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Tokens of Trust

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  399 ratings  ·  44 reviews
What does it mean to believe in God? Can God possibly be almighty in the midst of so much evil and disaster? How am I to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ's ministry and resurrection? To what purpose is the church called? And what does it really mean to follow Christ in today's broken world? Tying together the answers to all of these questions and addressing perplexit ...more
Hardcover, 159 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Westminster John Knox Press (first published 2007)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Nikki Stahl
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Clever, clear, concise, compelling and even corrective. Williams is a brilliant thinker able to communicate in ways intelligible to persons both academically-inclined and not. This is a very good overview of Christianity with a decidedly Anglican slant. It is useful as both an introductory text for a seeker or a new believer as well as a devotional text which brings the reader back to the core of faith. This little book should easily lead the reader into prayer, worship, self-examination, and aw ...more
Catherine Cowan
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read this book intermittently so there were times when it was difficult to follow but overall i loved this book. Rowan Williams writes about deep theological topics in a way that is easier to comprehend. the book points back to the different parts of both the Nicene & Apostles’ Creeds & breaks them down.

“God is to be trusted as we would trust a loving parent, whose commitment to us is inexhaustible, whose purposes for us are unfailing generous; someone whose life is the source of our life, an
Mina Shuda
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reflective exploration of the creeds and illustrations of the Lord's faithfulness and trustworthiness. Well worth the read, with some beautiful passages about God's love, the holistic community and role of the Church, and other introductory elements to God's nature. An easy read and one that definitely stirs greater conversation over the importance of loving God and honoring Him well.

To summarize this book well:
"All we know is that we are called to pray, to trust and to live with integrity befo
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'd recommend this book over Lewis' Mere Christianity. ...more
Zoe Colvin
May 02, 2021 rated it liked it
This had some very good passages and was worth reading. I won't quote any lengthy ones but here are a few brief bits that struck me:

1. Contact with human beings who have received the breath of Jesus's life is contact with Jesus, as specific human beings pass on the mystery of God to each other across the ages. To meet a Christian in whom this spirit is working is to be contemporary with Jesus.
2. When we celebrate Easter, we are really standing in the middle of a second 'Big Bang', a tumultuous s
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This really is Rowan Williams at his best and is a truly delightful read. "Introduction" probably needs to be interpreted as next steps, or stage 2. For an intelligent participant on an Alpha course, say, this could be the next step. As an introduction you would have to be fairly sure of the intelligence and wisdom of the person you are giving it to. RW apologises at the beginning that for experienced readers it may seem a little basic, but the beauty of it is that he deals with basics but with ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: orthodoxy
Solid content; a good addition to my new orthodoxy crowd of CS Lewis, NT Wright, David Bentley Hart, and maybe James Martin. Very much in the Aquinas tradition, good example of how the Anglican world can critique traditional RCC doctrine without irresponsibly tossing some ideas.

Just a bit dry in tone; maybe because it was from a lecture series and was then written down. A bit of a hard time reading through it all, even though it's short.
Eugene LeCouteur
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
I found my mind wandering as i read this book. There are lots of passages I have underlined that might be useful in other contexts. I could not follow the thread. I kept having to look again at the subtitle to remind myself what the book is about.

This is not the first book i have read by Rowan. I have found others more accessible and holding together better.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful reflections on themes of the Apostles Creed. Williams has a gift for being both deep and accessible. His ability to say something sharp and help in so small a space is really something. That left me at many points thinking I really wish he could have said more, but also very struck with what he did say. Again, those are signs of a master theologian.

Shawn Enright
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Do I even need to say anything...

Tokens of Trust is structured around the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed. It’s quite brief, but true to Williams style, it is deeply rich and expansive.

The first and last chapters are my favorite. Both are somewhat provocative, seeing that Williams makes fairly bold claims about the Bible and hell. Read to find out 😉
Kevin Garcia
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good book. Rowan writes in a way that gives you new ways to consider ancient truths. He makes them alive and creates a persuasive introduction to the faith. This is easily one that can be read multiple times.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a good tool for introducing the Christian faith. However, at some points, it is hard to follow along with Williams. If you have an education background in secular and sciences, it may be an easier read. Williams makes great points, it just can be a lot for the average person.
Jeremy Mueller
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't align theologically with many doctrinal issues that Williams puts forward in his other writings and teachings, but I found this book a helpful antidote injected into a world of skepticism with its simple, logical arguments for the existence of God. ...more
Nicholas Pang
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Great concise entryway into the creeds. Even Rowan's introductory material has a depth to it that is lovely to play around in. ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fairly easy read and interesting.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thought provoking look at the Nicene Creed and what Anglicans believe when reciting it.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
“A belief in the forgiveness of sins...points more clearly than anything else to the glory and liberty of God.”
Corey Hampton
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great. I would want to push back on a few details, but I’m a big fan of Rowan Williams, and I really enjoyed this book.
Crosby Cobb
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Read this for a class and was thoroughly refreshed! Williams writes with gentleness and great thought!
Stephen Dufton
This is a useful introduction to the faith . It speaks in modern language to those who have been educated in a secular and scientific background. Scientific knowledge is explicitly accepted and scripture seen to be a vehicle for the working the holy spirit rather than a magic literal text book. Material evil is intrinsic in the way the universe is built , and human evil the product of historic evil built into our cultural , economic and social background (= original sin) plus personal falling aw ...more
Tim Hoiland
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, anglican, 2016
“Initially, the Reformation was an attempt to put the Bible at the heart of the Church again – not to give it into the hands of private readers. The Bible was to be seen as a public document, the charter of the Church’s life; all believers should have access to it because all would need to know the common language of the Church and the standards by which the Church argued about theology and behaviour. The huge Bibles that were chained up in English churches in the sixteenth century were there as ...more
Ann Mcelligott
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Tokens of Trust by the Archbishop of Canterbury is based on talks he gave in the weeks before Easter of 2005. He explores the basics of the Christian faith by following the outline of the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. The commentary explores the themes of: trusting in God, creation, Jesus, suffering, the church and life after death. In his discussion of creation he gives an excellent explication of the "problem of evil." In the section on the church, Williams proposes that the church is centered a ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has a great ability to distil intricate church doctrine and history into easily-understandable readings without losing any of the original's magnitude. In Tokens of Trust, he takes the two great creeds of Christianity (the Apostles' and Nicene) and examines the implications to our faith and to our lives when we affirm that we believe those ancient and yet always current and true words.

