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Systematic Theology

I recently picked up a copy of Wayne Grudem's Sytematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. I read through the first chapter last night and I think I'm going to really enjoy working though this book. It's going to be tough and I'm sure it will challenge me almost every step of the way, but I really need something like that in my spiritual life right now. I've been "coasting" for too long, it's time to flex my muscles a bit and engage in some serious study. When I'm done, it will be interesting to see how much I agree with Grudem.

One of the things that I like about this book is that it has personal application questions at the end of each chapter. I'm going to try to actually answer those questions instead of simply reading them and moving on.

The book weighs in at 57 chapters and well over 1,000 pages. And it's far from light reading. So I'm sure it will take me quite some time to work through it. But it's a journey I'm going to enjoy going on.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
meep
Jun. 20th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a good project. Considering that Christianity (and Judaism before it) has been around for some thousands of years, be glad it's only 1000 pages to read!
jeffholton
Jun. 20th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
*chuckle*

That reminds me a little of Latourette's intro to his two-volume Christian history set. He basically says, "Be glad I'm writing this in the MIDDLE of ongoing Christian history. You're only going to have more to read later."
drmellow
Jun. 20th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
Right. I intentionally picked a systematic theology book that was lengthy enough to have a reasonable treatment of the subjects, but not so lengthy (e.g. multi-volumed) that I'd end up completely turned off by it.

From what I've seen so far, the thousands of years isn't going to be so much of an issue because Grudem appears to be going to lay out his arguments from the Bible, with little attention to tradition. Meh. That didn't sound right. Let me find how he put it....
Moreover, even though historical and philosophical studies do contribute to our understanding of theological questions, only Scripture has the final authority to define what we are to believe, and it is therefore appropriate to spend some time focusing on the process of analyzing the teaching of Scripture itself. (p. 22)
We'll see how he does it. I've only read the introductory chapter so far, so I'm not sure how he's going to end up treating history and tradition once he gets to deeper subjects.
jeffholton
Jun. 20th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
I recognize that we may have different temperaments, but if you like recommendations, I liked Stan Grenz' "Theology for the Community of God" more than Grudem.
drmellow
Jun. 20th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have a feeling that I'm not going to be completely on board with Grudem. But I figured that could be part of the fun. I don't do it enough, but I enjoy arguing with books.

Thanks for the recommendation -- I've filed it away and will no doubt check it out at some point.
jeffholton
Jun. 20th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I don't do it enough, but I enjoy arguing with books.

Goodness, I think we were cut from the same...uh...clay.

:)

Can't read a book without a pen in one hand to write death threats in the margins either, eh? :)
drmellow
Jun. 20th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
Whenever I look at a non-fiction book, one of the first things I look at is the size of the margins. I want to know if I'll need to get a supplementary notebook for my reading or if I'll have enough room in the space provided. I always hope for enough margin room, because I seem to have problems keeping my books and my notebooks from getting separated. Every now and then, I consider putting my notes in the computer, but I haven't gone that far yet.
asqmh
Jun. 20th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
I cannot find acurate words to describe how much I despise Wayne Grudem and his "theological" works. I think he does far more damage than good.
inheritrix
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm considering taking up his book to read based on drmellow's high praise. Can you tell me what your concerns with him are if it might affect my desire to read his work?
drmellow
Jul. 16th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
Just to be clear, my praise isn't all that "high" at this point. ;-) I'm still checking it out, and asqmh's reservations about Grudem are reservations I take seriously as I've been working through it. The stuff I've read so far is pretty basic, I expect that once I get into more controversial topics (especially gender roles, based on what I've been able to find about Grudem's background), I'll probably find myself arguing with the book much more than I am now.

However, it can be profitable to argue theology. And I always enjoy learning more about what other people think regarding matters of faith. So I'm continuing on with my reading. I also think that if I do eventually go to seminary, this is not the book they will use as the Systematic Theology text, so I'm looking forward to being familiar with an alternate systematic theology as I end up working through whatever text they do use.

And, for the record, I've ordered a copy of Grentz' Theology for the Community of God based on jeffholton's recommendation above. It hasn't arrived yet, though.

So, anyway, while I am enjoying working through Grudem's book, I'm not ready to give it "high praise" (yet?).
inheritrix
Jul. 16th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
ok, so you take what he says with a grain of salt and the other user abhor's him. I still want to know why. What are the controversial things he is pushing that offend?

I didn't know you knew Jeff. Cool.
drmellow
Jul. 16th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
So far, I haven't seen anything too controversial. I'm still in the "basics" part -- "Does God exist?" "Is the Bible true?" "Can we know God?" etc. From the bit of research I've done on Grudem, however, he seems to be pretty outspoken when it comes to gender issues: specifically, he very much holds a complementarian theological view. I don't know how I feel about that yet. I expect to wrestle with it when I get to those sections of doctrine in his book.

And, while what I've read so far isn't too controversial, his writing does smack from time to time as anti-Roman Catholic, anti-Mormon, and anti-Jehovah's Witness. So far, not really in an "in your face" sort of way, but it's still there.

Still, it makes for very interesting reading. I'm not ready to recommend against the book, but I'm not ready to endorse it, either. As this is the first time that I've really looked at a systematic theology text, I'm proceeding with caution.
inheritrix
Jul. 16th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
thanks for the link to the article on complementarianism. I know there is debate about how much teaching a woman should do in the church, but as far as the man being the spiritual leader of the household I thought that was the thought of all modern denominations.
drmellow
Jul. 16th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't know how much it's emphasized in various denominations. And, really, different congregations within a denomination may have different takes on it, too.

So, anyway, in the United Methodist denomination, we're happy to ordain women to preach, so I suspect that when I get to Grudem's views on that, I'm going to have some serious thinking to do. ;-)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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