Looking Ahead

A Personal Theology of Hope

Non-Fiction - Religion/Philosophy
190 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

With the increase in diverse religions in the West, Christianity is facing a huge challenge to remain relevant in today's modern society. Throughout Looking Ahead by Charles Lee Holland, you will discover why the principles of the Apostles Creed are still applicable today. You may have conflicting views on matters such as life after death, or if miracles do occur. Discover the importance of forgiveness and why the innocent and righteous seem to suffer. What lessons can be learned from challenging events in your life and what does God require from you? The author, with over 60 years of experience in biblical teaching, reflects on and breaks down the burning questions many Christians ponder as well as giving clarity to issues that could be inhibiting your spiritual growth.

I have to begin by saying that I am not a religious person, but I am interested in spiritual growth and this guide has given me tremendous clarity on many issues. Looking Ahead by Charles Lee Holland is exceptionally well written and the logic behind topics such as the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the existence of eternal life made perfect sense. The moral lessons throughout are abundant and make an excellent blueprint to follow for a greater spiritual and peaceful existence. Part three of the book was especially interesting as it covers the origins behind many biblical terms, such as baptism, sin, Christian, and faith. The Lord's Prayer is also broken down and explained in a manner that was easily understood. Whether you are a Christian or just need some spiritual guidance, this guide will enlighten you. A great read.

Romuald Dzemo

Looking Ahead: A Personal Theology of Hope by Charles Lee Holland is a powerful book that succinctly showcases the author's theological beliefs, and while he calls them personal, these reflections will definitely resonate through many hearts. At an age considered post-Christian, when the Christian belief is challenged by progressive ideas and technology, this author goes back to the basic tenets of Christianity and finds in them a message of hope that invites humanity to be expectant about the future. Readers will find reflections on the traditional Apostle's Creed and some of the common theological concepts and realities like sin, reconciliation, life and death, salvation, redemption, peace, love and service, and a lot more.

Charles Lee Holland is a retired Methodist minister who brings into his work years of research and ministry. Readers will enjoy the sharpness of his intelligence and the relevance of his theological interpretations as he confronts contemporary culture with the core of the Christian message. Both the historical and literal implications of the Bible are showcased in this work and the author invites readers to look at the light that persists in spirituality that is continually challenged by our materialistic culture. From the start of the book, the reader is aware that these reflections are of a personal nature and the author states that they constitute the hope that drives him into the future at his age. Looking Ahead: A Personal Theology of Hope is rich in its theological message of hope, articulate in nature, and engaging, thanks to the exciting thoughts developed throughout the book.

K.C. Finn

Looking Ahead: A Personal Theology of Hope is a work of non-fiction focused on religion in contemporary times and was penned by author Charles Lee Holland. Focused specifically on the Christian faith and its changing face in the modern world, Holland offers his perspective on the challenges that Christian theology faces against the enormous tests of our times. There are opinions on the struggle to continue to teach and preach the faith in the face of modern ways of thinking, and also some very insightful reinterpretations of core vocabulary items and biblical tenets, which attempt to revitalize the faith and show its strength and relevance in the modern age.

There are two excellent prevailing qualities to this work which enable it to be highly accessible to readers coming from any level of faith knowledge, and the first is that author Charles Lee Holland does not pre-judge his readers on their thoughts or actions. What Holland presents with his smooth and confident narration is the idea that faith and hope need not be lost for those who do feel lost in the complex modern world in which we live, which is refreshing indeed. On top of this, Holland has extensive knowledge and a kind and intelligent interpretation of scripture, which he demonstrates throughout the well-organized work to convey meaning to those who may have lost it. The narrative may be personal, but it is also poignant and highly applicable, making Looking Ahead a recommended read for those seeking hope in the darkness of our current world.

Vincent Dublado

Prevailing influences in our ever-increasing liberal and globalized society appear to make the concepts of belief and biblical abstractions irrelevant. Yet, in our ever-persistent search for meaning and answers to questions about our place in the universe, humility allows us to open up to the possibility that a Higher Power may be at work. Charles Lee Holland Jr. gives us an awareness of the role of Christian tenets in a world beset by the crisis of doubt in the pertinence of theology. In Looking Ahead: A Personal Theology of Hope, he presents his biblical interpretations obtained from his devoted service to the faith by complementing it with reason. He embraces the spiritual and transcendent dimensions of man, and at the same time subscribes to the idea of the rational, dynamic existence of God.

An author who has experienced inspiring realities, Charles Lee Holland Jr. looks ahead to his long fulfilling future that awaits after he departs his corporeal self. How can he fear death when his attitude toward death has always been positive? One might think that since he has lived a fruitful life he is now prepared to meet his Maker, but his optimism is practical. His concept of life after death is concerned with the understanding and the power given to the promises stipulated in his cited passages from the Bible. Faith does not have to deny reason and vice versa. Looking Ahead: A Personal Theology of Hope will raise you in your full potential so that you can contemplate the relevance of theology in a world riddled with questions.

Asher Syed

Looking Ahead: A Personal Theology of Hope by Charles Lee Holland is a non-fiction Christian book that assesses the future of Christianity at a time when societal changes are shifting much of the public's perception of traditional faith and the relevance of the church. Broken down over four distinct parts and fifty-nine chapters, Holland brings decades of ministry experience and biblical scholarship into the discussion. The book reads in a balanced narrative of memoir (as Holland applies his personal journey and experiences) and scripture to back up the reasoning applied to his convincing and logical assertions that, while the change brought forward in this day and age is different than the tests throughout history, traditional Christianity can and always will persevere according to the doctrine and, of course, the word and will of God.

Charles Lee Holland has written a convincing and relevant text in Looking Ahead that will likely reinvigorate those who may be at odds with where they believe they should stand, as well as reinforce the convictions of those who have stood unflinchingly on the ground they know to be firm. The narrative comes across as intelligent and deeply personal, which assisted me—a reader at odds—to pair Holland's message comfortably with scripture. My favorite chapter was Reconciliation, in which Holland succinctly describes the healing of everything (literally, everything, from the universe to the planet to the people), summarizing with a promise that, “...the doctrine of reconciliation means that it is the purpose of God to fix the universe and everything that is in it.” Highly recommended.