Christian Theology By Millard J. Erickson

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Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson


For fifteen years Millard Erickson's Christian Theology has been used widely as a reliable and comprehensive introduction to systematic theology. Now this classic text has been revised and updated to take into consideration changes in the theological world as well as changes in the intellectual, political, economic, and social worlds. While retaining the accessibility of the original volume, Erickson has taken into account input from professors, students, and reviewers and added several sections, a new chapter on postmodernism, chapter objectives, chapter summaries, and study questions. (Erickson: 136)

The central theme of Christian Theology is the magnificence of God. By this the author refers to the greatness of God in terms of his power, knowledge, and other traditional 'natural attributes,' as well as excellence and splendor.

The second edition of this theologian's companion seeks to bring the original dictionary up to date by supplementing it with pertinent ideas and persons from the past 15 years. The emphasis remains, though, upon the historical figures and movements of the first 19 centuries of the Christian era. The clear, succinct definitions of this must-have resource provide every student of theology, whether a beginner or seasoned learner, with the groundwork they'll need in their quest for understanding. (Musser: 198)


Millard Erickson, newly appointed Research Professor of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has performed a great service for Evangelicals in writing this systematic theology text. As he states in the preface, "While the textbooks written by Charles Hodge, Augustus Strong, Louis Berkhof, and others served admirably for their day, there was no way they could anticipate and respond to the recent developments in theology and other disciplines. Christian Theology represents an attempt to fill that need for our day." It is in this spirit that he proceeds to develop this work, remaining true to orthodoxy while addressing contemporary matters of theology. (González: 203)

At first glance, this might seem ridiculous or contradictory. Isn't God absolute? Isn't there just one truth, as opposed to error?  Indeed, this proposal does not imply that a statement and its direct negation are both true ("A is B" and "A is not B").  It would obviously be false to claim, for example, that "God is Love" and "God is not Love," or "Jesus is divine" and "Jesus is not divine." (Musser; 325)

However, just as every coin has both a "heads" and a "tails" side, just as every battery has both a "positive" and a "negative" terminal, and just as the earth has both a North Pole and a South Pole, so also there are always (at least) two "sides" or "poles" to the best Christian answer to any theological question. These opposite poles often seem far apart and difficult to hold together. It is rarely easy to understand and balance both sides of an issue, just as we can't easily see both sides of a coin at the same time (without a mirror, at least!). Yet the "opposite" sides are seldom really "contradictions," even if there may be some strong "tensions" ...
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