Systematic Theology for Newbies?

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Posts 40
Joe Newell | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Aug 23 2010 6:49 AM

Can any of you recommend a good Systematic Theology for a relatively new Christian? I was educated at a Presbyterian college, but most of my reading there had to do was book specific commentaries. I have been itching to curl up with a good Systematic Theology since my rebirth. Despite loving Logos, I would really like to find something in either hardcover or paperback form.

Later in this year, I expect to join a class at my church which will be studying Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, so I would like to begin with something else. I hold to inerrancy of the Bible, so I don't want to go too far afield.

Thank you very much for your suggestions. If I can clarify what I'm looking for better, please just ask. I'm so new that it's hard for me to even figure out how to ask and specify what might help you to generate suggestions, so please bear with me.

Joe

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 6:57 AM

Joseph,

Great question - to some extent almost any SysTheo is a good place to start, but I have a few favorites for early usage:

Foundations of the Christian Faith by Boice is a great entry into Sys Theo.  I also greatly enjoy Millard Ericksons Christian Theology, 2nd ed.

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

Posts 1680
Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 7:02 AM

The Foundations of Christian Doctrine A Practical Guide to Christian Belief by Kevin J. Conner.  Published by City Bible Publishing.  It is fairly basic with a broad appeal.  It gives abundant scriptural references and comes from a conservative perspective.   I'm sure others have more suggestions.  God bless your adventure!

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

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Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 7:11 AM

Thomas,

thanks for the tip on Boice...

My favorite (at the moment) is Robert Reymond's Systematic Theology...very readable and clear. And bonus...not really expensive...

 

http://www.logos.com/ebooks/details/NSYSTHEO

 

 

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 40
Joe Newell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 7:13 AM

Thank you for such quick and thoughtful responses. I did look into Packer's Concise Theology, but at 288 pages, it seemed a bit concise even for somebody as green as me. I have a dear friend helping me along this walk very much enjoys what Packer has written, though.

Robert Culver and Robert Reymond both have books that appear interesting to me, and are available at pretty reasonable prices in readable condition. Does anyone have any experience with either of these, who might point me out to strengths or pitfalls in what they have to offer?

Joe

Posts 709
Russ Quinn | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 7:31 AM

Culver is an excellent resource. I have a hardcopy version that is in brand new condition that I would sell for $25 + shipping.

Another resource to consider from primarily Baptist theologians is A Theology for the Church edited by Danny Akin.

http://www.amazon.com/Theology-Church-Daniel-L-Akin/dp/080542640X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282573871&sr=8-1

Posts 5622
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 7:34 AM

I find Reymond very useful.  But, don't overlook Calvin's Institutes.  He wrote it as a teaching tool for young believers--"Seeing, then, how necessary it was in this manner to aid those who desire to be instructed in the doctrine of salvation, I have endeavoured, according to the ability which God has given me, to employ myself in so doing, and with this view have composed the present book."

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Posts 40
Joe Newell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 7:55 AM

I see Institutes available in Kindle format for $6.99, and I enjoy the Kindle app on my iPad very much..  It sounds like I really can't go wrong with either, or both, Culver and Reymond in printed form.

Do you suppose that systematic theology collecting could become an addiction?  :) 

Joe

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:01 AM

 

Joseph Newell:
I see Institutes available in Kindle format for $6.99,

Hi Joe

I don't know what base package you have but most of them already include Calvin's Institutes

Graham

Posts 5622
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:16 AM

Joseph Newell:
I see Institutes available in Kindle format for $6.99, and I enjoy the Kindle app on my iPad very much.. 

I saw you said you had Logos Silver, and that includes Calvin's Institutes, so you can already read it on your iPad for free.

Joseph Newell:
It sounds like I really can't go wrong with either, or both, Culver and Reymond in printed form.

For what it's worth,  Reymond is Presbyterian, and Culver is a Baptist (I believe).   So having both would give you two perspectives.

Joseph Newell:
Do you suppose that systematic theology collecting could become an addiction?  :) 

Yes, but I try to get all of mine in Logos.  Saves on shelf space:

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Posts 40
Joe Newell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:16 AM

Indeed mine does, Graham.  Thank you very much! 

