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ISBN/ASIN : 0801022509
Manufacturer : Baker Academic|
Release data : 01 April, 2001
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Introducing Christian Doctrine - Millard J. Erickson
As an abridged version of a longer, more detailed theology text, I anticipated that this shorter volume from Erickson would neglect some key areas in systematics. I was wrong. Introducing Christian Doctrine is jam-packed without being overstuffed. It has sacrificed nothing essential as far as I can tell. There are times that I wish the theological discussions would continue on a little more but there are more copious volumes out there that treat most of these subjects with greater depth. My only complaint is that Erickson doesn't provide a list of titles for further study on each of the theological topics he discusses. Most chapters end with a huge chunk of white space available on the page and it's possible that a list of recommendations to explore each topic further would've been helpful. But that is a minor defect in a surprisingly rich book.
Erickson follows the standard model of "description, examination, evaluation, and final conclusion" in presenting his topics. This helps the reader get a good grasp of what the doctrine in question is all about, how it has been supported by its proponents, how it stands to biblical scrutiny, and finally whether or not it is tenable. Especially helpful is the "implications" section in some of the chapters. After reviewing the biblical data, he concludes and suggests what the implications of the particular theological viewpoint would be if held correctly.
Erickson provides a brief roadmap and study guide to each chapter which is usually only a page long. Included here are the chapter objectives, the chapter summary, a list of study questions, and a chapter outline. However tempted I always am to skip right to the meat of the text, I force myself to read this preparatory section because Erickson always does a good job of priming the reader for the chapter ahead. It's like seeing the big picture at the begging and then focusing on the details afterwards. With an eye on the whole map you can learn the smaller areas with greater ease.
As far as the content goes, I disagree with Erickson on a relatively small number of things. Most notably his conclusion on the issue of eschatology (pp. 393-400) as well as his theodicy (pp. 147-149). Nonetheless, even when we disagree I appreciate the fact that he refrains from "strawmanning" and caricaturing the positions he tends to disagree with. With a coolness that most of us don't operate with he simply refutes the views he disagrees with by using a palette of Scriptural documentation. Whatever my disagreements with him are, I respect the way he frames the opposing views and rejects them without sensationalistic dismissals. I even appreciated that he had a section on Postmodernity and Theology.
For a thoughtful, biblical, and eminently readable text on theology, I'd readily recommend this shortened version of his longer work on systematics. Introducing Christian Doctrine is a lot like John Frame's Salvation Belongs to the Lord, and while it's a tad more technical, it's by no means unapproachable by the average layman. Introducing Christian Doctrine is a solid, readable work whose staying power has been confirmed by its widespread usage in the academic world.
Nicely done abridgement
I have been quite happy with this abridged version of Erickson's 1300-word Christian Theology. While I find the full verison to be one of the more excellent references out there and think it is well-suited for a more advanced theological course, it boggles the mind of many students in an introductory course. This condensed version of Erickson's work by his former grad student Arnold Hustad is perfect for an undergraduate introduction to Christian theology.
Informative and easy to understand
I am not a school student anymore, but when I wanted clarification of certain Biblical doctrines, a friend of mine pointed me to this book. This book was written by Dr. Millard J. Erickson, a widely respected Evangelical professor of theology, and is widely used as a textbook throughout the United States. The book is divided into twelve parts: 1) The Doing of Theology (studying and contemporizing theology), 2) God's Revelation, 3) The Nature of God, 4) The Work of God, 5) Humanity , 6) Sin, 7) The Person of Christ, 8) The Work of Christ, 9) The Holy Spirit, 10) Salvation, 11) The Church (nature, government and ordinances), and 12) The Last Things (eschatology).
Unlike what you might expect from a textbook, I found this book to be very readable, with the issues being spelled out in easy to read language, with the different views of the doctrines being explained, with the author then focusing in on his view and how and why it differs from the other views. Overall, this book answered my questions quite nicely, giving me a much better understanding. So, even if you are a simple layperson like me, you will benefit from having this book. I highly recommend it.