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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
A Crisis of Faith by Tony Sunderland is a self-described study about the battle of beliefs between the Christian Church and Gnosticism. While technically accurate, such a tidy description creates a minor disservice to the highly comprehensive yet focused view taken by the author in describing the evolution of Christian beliefs since the advent of the early Church. In reality, Mr. Sunderland once again offers the reader (as in his earlier book, The Obelisk and The Cross) an incredibly broad overview of religious history by referencing back to the pre-Christian genesis of later spiritual beliefs, then ranging forward to the speculative assessment of our modern, technocratic society. That he includes between those bracketing endpoints a provocatively detailed and knowledgeable analysis on the discrepancy between the orthodox and communal Catholic Church and the more individually-focused Gnostic teachings, simply attests to the author’s academic and concisely inclusive writing skills.
In A Crisis of Faith, Tony Sunderland provides a constructive backbone to this rigorous but engaging study by thoroughly examining the similarities and differences between the institutional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the less accessible but well-researched Gnostic world as revealed mostly by revelations found within the Nag Hammadi Library – a fairly recent discovery of mystery documents comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls, and even more recently translated and distributed for popular access and consideration. As with any academic writing, even one so geared toward popular interest and acceptance, A Crisis of Faith betrays no overt agenda of its own. Tony Sunderland is meticulous about not rendering his personal judgment regarding content, thus allowing the reader to contemplate and consider the massively important current implications of such a well-presented religious history. The timing could not be better.