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Creed or Chaos?: Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster (Or, Why It Really Does Matter What You Believe)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  209 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Today you hear it even from many well-meaning Christians: "It doesn't really matter what you believe, so long as you're sincere."But in Creed or Chaos?, author Dorothy Sayers demonstrates that such a "doctrineless Christianity" is not merely impossible; it's dangerous. Indeed, argues Sayers, if Christians don't steep themselves in doctrine, then the Christian Faith -- and ...more
Paperback, 116 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Sophia Institute Press (first published January 1st 1940)
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David Johnston
Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University, she graduated with first class honors in French. She referred to herself as a scholar gone bad because she left academe and worked as an advertising copy-writer and as such was responsible for a successful national campaign for Colman's mustard. She is best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels. In Murder Must Advertise she has her intrepid detective go under cover working for an adverti ...more
Excellent. This is Sayers' best starting point for a new reader. The author views life in the context of the Incarnation, and stresses the need to make Christian dogma meaningful in ordinary life. In the essay “Creed or Chaos,” she points to the fatal error of allowing people to “suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling . . . [it is] hopeless to offer Christianity as a vague, idealistic aspiration: it is a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine steeped in drastic and uncompromisi ...more
I was drawn to this book for two reasons: 1. Dorothy Sayers was a mystery writer who also wrote books on theology. 2. I am interested in books that discuss the fundamentals of the Christian faith. When I got the book, I was particularly pleased that this book promotes the importance of the Christian creeds -- the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Although Sayers wrote in the years after WWII, apostocies creeping into the church was as real then as they are now and were ...more
Mike E.
Aug 27, 2009 Mike E. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pluralists, skeptics, Christians
Recommended to Mike by: The Emmans family
This book was given to me by the Emmans family in 2002. As I was pruning my bookshelves I put it in my summer reading bookbag.

I am glad that I did!

She writes well and and has much to say worth hearing and meditating on. My favorite chapter was "Why Work?" Sayers writes, "Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do."

The book is a collection of writings. Each chapter can be taken on its own. In short, her thesis is that truth matters--a lot. Truth comes from G
This collection of related essays (some of them originally speeches given during WWII) punches well above its modest weight, as they say admiringly in boxing. Sayers is compulsively quotable without ever sounding twee, and she minces no words. Of an ignorant but common attitude toward Jesus that was a problem even five generations ago, she writes, "We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him 'meek and mild,' and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale ...more
Craig Shier
May 28, 2013 Craig Shier rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially readers of the Wimsey book
Creed, doctrine and dogma are not words associated today with reasonable people. “Creed or Chaos” shows that association is itself irrational and that ignoring creed or perverting it leads to ruin.
This is not abstruse theology. It will make sense to any one with even a casual familiarity with Christianity. The author uses basic ideas in three widely accepted Christian creeds, the Apostolic, Nicene and Athanasian and discusses how our beliefs about the nature of God, Christ, and man have conseque
I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks theology isn't "practical." I will definitely be reading this book again!
Rex Bradshaw
Brilliant little essay/lecture collection. The titular essay is particularly good, but one could almost say that each essay is better than the one that came before.
Becky Pliego
I admire Dorothy Sayers and I always learn a great deal from her.

This short and easy to read book is fantastic. I especially recommend chapters 1-4 and ch. 5 (next time I revisit this book, I will skip chapters 5 and 7).

Note: Sayers was an Anglican, so I do not agree with all her theology.
Some of the "big issues" of Sayers' early post-war era are things of the past by now, but with a smidgen of mental flexibility they can be transposed to current situations. The real, solid elements of orthodoxy discussed here, both the difficulties and the solutions, are timeless.
In her clear and unabashed way Sayers says many things that the church today needs to hear and act on. A thorough understanding of the ideas and the consequences of those ideas which are embraced in post modern western culture and the church living within that culture.
What can be said about this that has not already been said? Dorothy Sayers is a brilliant apologist with clear diction and a standpoint that is firmly rooted in reality, not in dusty clouds and miasmas. Definitely worth a read--and perhaps several.
Phenomenal. A few minor quibbles re: the nature and cause of evil. But the comments on practical applications of theology and work as a calling were fantastic. Highly recommended.
First Edition. Read for a course at Baylor University entitled: Oxford Christians, taught by Dr. James Barcus.
Good book. Raises some very interesting issues about mediocrity and Christianity that are still relevant today.
Nov 01, 2009 Ishki added it
Very short, easy to read.
Mar 22, 2015 Juliet marked it as to-read
Recommended to Juliet by: Daniel Mejia's Dennis E. Dorsch
1949 version
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Dorothy Leigh Sayers (Oxford, 13 June 1893 – Witham, 17 December 1957) was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herse
More about Dorothy L. Sayers...
Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #1) Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #6) Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #3) Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #10) Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #12)

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“It it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and incompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.... ...Theologically this country is at present is in a state of utter chaos established in the name of religious toleration and rapidly degenerating into flight from reason and the death of hope.” 36 likes
“If men will not understand the meaning of judgement, they will never come to understand the meaning of grace.” 10 likes
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