Substantive praise from Christian leaders
about this bold new book.
See reviews from readers further down below.
"Profound and unique ... I heartily commend this book. It is, indeed, a teaching source of timeless truth much needed in these changing times."
"George Koch is a trusted pastor, a clear-headed and Word-centered thinker, and the writer of one of the most timely and practical tools for study and teaching to be published recently. What We Believe And Why is more than a solid handbook dealing with the basic doctrinal truths foundational to sound, evangelical theology: it is, at once, profound and unique in Koch’s objective to help today’s believer see the larger picture of the history of redemption. That history is incomplete unless believers are brought to an understanding and grasp of the dynamic role of God’s ancient and chosen people—over the millennia and right through to today. Koch gracefully unfolds the precious yet exacting directives of Paul’s passionate words of instruction and warning to the Gentile Church in Romans, chapters 9-11; thus providing an unique component frequently absent in doctrine books and teaching.
As a thorough Bible scholar, Koch provides us with a teaching tool for personal study or small groups; one that is accessible to the average believer without seeming trite or trivial to the well-schooled reader/teacher/leader. As a former Senior Vice President of the Oracle Corporation, but today the pastor of [New Jerusalem House of Prayer] ... in West Chicago, he communicates both with insight and sensitivity. I heartily commend this book: its approach affords a healthy addendum to the usual doctrinal study resource—setting forth the biblical grounds undergirding essential doctrines, while also providing a biblical context for the prophetic moment the Church has entered at this time in history. It is, indeed, a teaching source of timeless truth much needed in these changing times."
Jack W. Hayford serves as Chancellor of The King's University. From 2004 to 2009, he also served as President of The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. He is probably best known, however, as "Pastor Jack," founding pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California, where he served as senior pastor for more than three decades. A prolific and best-selling writer, Pastor Hayford is the author (or co-author) of more than 100 books and has composed 600 hymns and choruses, including the internationally known and widely recorded "Majesty."
I am experiencing a very special Thanksgiving, thanks to you. A couple of months ago I read [the paperback] What We Believe and Why. Truly an outstanding work!
I have reviewed it frequently and preached from some of your ideas. Today I downloaded the Audible version and listened as I trekked around my neighborhood. It all came alive once again...to the point that I just had to tell you how you have blessed me! Thanks, dear Brother in Christ!
(D.O. went to be with his Lord in late 2014, but we've left his review here in thanksgiving for his life and encouragement.)
“My breakthrough book of the year!”
“I read one or two books a week, and for me What We Believe and Why has become my breakthrough book of the year! The Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to me through its pages. Some chapters were helpful reminders stated in a fresh manner; others were totally new insights. Fortunately, George Koch writes in such a way that not only his fellow theologians can understand, but also plumbers, bus drivers and even individuals like me.”
Dr. David R. Mains is Director of Mainstay Ministries, author of numerous books and of the 50 Day Spiritual Adventure used in thousands of churches each Lent, former host of Chapel of the Air, a 30 year ministry on radio and television.
Latest review from the ACT3 blog:
I want to encourage you to buy one of the finest books on theology I have ever read: What We Believe and Why. The author is George Koch. The subtitles underscore his wit and wisdom. “Christian faith–from its Jewish roots to its future hope–beyond denominational struggles and doctrinal war. Insightful accessible, plain-spoken and a little feisty.”
Seriously, have you ever seen a title like that? It is Puritan in the way tells you what the core of the book is about and it makes you laugh. This is a magnificent book, pure gold. If you want to read doctrine, or study doctrine in small groups, and do it with a strong emphasis on unity, then get the book. It is available for a great price at www.amazon.com. The Kindle edition is only $3.99.
“Honestly, I've not seen a book like it ... If I were pastoring this is what I would use, hands down.”
“I have THE book for you... It is called What We Believe and Why... [George Koch] is Anglican, catholic, orthodox, evangelical, insightful, helpful, readable, etc. In fact, the book is a primer that ordinary folks can read and...it has a great glossary so people do not get lost in terms, etc. The cover says that the book 'is insightful, accessible, plain-spoken and a little feisty.' That is a perfect description. It [does not] require anyone to be an Anglican to treasure his work and his insights. Honestly, I've not seen a book like it and will be promoting it soon on my blog site...If I were pastoring this is what I would use, hands down.”
