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Classic Christianity (Systematic Theology) [Kindle Edition]

Thomas C. Oden
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For the first time, Thomas Oden's Systematic Theology classic series (individually titled The Living God, The Word of Life, and Life in the Spirit) is available in one complete volume. A renowned theologian, Oden provides a consensus view of the Christian faith, delving deeply into ancient Christian tradition and bringing to the contemporary church the best wisdom from its past. In this magisterial work, Oden tackles the central questions of Christian belief and the nature of the trinity.

Written for clergy, Christian educators, religious scholars, and lay readers alike, Classic Christianity provides the best synthesis of the whole history of Christian thought. Part one explores the most intriguing questions of the study of God—Does God exist? Does Jesus reveal God? Is God personal, compassionate, free?—and presents answers that reflect the broad consensus culled from the breadth of the church's teachers. It is rooted deeply and deliberately in scripture but confronts the contemporary mind with the vitality of the Christian tradition. Part two addresses the perplexing Christological issues of whether God became flesh, whether God became Christ, and whether Christ is the source of salvation. Oden details the core beliefs concerning Jesus Christ that have been handed down for the last two hundred decades, namely, who he was, what he did, and what that means for us today. Part three examines how the work of God in creation and redemption is being brought to consummation by the Holy Spirit in persons, through communities, and in the fullness of human destiny. Oden's magisterial study not only treats the traditional elements of systematical theology but also highlights the foundational exegetes throughout history. Covering the ecumenical councils and early synods; the great teachers of the Eastern church tradition, including Athanasius and John Chrysostom; and the prominent Western figures such as Augustine, Ambrose, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, this book offers the reader the fullest understanding of the Christian faith available.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas C. Oden is the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology and Ethics at Drew University and the author of more than twenty widely read books, including Pastoral Theology, Agenda for Theology, and Kerygma and Counseling. He is also the general editor of the pioneering series The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2264 KB
  • Print Length: 948 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (July 23, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,498 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
This is a compilation of Thomas Oden's 3 volume Systematics now conveniently placed in one volume. I highly recommend this for those seeking an introduction to systematic theology from an Evangelical AND patristic perspective. Oden studiously avoids making any new contributions to theology by relying heavily on the ancient church fathers, especially the eight doctors of the Eastern and Western Catholic church. Medieval scholastics are also cited as are Protestant reformers and only then later theologians. The danger with this work is that one might gain the impression that there is a greater degree of consensus regarding certain issues than there is in reality. So, for instance, Oden quotes St. John Chrysostom along with a passage from the Helvetic Confession regarding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Upon closer exmanination the careful student will discover that Chrysostom and later Reformed confessions from the Reformation area had different concerns and emphases despite the similarity of language. (This problem notoriously appeared when Otto Pesch wrote a 900 page work detailing how St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther used virtually similar language when discussing "justification.") But I still recommend this work highly because it serves as a wonderful introduction to systematics by way of the ancient church fathers as they relate to the Protestant tradition. Oden studiously avoids contentious issues such as baptismal regeneration, though he repudiates this doctrine, and predestination, though he himself is a sophisticated and nuanced Arminian. Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common ground March 1, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this excellent theological text, Thomas Oden appeals to the ancient roots of Christianity, to find common ground that unites Christians. Oden is not trying to map any new territory here, but rather is exploring the territory that has been covered for centuries of Christian faith. A comprehensive study of the most fundamental truths of the faith.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Kalt
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for $2.99 upon one of my former professor's recommendation. LOVE IT! Oden does a fantastic job citing all kinds of ancient writers - from the earliest Christians up to Bonhoeffer. For anyone who is interested in reading ancient Christian authors, many, many references are cited throughout this work so you know exactly which book by which author to look for on specific topics. While some books on doctrine work better as a reference work, this is surprisingly enjoyable to read. The information is presented in an almost conversational tone, which makes it easy to digest. You don't feel like you're just reading facts. You're learning more about faith and its particularities in an engaging way.

I noticed one other person said the Kindle version has no table of contents. That's untrue. While the Kindle version has no link to take you to the table of contents, it does have an active table of contents to take you to the various chapters and the sections within each chapter. It's laid out very well and this book would be miserable to read on Kindle without this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Revisiting this after 15 years, and I find some really good solid material. Oden takes the basic components of the Apostle's Creed and deconstructs, piece by piece, what makes this a living document for a 21st century Christian.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is an Active Table of Contents in Kindle Edition November 26, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's not in the center-button menu, but, open the book, page backwards as far as possible (so the picture of the cover is displayed), and page forward a few times, past the title, etc., and there is an active, hyperlinked ToC.

I will soon update this review with an actual review of the book and the theology therein contained, as I just bought it for the Kindle (it was available for under $4), as a quite non-ecumenical Roman Catholic.

Br John Augustine, OP
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Systematic Theology book ever! January 8, 2014
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I used Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology book in undergrad, and it was pretty good. We used this one at Asbury Seminary, and it has proved useful over and over again. Keep in mind that Thomas Oden is kinda hard to read, at least quickly, because of the density of how he writes, but there is a wealth of knowledge within these pages. I HIGHLY recommend this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great theology overview August 27, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book of Classic Theology provides a great overview of Christian Theology from the perspective of the early church fathers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Valuable Text from my Seminary Studies September 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first encountered Thomas Oden over ten years ago when I was working on a graduate seminary degree. Of all the text books I bought, this has been the only one I have returned to over and over again. Not only has Oden collected an vast array of historical comments on various theological topics (and documented the exact location where each quote can be found in the original texts) he has organized the book into a logical and readable progression of thought. While this structure makes the book incredibly helpful for sermon or article background, it also makes it useful for personal devotional reading. This is not light reading but it is reading that turns the mental (and spiritual) lights on.
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