How do you take a seminary course on soteriology (the study of salvation) and explain lofty concepts like original sin, justification, and repentance and faith to the average Joe? Ray Pritchard sets out to explain these realities for those who haven't had the privilege of digging deep into theology books. And for those of us who have, he helps us bring our ivory tower theology down to reality.
Pritchard doesn't mince words about his desire for the reader; he wishes to open eyes to the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he does so with the skill and craft of a seasoned communicator. An Anchor for the Soul is packed with entertaining anecdotes, lively story telling, and real life illustrations.
We are taken through eight theological concepts that serve as a fundamental basis for real salvation in Christianity. We learn about original sin from a federalism perspective as Pritchard ingenuously illustrates Adam as the bus driver for humanity who "drove the bus off the cliff." He teaches us about the gravity of even one sin before God by reliving the time his son smashed part of a window with a golf club and attempted to brush aside its significance. Repentance is likened to "getting off our high horse," forgiveness to a debt "paid in full" before a judge, and justification to getting our grades switched "with the valedictorian of the class."
Almost without exception, I found Pritchard's explanations entertaining and his theology solid. Perhaps one story may confuse the reader. He retells the story of handing a dying man a certificate to signify the man's faith and bring him assurance of salvation before he dies. Although pastor Pritchard is quick to qualify the certificate as unnecessary for true faith, one wonders if the anecdote is counterproductive to his otherwise absolute affirmation that salvation is by grace through faith alone.
All in all, I found the book an excellent resource for pastors or Christian leaders who can improve their communication of the gospel, but more importantly, for individuals to give as a gift to seekers or friends outside of the faith.