Historical Theology Hardcover – 30 Apr 2011
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From the Back Cover
Most historical theology texts follow Christian beliefs chronologically, discussing notable doctrinal developments for all areas of theology according to their historical appearance. And while this may be good history, it can make for confusing theology, with the classic theological loci scattered throughout various time periods, movements, and controversies. In Historical Theology, Gregg Allison offers students the opportunity to study the historical development of theology according to a topical-chronological arrangement, setting out the history of Christian doctrine one theological element at a time. Such an approach allows readers to concentrate on one tenet of Christianity and its formulation in the early church, through the Middle Ages, Reformation, and post-Reformation era, and into the modern period. The text includes a generous mix of primary source material as well, citing the words of Cyprian, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth, and others. Allison references the most accessible editions of these notable theologians' work so that readers can continue their study of historical theology through Christian history's most important contributors. Historical Theology is a superb resource for those familiar with Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology or interested in understanding the development of Christian theology.
About the Author
Gregg Allison (PhD) is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky where he teaches systematic theology. Previously he served on Cru staff at the University of Notre Dame and overseas in Italy and the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. He is a pastor of Sojourn Community Church, and is the theological strategist for Sojourn Network, a church planting network of about thirty churches. He is the author of Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine; Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church; and Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment.
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Allison gives us eight solid reasons for studying Historical Theology:
1) "helping [those who study it to] distinguish orthodoxy from heresy."
2) "it provides sound biblical interpretations and theological formulations."
3) "it presents stellar examples of faith, love, courage, hope, obedience, and mercy."
4) "to protect against the individualism that is rampant today among Christians."
5) "it not only helps the church understand the historical development of its beliefs, but enables it to express those beliefs in contemporary form."
6) "it encourages the church to focus on the essentials, that is, to major on those areas that have been emphasized repeatedly throughout the history of the church."
7) "it gives the church hope by providing assurance that Jesus is fulfilling his promise to his people."
8) "finally, as beneficiaries of the heritage of doctrinal development sovereignly overseen by Jesus Christ, the church of today is privileged to enjoy a sense of belonging to the church of the past."
This book is simply a marvelous plethora of useful information on the development of theology gathered in one place, synthesized masterfully by Allison for those who want to know how theology has come to us by the greatest theological minds in history. The author follows the same outline of Wayne Grudem's "Systematic Theology," (also available from Zondervan), and thus it makes this resource an excellent companion of Grudem's outstanding work. I highly recommend both of these resources to be used together for anyone who desires to know what we believe and how the greatest God-centered theologians of history have developed the sound theology needed to transform lives and culture today in the 21st century.
While I've talked only of the chapter on Creation, Allison's book is a wide and deep history of systematic theology. In the early 1980's I attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and took Elementary Greek from a 33 year old Dr. Grudem. Greg Allison was the top student in that class. I had written Greg Allison's phone number in my Elementary Greek Grammer so I could call him for help. Thanks for helping Greg, then and now.
Historical Theology is patterned after Wayne Grudem's, Systematic Theology and follows a topical-chronological framework that makes studying historical theology a real delight. For those familiar with historical theology, a discipline that is often presented in a dull and dreary manner, Allison's work is a gift that will be utilized and appreciated by many Bible students and pastors.
Historical Theology is arranged in seven sections:
Part 1: The Doctrine of the Word of God
Part 2: The Doctrine of God
Part 3: The Doctrine of Humanity
Part 4: The Doctrines of Christ and the Holy Spirit
Part 5: The Doctrine of the Application of Redemption
Part 6: The Doctrine of the Church
Part 7: The Doctrine of the Future
Each section follows a predictable pattern that moves readers through the respective doctrinal developments that begin with the early church and proceed to the middle ages, the Reformation, and the modern period.
The author presents historical developments in a fair and gracious manner. He alerts readers to matters that pertain to heretical proclivities as well as orthodox dogma.
Historical Theology will no doubt serve as the standard textbook in Bible College and Seminaries for many years to come.