This short but detailed work is perfect for devotional study or
Robert D. Cornwall
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
In a beautifully illustrated book -- featuring the artwork of artist David Jones -- the former Archbishop of Canterbury invites us to consider the witness of the Creeds (Apostles and Nicene). The chapters that take us from confession of faith in God the Almighty to the hope of the resurrection are based on talks given in the weeks prior to Easter (2005) by Rowan Williams at Canterbury Cathedral.

Thoughtful and engaging -- worth reading -- a very accessible introduction to the Christian faith from
May 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This is a really helpful little book that summarizes key points of Christian belief, using the Apostle's and Nicene creed as an outline. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a brief introduction, as the subtitle says, to Christian belief. The key is that we do not just learn what Christians "believe" as in head knowledge, but belief is properly cast as trust from beginning to end. ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book for my church book group. As a life-long Episcopalian, I was not sure what I would learn by further examining the creeds that I have recited for rote for years. However, while there were certainly parts that did not speak to me (as it is written as an introduction to the faith), there were parts where I learned or thought about things that I had never known. So, in that way, I am grateful that I read this book, even though I found some parts a bit tedious, personally.
Jamie Howison
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is, I think, my fourth time through this book, always in the context of an adult baptismal group or a book club. Though not everyone always agrees with me (maybe because they're not so taken by Williams' writing style as I am), I think he does a simply great job of offering a sort of primer on Christian belief. The underlying theme is "trust," and for me what he ultimately shows is that this faith is a trustworthy way of being in the world. ...more
Sam Eccleston
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Far be it from be to criticise the work of Rowan Williams; this book is engaging, clearly written, and tackles the subject matter with just the right amount of depth. However, it is clearly aimed at those who have not seriously thought about Christian belief before, and so for those more familiar with Christian ideas it is a return to old ground.
Imaduddin Ahmed
Dec 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
The charlatan is saying God asked Mary whether He could impregnate her and she consented. He may have reasons for arriving at these thoughts, but given that he wasn't there and hadn't talked to Mary, he shouldn't be sermonising this as the truth. No better than a provincial cleric in genocidal Rwanda spouting off rubbish that comes to the top of his mind. ...more
Sarah Maguire
A beautifully presented and illustrated book. Despite being a 'beginners' guide' I found it quite subtle and allusive, designed to appeal on a spiritual and emotional rather than purely intellectual level. I've a feeling some of it may have gone over my 'head' on this first reading. It's a book to return to and ponder upon. ...more
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Rowan Douglas Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, is an Anglican bishop, poet, and theologian. He was Archbishop of Canterbury from December 2002-2012, and is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and Chancellor of the University of South Wales.

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“The Reformation was an attempt to put the Bible at the heart of the Church again--not to give it into the hands of private readers. The Bible was to be seen as a public document, the charter of the Church's life; all believers should have access to it because all would need to know the common language of the Church and the standards by which the Church argued about theology and behaviour. The huge Bibles that were chained up in English churches in the sixteenth century were there as a sign of this. It was only as the rapid development of cheap printing advanced that the Bible as a single affordable volume came to be within everyone's reach as something for individuals to possess and study in private. The leaders of the Reformation would have been surprised to be associated with any move to encourage anyone and everyone to form their own conclusions about the Bible. For them, it was once again a text to be struggled with in the context of prayer and shared reflection.” 11 likes
“[Knowing God]... call it love, yes, only that can sound too emotional, or call it faith, and that can sound too cerebral. And what is it? Both, and neither... [its] the decision to be faithful, the patient refusal of easy gratifications... of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane and on the cross, that bloody crown of love and faith. That is how I learn finally of a God who will not be fitted into my catergories and expectations... the living truth too great for me to see, trusting that He will see and judge and yet not turn me away... That is the mercy which will never give us, or even let us be content with less than itself and less than the truth... we have seen the truth enacted in our own world as mercy, grace and hope, as Jesus, the only-begotten, full of grace and truth..” 5 likes
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