An earlier, self-described "very conservative evangelical" reviewer criticized the essays in this collection for their "questionable" liberal conclusions. It's curious how different people can read the same text and arrive at different conclusions. My own reading of this anthology is that the essays strive (perhaps overly much, in fact) to stay in the middle of the road. Few people would describe Robert Jenson or Stanley Hauerwas, two of the contributors, as "liberal" theologians. They're certainly adventurous and prophetic, but also utterly orthodox (this isn't meant, by the way, as criticism).
Perhaps what displeased the earlier reviewer is this: _The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine_ takes as its working assumption the need of doctrinal theology to walk a fine line between remaining loyal to tradition on the one hand and re-thinking that tradition in light of each new generation's experience on the other. In the West, we've moved out of the modern into the postmodern era. Modernist modes of interpreting Christian doctrine cry to be replaced with newer ones that reflect the new postmodern ethos. Otherwise, the Good News runs the risk of coming across as increasingly irrelevant to too many people. The contributors to this volume aim to read traditional doctrine against this new background.
The essays are divided into two sections. The first deals with the nature and scope of doctrinal theology and its relationship to nonChristian traditions (Judaism) and the symbols of secular society (the arts). The second examines several key topics traditionally included in doctrinal or systematic theology: the trinity, creation, anthropology, sacraments, Christology, pneumatology, eschatology.
Geoffrey Wainwright's essay on "The Holy Spirit" is especially noteworthy. Perhaps the single best essay in the entire collection, it seeks to reawaken the West to theological reflection on the Holy Spirit without falling victim to a "pneumatological hypertrophy" characteristic of, for example, Pentecostalism (p. 289). Equally worthy of note is Gerard Loughlin's "The Basis and Authority of Doctrine," which attempts a postmodern reading of that most un-postmodern of doctrines: authority. But although of varying quality, none of the articles in the collection are heavy-handed or simplistic. There are certain gaps in the collection--the editor himself seems uncomfortable that no essay explicitly dealing with the topics of justification and sanctification is included, and on a related note, I worry about the lack of a sustained treatment of grace. But all in all, a good, through-provoking anthology.