Here is part of that blog entry: What We Believe and Why: Theology the Way It Should Be
July 4, 2012 in Theology
My good friend, Fr. George Koch, is an Anglican pastor who really gets it. He understands that theology is about knowing God and loving him in all that you do. He understands that having theological knowledge is good, but using that knowledge to live well is the real goal of good theology. To this end George has written a magnificent new book, What We Believe and Why. Check the book out at the website George has set up to explain his approach. You can find further vital information at the site. I confess that I have been looking for a book like this for a long time.
John H. Armstrong is a Reformed theologian and President of Act 3 Leadership Training; Well-known Christian Blogger; author; former pastor and church-planter, former head of Reformation and Revival Ministries.
"This excellent book… an apologia of the Christian Faith… clearly challenges the inquirer, informs them, and encourages them… a thought provoking, purposeful book."
"Anytime we see the word “we” used in our culture it invariably begs the question regarding who the “they” may be. That is, the culture in which we find ourselves thinks in an oppositional way rather than in a dialectical way.
While I would not consider myself to be on every page on this book as the “we,” neither do I find myself to be the “they.” The purpose of this excellent book is to be an apologia of the Christian Faith that as it says is an exposition of “Christian faith - from its Jewish roots to its future hope - beyond denominational struggles and doctrinal war.” In that regard this book clearly challenges the inquirer, informs them, and encourages them.
This is not a denominational manual, nor is it a new version of “Christianity for Dummies.” It is a thoughtful, well-documented work, with an Index, Glossary, and footnotes, that encourages the reader to take the next step in their pilgrimage of faith. The Reverend Doctor George Koch has given all of us (a blending of “we” and “them”) a thought provoking, purposeful book, or as he says, “The true purpose of the Christian life is not merely to know more about God, but to know God more.” That is, likewise, the goal of his book."
The Right Reverend Keith Ackerman is the former bishop of Quincy, Illinois, and now President of Forward in Faith North America, an Anglo-Catholic movement.
“The essence of theology that is Christian is clear and compelling; and the journey is enjoyable and challenging!”
“In his action-centered, unique, challenging, and informative primer on 'What We Believe and Why,' or 'What Matters Most and What Doesn't,' George Koch lays out the basics and origins for belief that is Christian. In that well-reasoned effort he addresses a Hebraic mindset that preventively, remedially, and practically reduces distortions in Western Christianity. How can one overestimate the value of the Hebraic mindset that shapes Old Testament writings and underpins the theology and life of the earliest and later Church? …Here, we are shown 'how to reconcile, respect, and protect each other as believers, even across great divides;' mindset trumps method and faith is deepened; relationship with God is connected, committed, and creative; the essence of theology that is Christian is clear and compelling; and the journey is enjoyable and challenging!”
Dr. Wesley M. Pinkham is Dean of Doctoral Studies, The King's University
“I am reading your book. It is wonderful. I am not aware of a better book that can be used for new believers or seekers to understand the profound and yet simple truths of the Bible and theology that is so easy to read and track with. Its clarity in connecting the story of redemption from the New Covenant to the Old is clear and thoughtful. It presents the unity that can help Christians understand their connectedness to the Jewish faith and for Jewish people to understand how Christian faith relates to Biblical Jewish faith.
When I plant the Messianic Jewish Congregation of Chicago, I will be using your book as a resource for teaching the basics of theology in our Shabbat School. Blessings to you, brother.”
