Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Faithful Theology - A Review

This text is the first in a series urging the reader to do theology, rather than to just study it. This book consists of a series of essays focused on various topics discussed in most theology textbooks. The book does not claim to be a comprehensive systematic theology text, but it centers more on the practical issues of theology. As the publisher writes in their introduction, “Each chapter looks at 1 of 5 crucial components for constructing good theology: revelation from God, tradition from the past, worship, wisdom, and experience of brokenness, with case studies illustrating how doctrine is developed from each of these important sources.”

I found the first chapter of interest. The author takes what might be termed a general understanding of inerrancy, in that the scriptures teach no errors. This stands in against what I might call a particular understanding of inerrancy: “the words found in the original autographs are the very words God intended.” Because we have no original autographs of scripture, it may be said that the more practical understanding of inerrancy may more closely align with the general understanding suggested by the author. This dichotomy will need to be explored further.

I see no hints as to the topics to be covered in future volumes. The finished book will contain both a “General Index” and a “Scripture Index” - though these were not included in the Advanced Readers Copy sent to me for review, so I cannot comment as to their completeness. The book is not designed for general reading, but as a scholarly text. As a textbook, it would be helpful for each chapter to include a series of five or six questions designed for further thought or study - either for general consideration or formal response. Certainly, a good teacher could develop these for himself or herself; but for the independent learner, these additions could be helpful.

As a matter of honesty, the author of this book, Graham A. Cole, is Dean of my alma mater - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. However, he had no connection with the school at the time I attended or with me in the years since. This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.

No comments: