Oregon on 10/01/2018

With Faith That Sees Through The Culture, Espinosa has supplied the church with an excellent resource for use in group study. The book is designed to be taught and discussed with other people rather than just read and contemplated by individuals. Each chapter concludes with a series of discussion questions designed to get the readers deeper into the meaning of what they just read and its implication for their lives as Christians.

As the title implies, the book offers a broad examination of how faith (as believed, taught, and confessed within the Lutheran tradition) shapes the Christian view of the world as well as the individual Christian’s interaction with the world. This makes the book useful for use with those new to the Lutheran church as well as those with more experience in the pew.

Espinosa properly defines faith as a gift from God and not an exercise of will. It is this faith given by God that allows the Christian the proper vision to see through the claims made by the culture. More importantly it is the faith given by God that allows the Christian to see the God that is hidden in incarnation, word, and sacrament. While the book deals with some very weighty theological matters, Espinosa has succeeded in putting complex ideas into breezy accessible writing.

In each chapter Espinosa draws from the Scriptures, the confessions, and other pertinent writings from Lutheran theologians as he explores his topics. In addition, Espinosa also features relevant stories from his many years as a parish pastor that illustrate how the different facets of Christian faith have played out in his life as well as the lives of those he has served. Some readers will resonate more with the stories while others will find more value in the doctrinal explanations but the presence of both throughout the book can only strengthen its usefulness at the parish level. In all Espinosa’s book should prove to be a valuable teaching tool for any Lutheran pastor.