Roy Schwarcz is Midwest Regional Director, Chosen People Ministries and Congregational Planter, Messianic Congregation of Chicago
“An awesome book... If you’re tired of wondering why your ‘church’ believes this or that, you’ll really enjoy seeing the revelation of what to believe and why. This author breaks down the denominational divide and presents the basic precepts and truths of Christian belief. This book has radically changed my life, and I am a pastor. I am reading it for the fourth time because I see something different every time I’ve read it. It is not a casual read, quite intense and heavy duty, but well worth the time." -iTunes online review
"Life's journey: Absolutely one of the very best books to enrich one's spiritual journey." - D. O. Smart (yes, same D. O. Smart as above)
"Just finished Koch’s book last night. It’s fantastic. And deeply convicting. Through the book, I could see a painful picture of myself as someone desperately seeking acceptance and approval from God and from people. And trying to escape judgment and disfavor. That, as Koch points out, has nothing to do with — in fact, it’s a cheap substitute for — agape love. The last few chapters of the book, which focus on how we treat and ought to treat Christians with whom we disagree, is the most hard-hitting and challenging message to the church (and to me) that I have seen in recent memory. I’m almost speechless."
"I’m working through the book slowly but surely. My mind may explode if I move too quickly :) Besides the “essential vs. non-essential” type thinking, the most profound truth I’ve learned so far is regarding salvation. The gospel drives all three parts of our journey following Christ: salvation, sanctification and glorification. Although salvation is necessary for sanctification to occur, the reverse is not true. Sanctification is not necessary for salvation. This contradicts the way I used to view salvation (which Koch explains well). I used to see salvation has being made up of three parts: justification, sanctification and glorification. That explains why I ended up on a sin/repent hamster wheel trying to please God by my obedience and not tick off God by my disobedience. Now my journey is SO much more lively and active since I realized this correction, which came partially from seeing Scripture through the proper lens of grace."
- An online blog exchange on UBFriends.org
"The book is well written and presents a well balanced and concise account of the christian faith. I would highly recommend it. Starting from the foundation of the christian faith it neatly explains what it means to be a christian and proceeds to explain the importance of growing up in christ. Most refreshingly, the book does not even attempt to defend any particular strand of christianity but What We Believe and Why strives to provide a balanced and biblically sound insight to the Christian faith. It comes highly recommended." - Dele Oke, England
"I have just started reading this book and i am thrilled about how The Doctor breaks this all down. I feel as if I am in a class of his. I want to finish this book so I can really think about it. And yes I will read it again. Like a good movie, I'll tend to miss some parts of it. Great work Doc!" - Online review at B&N
"A down-to-earth manual on the 'why' we believe what we believe, but as much if not more so the 'how' of practicing and living day by day with God at our side. It teaches you the 'what' on level ground, and holds your hand as you traverse the pitfalls of religiosity. The book does even more than that, however; it does mortal battle with the enemy and with sin, with the power that enables the reader to conquer that enemy with the Word, while treating the sinner with the dignity to fight the battle with a tangible faith. This is not 'Faith For Dummies'; this is 'Faith of our Fathers' meets 'This Old House'. Pick up your Bible, and grab this book, and you're well equipped to build (or re-build) your faith with the confidence and results of a master carpenter. - Online review at B&N
"I read your book. I really enjoyed it, and it challenged me in a big way. What I loved best about it was your very elegant... even beautiful!... discussion of essential vs. nonessentials. It HAD to be said! It was like listening to music. Just perfect! I also discovered why I've always felt so Jewish! It makes so much sense! The chapter on Forgiveness was very difficult. It brought me to a new level of soul searching. ...I have been finding that while praying for the ability to forgive, and making the decision to forgive even though my heart doesn't feel like it's there yet, I have had brief bursts... short episodes of..."light"? Anyway, there was so much in your book, that I feel I have to read it again. It was one of those books where I should have highlighted what was NOT important to me!! It would have been a lot less disruptive! :-) Well... I have to say that you and your writing have had a huge effect on this lost, suburban soul. Thank you with all my heart." -Jacqueline, email to author (used with permission).
