Systematic theology recommendation

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Posts 266
Greg Corbin | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Feb 25 2016 6:06 PM

My library has reached the stage where I am strategically adding resources to strengthen key places. I am looking for one more really good systematic theology. I have Grudem and Erickson, along with several classics like Hodge and Berkof.

I am considering Geisler and Chafer.  Of the two which is the best in your opinion?  Any other recommendations for a conservative, evangelical perspective?

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 6:50 PM

John Frame is pretty good.

https://www.logos.com/product/49812/systematic-theology-an-introduction-to-christian-belief

A buddy of mine was a research assistant for Geisler. I haven't personally read much of Geisler, but I did read the book my friend co-authored with the man and if I'm honest he/they were reaching on a few points... However 99% of it was great.

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Posts 453
Dave Moser | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 7:00 PM

It's really hard to answer a question like this because there are so many options and the term "evangelical" really doesn't have an agreed-upon meaning anymore.

First, the two names you mentioned:

  1. I'm not too familiar with Geisler's work so I won't comment on him.
  2. Chafer is a niche theologian. If you're interested in studying classic Dispensationalism (almost entirely gone in the academy but still present in the pews) he's probably the best source.

Second, some recommendations:

  1. If you're looking for something at the same era of Chafer but with a classic view of ecclesiology I'd recommend someone like Charles Hodge.
  2. I'm a Baptist but I tend to prefer Presbyterian systematicians, so I can't recommend Bavinck, Voss,* and Turretin** highly enough.
  3. Don't forget some classic works. Gill, Calvin, and Pope (if you're interested in a Wesleyan take) are valuable.

Of the writing of systematic theologies there is no end, so it's difficult for anyone to do more than scratch the surface and point out a few of their favorites. If you don't have Calvin get him. Even if you aren't into TULIP a) you have to deal with him in conservative evangelicalism and b) based on his reputation you'll be surprised how little of the Institutes have to do with divine sovereignty.

__________________________

* Voss is a special resource. He is only available in English through Logos - Faithlife did the translation.

** As a scholastic theologian, Turretin is an acquired taste but absolutely worth the effort. My mind is expanded not just because of the content of his writing, but having learned how to read him.

Posts 1663
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 8:02 PM

Greg Corbin:
Any other recommendations for a conservative, evangelical perspective?

Would you consider Michael Bird, Evangelical Theology (Zondervan, 2013)?

Bird is very good. It's recent. And it has the advantage that it comes from a slightly different angle from the resources you already have, i.e. he makes the evangel (the gospel) the core of his system. It's not perfect, but it's certainly refreshing.

Posts 3942
abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 9:13 PM

If you're baptist, you might consider Daniel Akin's tome on theology. There are two editions. The first sells for under 10$ in dead tree format, while the newer edition sells for three times that.

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Posts 1933
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 5:31 AM

Michael Horton: https://www.logos.com/product/26683/the-christian-faith-a-systematic-theology-for-pilgrims-on-the-way It takes a bit of a different approach, but quite good. As I understand it, this resource https://www.logos.com/product/50396/pilgrim-theology-core-doctrines-for-christian-disciples is an abbreviated version of that material.

-Donnie

Posts 83
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 6:18 AM

Systematic theologies are like a box of chocolate...you never know what you'll get.  Oops wrong quote...but they are a matter of taste, nevertheless since you asked...  You already have some excellent suggestions and some good theologies, Grudem and Erickson are probably the most popular evangelical theologies out there (Bird is up there too),  Hodge is a classic and Berkof is considered very highly in West Michigan among the Reformed.  If I were to recommend just one evangelical theology that would add to what you already have, but come at things from a different perspective it would be to purchase Oden's 3 vol systematic theology.  It aims at teaching what a broad orthodoxy has always believed, but of course his Wesleyan bias undoubtedly shines through at points.  And of course that's what adds value to the theologies you already have.  If I had ample funds I would pick up both Oden and Bird.  

Posts 945
Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 7:01 AM

I'd agree with Dave above on his thoughts on Chafer, Calvin, Voss, Bavnick, Gill, and Frame.  Frame's is newest to me and I'm still digesting it, but I have found it to be very good so far.

I would steer you away from Geisler (I feel his expertise in apologetic is better served than to reference his systematic.  I don't use it anymore at all)  and from Akin (I found the work to be more narrative than systematic and only in a few spots did it add much to the other contemporary (last 40 years or so) systematics.  

FWIW, I am Baptist in heritage and Reformed in my persuasion.  And I highly value systematic theologies.

Posts 586
Randall Cue | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 11:48 AM

Dr. Robert Culver's systematic theology is the one I would recommend. It is available in Logos.

Soli Deo Gloria

Randy

Posts 259
scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 11:51 AM

Dr. Robert Culver's systematic theology is the one I would recommend. It is available in Logos.

Could you perhaps amplify a bit as to why??

Posts 586
Randall Cue | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 12:10 PM

scooter:

Dr. Robert Culver's systematic theology is the one I would recommend. It is available in Logos.

Could you perhaps amplify a bit as to why??

Here is a quote from Al Mohler:

Here is a bold, Comprehensive, and faithful systematic theology. This work is based clearly upon a biblical foundation and is marked by genuine scholarship, doctrinal clarity, and historical insight. Culver provides his readers with an encyclopedic breath of material, but he is also bold to write with conviction and verve.

Here is a quote from J.I. Packer:

Dr. Culver is a veteran teacher in the classic evangelical and Reformed stream of Christian understanding, and this wide-ranging, well-directed, sharp-sighted textbook, the fruit of decades of reading, thinking, and classroom encounters, is his magnum opus...Within the group of recent conservative systematic theologies this one stands high as a demonstration of the biblical rationality of the Reformed faith.

There are also endorsements by Walter Kaiser, Timothy George, Paige Patterson, Warren Wiersbe, and Richard Mayhue. I knew Dr. Culver personally as he was the father of my brother-in-law.

Soli Deo Gloria

Randy

Posts 259
scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 12:19 PM

Thank you, Randall.  I need to read his book, I can see.

Posts 266
Greg Corbin | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 1:51 PM

Thanks everyone. Great recommendations - some of which I had not heard of. 

Posts 245
Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2016 8:34 AM

I enjoy Geisler.

Thomas Oden is also really good (https://www.logos.com/product/3683/systematic-theology) although some might argue with labelling him as a conservative evangelical :-) 

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