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The Baker Pocket Guide of World Religions by Gerald R. McDermott

The Advocate

The Baker Pocket Guide to World Religions : What Every Christian Needs to Know
by Gerald R. McDermott

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"An excellent resource for church leaders, missionary personnel and the Christ-follower who wants to be prepared to have an answer for the spiritual seeker."

We live in a world of faith and spiritual tolerance. Unchurched folks, as well as regular church attendees, rightly desire to know more about other religions and if there are any similarities to what they believe and value in the midst of the plethora of religious choices. “Religions are growing on every continent, and show signs of continuing that trend for decades to come,” states author Gerald McDermott.

Would you know that half of the world's population is either Muslim or Christian if somebody asked you? Atheists hold sway over only 2 percent of the world population and that number is shrinking. Could you explain the differences between Confucianism and Daoism to a co-worker? Do you have any Buddhist friends?

The Baker Pocket Guide to World Religions is a succinct, yet complete resource. It is an inexpensive, fact-filled guide designed to put the necessary answers at the reader’s beck and call. It provides a brief Christian analysis of each world religion.

McDermott will guide the reader through the central beliefs of those who belong to seven major religions of the world . . . dedicating full chapters to Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism and Daoism, and Shinto. He describes the world's great religions with careful accuracy. And because it’s concise, the information is easy to digest.

His approach doesn’t come off as a boring lecture because each chapter includes personal testimonies from an adherent of each world religion, informative sidebars and a helpful glossary of key terms.

As I read through this book, I felt like I was back in the classroom at Northwestern College, St. Paul, MN, as a freshman making a concerted effort to soak up all that my Bible professors were teaching while furiously writing down what was deemed important for tests.

It is a quick read compared to most books and well worth the ten dollar investment. An excellent resource for church leaders, missionary personnel and the Christ-follower who wants to be prepared to have an answer for the spiritual seeker.

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.