Systematic Theology Class

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Apr 9 2015 6:15 AM

What is a good resource to introduce a group at church to systematic theology in a neutral manner? Any suggestions?

For example, one that gives multiple sides of an argument, has a Logos edition, but still available in hard copies for the class as well.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 6:34 AM

I will be interested to see what responses you get. 

I don't have a recommendation, at least not at the moment. I would certainly want to have read said book before using it. I also think it is important that the book be readable and inexpensive, unless the group is well read and able to drop $50+ for a book study. 

I took a quick look at Vyrso and found this, but have not read it: https://vyrso.com/product/39069/an-introduction-to-christian-theology 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 6:37 AM

Maybe this: https://vyrso.com/product/23684/christianity-101-your-guide-to-eight-basic-christian-beliefs 

Again, I haven't read it. 

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 6:48 AM

Yeah the class won't start until September so I will have plenty of time to review recommendations. I have also considered just writing my own but obviously that would be a good bit of work.

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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 7:29 AM

This is a pretty open question without knowing you flavor of church, education of people, etc.  There are several books along the lines of basics of Christianity, Bite-size theology, Intro to...  

My suggestion is that if you have this much time, write your own.  You will become intimate and confident in your material instead of just regurgitating something you just read back to them.  You begin to master the material.  As on of the most important pillars of Christian study, I wouldn't be lax on this at all, personally.  

FWIW, I have used Grudem's and baby Grudem's for one on one with those who have no theology background to good success.

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 7:59 AM

Everett Headley:

This is a pretty open question without knowing you flavor of church, education of people, etc.  There are several books along the lines of basics of Christianity, Bite-size theology, Intro to...  

My suggestion is that if you have this much time, write your own.  You will become intimate and confident in your material instead of just regurgitating something you just read back to them.  You begin to master the material.  As on of the most important pillars of Christian study, I wouldn't be lax on this at all, personally.  

FWIW, I have used Grudem's and baby Grudem's for one on one with those who have no theology background to good success.

Oh trust me, I am very familiar with the material. My problem is I am not sure I actually have the time to write it myself. Our church is conservative, close to Southern Baptist. But the guys in the group want a broad overview and I wasn't familiar with a source that would cover a broad range of the topics.

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James Hiddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:03 AM

alabama24:

Yes

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Norman Low | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:09 AM

Two useful books that are not available in Logos:

Decide for Yourself by Gordon R. Lewis

Know What You Believe by Paul Little

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Alan | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:09 AM

This might be something else to at least explore

https://www.logos.com/product/7799/introducing-christian-doctrine 

Although the hardcover is about $20

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John Kight | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:17 AM

Another option would be to use a resource like Millard Erickson's Introducing Christian Doctrine and filling in the gaps with supplemental material of your own as needed. Of course, you could really use any introductory systematic theology (I found that the abridged, less technical resources worked best in my context and allowed me more room to broaden the scope of discussion). I taught a class with this method last year and used Wayne Grudem's Christian Beliefs.  

For book reviews and more visit sojotheo.com 

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:23 AM

Those are all very good suggestions, thanks everyone. And yes, I agree I will have to supplement some material with my own as well.

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:23 AM

Has anyone read Sproul's Everyone's a Theologian?

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:26 AM

I don't know that it fits your definition of "neutral manner" but Wayne Grudem is pretty irenic in his presentations. Of course there is his resource in Logos - https://www.logos.com/product/8413/systematic-theology-an-introduction-to-biblical-doctrine but it is also reduced to a 20 session book in https://www.logos.com/product/26684/christian-beliefs-twenty-basics-every-christian-should-know Free MP3s of Grudem teaching a Sunday School class based upon the first book I linked can be found here - http://www.christianessentialssbc.com/messages/ The 20 session book is also available as a DVD curriculum here http://www.christianbook.com/christian-beliefs-life-transforming-truths-curriculum/pd/010008?event=ESRCG 

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:29 AM

David Thomas:

I don't know that it fits your definition of "neutral manner" but Wayne Grudem is pretty irenic in his presentations. Of course there is his resource in Logos - https://www.logos.com/product/8413/systematic-theology-an-introduction-to-biblical-doctrine but it is also reduced to a 20 session book in https://www.logos.com/product/26684/christian-beliefs-twenty-basics-every-christian-should-know Free MP3s of Grudem teaching a Sunday School class based upon the first book I linked can be found here - http://www.christianessentialssbc.com/messages/ The 20 session book is also available as a DVD curriculum here http://www.christianbook.com/christian-beliefs-life-transforming-truths-curriculum/pd/010008?event=ESRCG 

Ah good find. Thank you!

