Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions, written by James A. Beverley and published by Thomas Nelson is the ultimate comprehensive guide on religions of the world. It is the most thorough book on the numerous religions I have encountered. When I received the book at one o’clock in the afternoon, I spent the rest of the afternoon skimming  through the 740 page volume, reading much of it. I returned to other projects, but I kept picking Beverley’s book back up for another look. It is a book I will keep close at hand for future reference and referral.

It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to name a religion or cult that Beverley does not identify. The author is commendably objective in his reporting on the many religions and cults of the world, past and present. Other than the most common religions of Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Scientology, Unification Church, and Sikhism, Beverley also includes chapters on groups of the New Age movement, Christian Sectarian groups, Satanism, and Witchcraft.

The Illustrated Guide to Religions includes a chapter on the Branch Davidians, their timeline, and the tenuous connection with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (included in the section on Christian sectarian groups). Each section contains a history of the religion, movement, or cult, a timeline(s), chart of facts, and list of resources for those who wish to inquire further. A list of frequently asked questions follows many sections, particularly where misconceptions abound and are common.

In sections on religions not having a Christian worldview, Beverley provides ways for  Christians to respond to those religions. As Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario and Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California, Beverley is extremely knowledgeable on the subject and presents a thorough, in depth overview of religions of the world. The author’s research was extensive and thorough, even listing the top subgroups, histories, and myths/facts pertaining to each religion.

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions should be on the shelf of anyone desiring a knowledge of world religions, and Christians seeking  to know more about other religions in  order to dialogue with people of other faiths. The overall quality of the book itself is superior, with beautiful photographs and illustrations – combined with the text in an eye-catching layout. It is the most comprehensive guide for a Christian on the subject of other religions. It is, without a doubt, the book to suggest to anyone who only wants to buy or read one book on the subject of religions.

Peace be with you.

[Note: I was given the book for review by Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated in any way.]

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