"A really sound, helpful look at the issues. A lot more theological than the sales blurb would lead you to believe, it's no lightweight in its genre. Excellent, if you're looking for more than candy floss." –John de Senna
"An amazing book! Even as a maturing Christian this book answered questions I did not know I had until I read on some of the topics. I would recommend this book to anyone searching for the truth as why we as Christians believe what we believe. It is straightforward and uses the scriptures to answer all the questions and explains things clearly. It is fairly easy to understand and use. I also recommend this book to anyone who just wants to re-enforce their beliefs and the answers as to why they believe what they believe. I give it 5 stars!" - L. Hauch
"A call to love people more than our doctrines. George Koch cuts through years and years of churchy, Christian programming in an amazingly lucid and critical call to love God, love your neighbor, and even love your enemy. He peels away the cultural biases I've held my entire life, (but never realized it) when he audaciously declares that love, NOT doctrine is the prime, ESSENTIAL, matter for Christians to live by. While never putting doctrine below it's appropriate place in our lives, he nevertheless insightfully points out how we've raised doctrine up too high until it's become a god and how that is one of the fatal errors of our time. At the same time, he points out how loving each other quickly takes a back seat when we defend our precious doctrines and how wrong that is as well. Over and over, I heard things I never heard before in the church, but were right there all along. Dr. Koch effectively takes the cultural lenses off my eyes and persuasively shows how we've been missing what's most important: to love one another, even when, (or ESPECIALLY when) we disagree with them. That simple message isn't just another idea for our time, but easily and naturally transforms into practical action to loving those around me. I cannot recommend this book enough." - Stewart
"What We Believe and Why is straight-forward, clear cut, and intelligently written without any of the big word jargon too often found in books that talk about our relationship with God. This book is written for "everyman." The scholarship is outstanding and the content definitely definitely enlightening but, refreshingly, the Rev Dr Koch saw no need to use every theological big-word he knew! Instead of trying to impress us, he TALKS WITH US, and, by doing so, really communicates.
What We Believe and Why is really one of the most engaging, informative, and clearly stated books I've ever read about the Christian faith, how to understand it and LIVE IT! How refreshing!" - J. A. Swinehart
"Finally a book that has been written for the rest of US non-theologians who don't know Greek! This book has been a true game-changer for me. What We Believe and Why is written in "English" and discusses the fact that the ONLY essential theme that the church should focus on is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Dr. Koch states that anything else outside of this, while often important, is a NON-essential.
What We Believe and Why is refreshing in a world full of other books and ideas that seem to miss the mark so often." - Ben D
"Lovely book that provides an uncomplicated definition of the essential of our Christian belief/faith and discusses many of the non-essentials in a friendly dialog format. Very thought and heart provoking read that can prompt the reader to "Press In" to our beliefs and discover the "Why" of them. It also has a workbook available that helps us do just that, "Press In". I have read it twice and have "pressed In" to complete the workbook on the second read. I highly recommend it!" -Laura J Shurson
"At a time when division within the body remains, but many denominational walls are coming down, this book is a call back to unity and understanding of ways that are different and often misunderstood in light of our own religious Idiosyncrasies. This work calls us back to loving one another, and the Unity that Christ requires. The author writes from both the Orthodox and Evangelical perspectives, explaining many misconceptions and assumptions that we make about our more orthodox siblings in Christ, mostly Catholics. In doing so the author does a great job in stripping the body of Christ, of a filthy stain, that of pride, prejudice and division within our own family. A good book for the body of Christ where religious theology is still an excuse for everything that destroys the body of Christ, and stands against Christlike love. In many ways an accademic work, but written so as anyone can understand and say the, 'Ahha!'" - Michael W. Hicks
"This book helps those of us who want to understand Christian theology in laymen's terms. The author loves God and guides us through many areas of God's word that can be difficult to understand. This book is easy to read, and the author has a great sense of humor. If you are curious about Christianity, this is the book to read." - Petey
"If one immerses one's self in George Koch's 24 chapter faith odyssey, one's mind is restarted with the oxygen of redemptive blood flow and one's heart is revived with the energy of compassionate conviction. "What We Believe and Why" is a veritable treasure chest of preaching, teaching and reaching for the heart and soul of the Christian church and its followers, as well as the backslidden, the unchurched and the religiously unaffiliated. My suggestion to readers is to buy the book and park yourself in a chair on the ground floor of a building where the ceilings are high and the windows wide and open.
