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A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive Hardcover – December 5, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"In this probing and far-reaching text, Finger seeks to demonstrate the theological concerns that, although seldom articulated in a systematic way, inevitably undergirded Anabaptist practice. " (Richard Hughes & Merle Brubaker, Brethren in Christ History and Life)

"Thomas Finger's book takes Anabaptist systematic theology to a new level of sophistication, in a way that engages a wider ecumenical community while remaining in sustained dialogue with the concrete history of the Anabaptist movement. The resultant conversation between historical and systematic elements is a fascinating model for how theology should be practiced--the more so in a postmodern age heedless of history. Particularly illuminating is Finger's exposition of the biblical theme of 'The Coming of the New Creation' as the organizing center for theology." (Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University)

"With the publication of this magnum opus, Thomas Finger has secured his place on the forefront of constructive Anabaptist theological reflection for the new millennium. In critical, always perceptive, dialogue with the whole range of voices from Scripture, tradition and contemporary theological voices, Finger offers a fresh, compelling theological vision. Highly recommended for both novices and professional theologians across the ecumenical spectrum." (Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Professor of Systematic Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary; Dozent of Ecumenics, University of Helsinki, Finland)

"Tom Finger offers us an evangelical Anabaptist theology that represents the best of the tradition of radical catholicity. This is a much-needed work that does not sacrifice catholic creedal Christianity to a radical Anabaptist vision but shows how both can work together. It is a welcome contribution to the current discussion--an Anabaptist theology that doesn't forget to do theology." (D. Stephen Long, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

"While exploring the rich Anabaptist tradition, Thomas Finger is sensitive to contemporary theological concerns, especially those raised in ecumenical dialogues. There are valuable insights here not only for Protestants but also for Orthodox and Roman Catholics. This is a thoughtful and penetrating gift from a theologian in dialogue with his own tradition and with others." (Thomas E. Fitzgerald, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology)

"The relevance of this exploration of Anabaptist history and theology for life in the twenty-first century is profound, imaginative and challenging. Thoroughly acquainted with the Anabaptist tradition as well as its contemporary exponents, Thomas Finger deftly draws together various strands of this particular story to deal with key issues facing all Christian traditions: the relation of faith and life, Jesus and community, normativity and postmodernity, piety and mission, church and world. Engaging an amazing breadth of conversation partners outside his own tradition, the author keeps his finger on the pulse of life in our often confusing world. Broad and deep, refreshingly relevant--this book is a splendid achievement." (George Vandervelde, Th.D., Adjunct Professor in Ecumenism, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto)

"In this latest work, Finger brings together his decades of participation in multipartner theological dialogue with fellow Christian communities and his own Anabaptist theological heritage, introducing the two theological worlds to one another and engaging similarities, differences and potential areas of increasing convergence and mutual enhancement. If you are from outside the Anabaptist world, you will find here lively access to Anabaptist history and contemporary Anabaptist discussion on a wide variety of theological issues, ranging from baptism, the Lord's Supper, the church's discipline of the believer and economic sharing, through the person and work of Jesus, to eschatology. If you are an Anabaptist, in this book Finger has offered you a transparent theological account of all that he has been sharing and learning in your name, for the benefit of all." (Ann K. Riggs, Ph.D., Associate General Secretary for Faith and Order, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA)

"A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology represents an unparalleled contribution to today's Christian community; nowhere else can one find an up-to-date, erudite, comprehensive exposition of Anabaptist beliefs. It is a necessary addition to every student of radical Protestantism's library." (Roger E. Olson, Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University)

"Dr. Finger has a firm grasp on Anabaptist history and theology, and has produced a thoroughly reliable guide to Anabaptist theology today. An especially important feature of his work is that he has set it firmly in the larger Christian theological tradition." (Dr. Walter Klaassen, Emeritus Professor, Conrad Grebel College)

About the Author

Finger is a scholar and writer currently based in Chicago, Illinois. Formerly, he was professor of systematic and spiritual theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Since then he has taught courses for Goshen College (Goshen, Indiana) and the Associated Mennonite Seminary (Elkhart, Indiana). His books include Christian Theology: An Eschatological Approach.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 603 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; PRINT-ON-DEMAND edition (December 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830827854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830827855
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If, like me, your knowledge of the Anabaptist movement is limited to knowing that some of them went crazy trying to "imminentize the eschaton" in Munster in 1534-35, you will find this work by Thomas Finger fascinating.

The Anabaptist movement began in 1525 and is generally considered the "radical wing" of the Reformation. Anabaptists rejected infant baptism and taught that their members should be rebaptized. They were called "Anabaptists" by their opponents ("ana" being Greek for "again"). The best-known Anabaptist "denomination" is the Mennonites. Other groups, such as the Brethren, have roots in the Anabaptist movement. Some were more or less conventional Protestants (with the exception of baptism and pacifism), whereas others drifted into rationalism or even tritheism. Anabaptism also has roots in late-Medieval spirituality. (Incidentally, the connection between today's Baptists and the Anabaptists is somewhat tenuous.)

Finger's work hits on the major areas of the theology and then discusses the positions that various Anabaptist thinkers and schools have taken. My only complaint is that it would have been more helpful had Finger interacted more with conservative thinkers. He generally contrasts Anabaptist theology with that of liberals or neo-liberals such as Barth, R. Niebuhr, Elizabeth Johnson and Walter Wink.
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Format: Hardcover
In this comprehensive volume, the author takes on the formidable task of making explicit the often implicit theology of the Anabaptist movement and then presenting, for the sake of the welfare of the whole contemporary Christian church, his own constructive theology. In the first part he tells the story of the development of Anabaptist thought, helping the reader grasp both the unifying and diverse elements in that theological tradition. In the second and third parts he considers in more detail the major themes essential to Anabaptist theology, first considering the historic views and then presenting his own constructive effort. Within the Anabaptist perspective the author offers a theology that highlights the three dimensions of its salvific center: the communal, the personal and the missional. The themes taken up in the final part form what he identifies as the convictional framework of that center; namely, Christology, anthropology and eschatology. This book is a landmark contribution of Anabaptist theology for the whole church in biblical, historical and contemporary context.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arrived in time and in perfect condition. It is well written and very useful for research and pleasure reading. You have my vote and I will recommend it to my friends.
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Format: Hardcover
This book does have some great historical information for those who are interested, but the "ecumenical" slant of the book puts me off. There is no way you can say "Anabaptist" and "Ecumenical" in the same sentence. The Old Order Amish, Mennonite's, Hutterites, Brethren, and a few others that trace their roots back to the start of the movement are nothing like what is described in this book. I live in the middle of Ohio, so I have had a lot of contact with these groups, and have had a lot of discussions with them.

If you want some Anabaptist Theology I would suggest getting Daniel Kauffman's "Doctrines of the Bible", or the 2 smaller versions of the same book "1001 Questions and Answers on the Christian Faith" and "Bible Doctrines Briefly Stated".

J.C. Wenger's "Introduction to Theology: A Brief Introduction to the Doctrinal Content of Scripture written in the Anabaptist - Mennonite Tradition" is also a great, but heavy read, book about the Anabaptist Theology that is laid out in a Systematic way.

"A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive" is not a book I would recommend to anyone who wants to REALLY know about the Anabaptist ways.
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