Is it the Beveridge or Battles translation?

Joe

Posts 5622
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:17 AM

Joseph Newell:
Is it the Beveridge or Battles translation?

Beveridge .  Battles is only available in paper format. (Grrr)

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Posts 40
Joe Newell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:24 AM

Todd, that is an impressive collection!!  I really appreciate the wonderful help in this forum.

I've been shocked that no Martin Luther pubs are in my collection!

Posts 5622
Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:38 AM

Joseph Newell:
I've been shocked that no Martin Luther pubs are in my collection!

Yes, most of Luther's writings are bound up in the 55 volume set of Luther's Works

Also available is a one-volume summary of his writings: Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings

The only works that are available individually are Luther's Commentary On Galatians and Martin Luther's 95 Theses

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J.R. Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 9:19 AM

Joseph Newell:
Can any of you recommend a good Systematic Theology for a relatively new Christian?
 In seminary, I grew to appreciate Oden's works and love them in Logos.  I think Oden does a good job of giving background, pointing out the different theological traditions on each topic and then giving a summary of his own theological conclusions.

Thomas C. Oden’s Systematic Theology (3 Vols.)

http://www.logos.com/products/details/3682

 

My Books in Logos & FREE Training

Posts 77
Geneva Smith Krag | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 10:01 AM

Joseph,

I found Ryrie's Survey of Bible Doctrine to be very useful as a new student of Theology. It fills out the Theology outline in the back of the Ryrie Study Bible. In 190+ pages, Ryrie summarizes doctrine in a concise fashion. His perspective is Dispensational. It has the additional advantage of already being in your library on Logos 4, thus no cost to check it out.

Posts 205
Stephen Paynter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 1:23 PM

Well, my first choice for a new Christian is always Grudem - he is so devotional, as well as clear, and a lot of the time actually quotes the Bible rather than just references it (if I remember correctly). Not only that, but as a Calvinistic Baptist non-cessationist ... Grudem agrees with me!!

However, the first one I read as a "relatively new Christian" was Louis Berkhof's, and I still like to go back to Berkhof. He is wonderfully concise ... using his words almost forensically ... a real joy if you like careful writing and thinking. He is Reformed Presbyterian. Although less verbose than Grudem, he covers a lot of ground - and actually ties up a lot of the relationships between doctrines (something that Grudem fails to do.) Berkhof, for example, makes clear what a Reformed doctrine of paedo-baptism will mean for your understanding of God's decrees.

If I remember correctly, Grudem is pre-mill, and Berkhof, amill - so they complement each other nicely on that topic.

I know lots of people say Raymond has replaced Berkhof, and to some extent I agree. Although personally I prefer Berkhof's infralapsarian position, to Raymond's supralapsarian position. Berkhof ... for me ... is still ... sharper and clearer.

Posts 1674
Paul N | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 1:34 PM

As Stephen recommended Grudem's Systematic Theology is great if you find yourself asking why alot and his application to everyday devotionals makes it an enjoyable read!

 

For a bit of a modern day trailblazer that takes an interesting perspective on the world beteen Calvin and Arminius, Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology balances some of the Calvinistic leanings of Grudem.

 

Showing my true colors and more in line with Grudem, James P. Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology may be worth the read as well

I own Grudem and Boyce and look to buy Geisler in paper form soon.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 23 2010 6:09 PM

Stephen Edward Paynter:
supralapsarian

Stephen Edward Paynter:
infralapsarian

Stephen Edward Paynter:
non-cessationist

Okay, this is clearly a foreign language to me. Big Smile Could you save me some time and give me a clue of what positions these words imply?

Edit: Checked out cessationism in wikipedia so I now have one loosely under my belt. Even found it in my Logos collection - but not enough to make much sense out of it. Thought about a topics.logos.com but got discouraged by a crash caused by aggressive Apple software ... the I'm going to update another user's ipod software and if you say no I'm going to seize control of your computer ...  so I lost the entry in progress.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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