This book, however, has the sublime contradistinction of being the perfect excuse for becoming ensconced in one's library corner to be with God and allow the discipleship of Dr. and Pastor Koch to permeate every cell of one's being. Stock up on the tea and the coffee; you'll be refilling your cup often eating this manna from heaven called "What We Believe and Why". Pastor Koch writes in Chapter 6 `Living With Believers': "Love is action for the other's benefit, for their success, healing, renewal, redemption.....God is action for our benefit---in our creation, in His sacrifice, in counsel and empowerment." He reminds us of the centuries of failure to love others for their benefit, but moreover reminds us that had God merely considered that we all are HIS enemies, rather than regarding the greater redemptive love, we would all be dead, lost in our sins, FOREVER. A book spanning the ages in a boldly intentional manner to make sense of both the nonsensical and the insensitive so that we do not "melt away in silence". The author is also a Pastor, and he preaches to us in Chapter 24 to "stop doing it", that is, stop gossiping and stop the personal attacks and stop the divisive tactics and the fostering of disunity. Stop throwing stones, people--none of us can escape the glass house in which we all live called "imperfect sinful mankind". We live in a world of great intolerance, while the world preaches incessantly to be tolerant!!! Tolerance in today's world is to proscribe certain beliefs and punish those who believe otherwise--a difficult world in which to teach genuine tolerance AND to learn how to "protect the other, the one with whom we disagree"!!! This is the book that rings that bell from the watchtower over and over again. But it is a bell that rings with these words and the means and ways to do it: Love each other! "True unity requires that we see, care for, bless and protect each other." Jesus prayed to the Father to protect them by the power of His name "so that they will be united just as we are". Do you get that??? Jesus prayed for UNITY. Not for safety, not for goods, not for prosperity or pleasure, but UNITY. Why? Because He knew that we believers for all eternity here on earth would focus on infinitely unimportant issues that would distract us and detract from the primary focal point of salvation and sanctification. The Gift of Eternal Life, and the Gift of Earthly Unity through His single most important commandment: "Love each other in the same way I have love you." The author closes with "It is His Way. Embody it." It is the author's intention in every paragraph to embody the commandment Christ gave us to love each other as Christ first loved us, while we were yet sinners. This is the book that will help all who read it to learn not just what it is that believers have come to believe and why, but the how and what of how to do just that: love each other as Christ FIRST loved us, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS. It is perhaps those who have been "carefully taught" otherwise that will have the most trouble with this recurring landmark appearing throughout the 24 chapters of this book. Like Lt. Cable in "South Pacific", the differences of what we believe and why that keep us apart as Christians will continue to do so; for others, like Nellie Forbush, her love for a Frenchman with two half-Polynesian children, love wins out over the unimportant "carefully taught" differences. This marvelous book is pamphlet and novel, epic and short-story, textbook and handbook, all of which is to say you are equipped by the author of this book to make what you want and need from it to apply in your life. I find it a great companion to my Bible reading and study, and as much training instructions as research resource for expanding my limited Bible knowledge and my even more limited ability to apply Biblical principles on a consistent basis in my everyday living. The benefit with regard to the latter is perhaps the most succinct recommendation I could make to anyone thinking of purchasing this book. Many of us don't like to read the instructions for anything we buy. This is a book of instruction as much as it is exegesis. The underpinning for this construct is to unite the Body of Christ. What better way to accomplish that than to publish an instruction booklet that not only tells the what and the why of what we believe, but the how to and the who to apply these beliefs." -Edward A Butters
“I've been hearing these concepts since boyhood, but it wasn't until I spent 2 hours with this book that I really understood what they meant.” -Wheaton, IL
“The section I just finished, on being born into the Kingdom, is just stunning. I cannot thank you enough for writing. I wish I knew you personally, just to tell you face-to-face.” - Raleigh, NC
"I wanted to let you know I love your book. It's been an eye-opener for me. You have answered some questions I have had for years - and have never been able to get anyone to answer - in a clear, concise way, that makes it easy to understand." - Atlanta, GA