Being Christian by Rowan Williams is a book about the essential elements of the Christian life. Review by Deon Naude, Library Technician, Trinity Theological Library.

It was required reading for the Introduction to Christian Thought class a few years ago. I wasn’t very excited after looking at the table of contents. I didn’t think a short book with only four chapters—“Baptism,” “Bible,” “Eucharist,” and “Prayer”—could have that much to say about what it means to call oneself a Christian. It turns out I was very wrong.

Williams doesn’t spend time giving dense explanations of abstract theological viewpoints on these four basic Christian elements. Instead, he invites us to engage with the deeper truths that these elements elucidate. Rather than seeing ourselves as separate from others, Williams shows how baptised people are to be more profoundly entwined with the people and issues of this world. More than only being a record of past events, the Bible calls us to be a community living in God’s greater cosmic story. The Eucharist not only shows us God the Giver’s final aim for this world, but by it we are shaped into being a people through whom God might bring that world to pass. Prayer is so much more than asking God for things—it opens our minds and hearts to how Christ can work in and through us.

I’m grateful I was required to read this book for my course. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like a thoughtful, yet short and easy to understand book on what it means to live life as a Christian.


Being Christian : baptism, Bible, eucharist, prayer
Rowan Williams