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 8:32 AM

A good resource that I have used (that is probably more in depth than you are looking for right now) is http://reclaimingthemind.org/product/complete-theology-program-dvd-and-workbook/ 

I went through this curriculum 3 times with different groups in my last church. Each of the 60 sessions takes about 2 hours to present and discuss. It was developed by 2 Dallas Theological Seminary grads who where on staff at Chuck Swindoll's church in Frisco, TX. It uses Grudem's "Systematic Theology" as a core text then rounds it out with Roger Olsen's "Mosaic of Christian Belief"

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 9:32 AM

David Thomas:

A good resource that I have used (that is probably more in depth than you are looking for right now) is http://reclaimingthemind.org/product/complete-theology-program-dvd-and-workbook/ 

I went through this curriculum 3 times with different groups in my last church. Each of the 60 sessions takes about 2 hours to present and discuss. It was developed by 2 Dallas Theological Seminary grads who where on staff at Chuck Swindoll's church in Frisco, TX. It uses Grudem's "Systematic Theology" as a core text then rounds it out with Roger Olsen's "Mosaic of Christian Belief"

Yeah I have seen that, haven't been through it but like what I have seen, but as you guessed, that wouldn't really fit within our format (or budget). My budget with my ministry at church is my own piggy bank.... Smile

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 9:38 AM

Erickson's Christian theology is more neutral than Grudem, shorter than Owen, perhaps a little too deep, but well divided into sections which you could skip or cover as needed. Available in Logos and $33 for the 1200 page hardcover on Amazon. If you are looking for something balanced which you can cover certain sections of in an overview class, where they will have the rest as reference, Erickson will be hard to beat.

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BriM | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 12:40 PM

I'm also starting a class like this for our church in September.

I'm making slides from Erickson Christian Theology 3rd Edition (https://www.logos.com/product/29621/christian-theology-3rd-ed), Grudem Systematic Theology (https://www.logos.com/product/8413/systematic-theology-an-introduction-to-biblical-doctrine), Grenz Theology for the Community of God (Prebub in https://www.logos.com/product/43925/eerdmans-stanley-j-grenz-collection)and Grudem Christian Beliefs (https://www.logos.com/product/26684/christian-beliefs-twenty-basics-every-christian-should-know).

I have two groups in mind: upcoming leaders and recent converts and plan to run a single course covering the same topics but with the attendees breaking into two streams as appropriate for their level and interest. Hence I have the more advanced Erickson/Grudem/Grenz plus the basics level Grudem.

I hadn't thought of Erickson Introducing Christian Doctrine (https://www.logos.com/product/7799/introducing-christian-doctrine) but it looks interesting. (Not sure I want to buy it though - I've bought the full Theology in 2nd and 3rd editions and not sure I want to pay again for an abridgement of the same.)

We'll be mostly making our own material but will get copies of the reference books for the church library. I don't expect people will buy the textbooks.

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elnwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 1:26 PM

To add to your list, I hear great things about Bruce Milne's Know the Truth as a basic theology text. It has an endorsement from J. I. Packer and is on its third edition.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 9 2015 1:56 PM

J.I. Packer's Concise Theology might be a good choice. It presents the subject in small topical chunks of a couple of pages each, which could easily be covered in a single session each. He is a very clear and precise writer. It is on sale right now for 60% off in March Madness, which ends soon. Worth picking up at that incredible bargain price, even if you don't end up using it for your class. And yes, it is still in print. High ratings on Amazon.

https://www.logos.com/product/155/concise-theology 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0842339604 

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