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Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine Hardcover – April 24, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Most historical theology texts follow Christian beliefs chronologically, discussing notable doctrinal developments for all areas of theology according to their historical appearance. And while this may be good history, it can make for confusing theology, with the classic theological loci scattered throughout various time periods, movements, and controversies. In Historical Theology, Gregg Allison offers students the opportunity to study the historical development of theology according to a topical-chronological arrangement, setting out the history of Christian doctrine one theological element at a time. Such an approach allows readers to concentrate on one tenet of Christianity and its formulation in the early church, through the Middle Ages, Reformation, and post-Reformation era, and into the modern period. The text includes a generous mix of primary source material as well, citing the words of Cyprian, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth, and others. Allison references the most accessible editions of these notable theologians' work so that readers can continue their study of historical theology through Christian history's most important contributors. Historical Theology is a superb resource for those familiar with Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology or interested in understanding the development of Christian theology.

About the Author

Gregg Allison (PhD) is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky where he teaches systematic theology.  Previously he served on Cru staff at the University of Notre Dame and overseas in Italy and the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. He is a pastor of Sojourn Community Church, and is the theological strategist for Sojourn Network, a church planting network of about thirty churches. He is the author of Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine; Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church; and Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 3/25/11 edition (April 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310230136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310230137
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 2.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gregg R. Allison has made a very useful and practical contribution to the study of historical theology - especially for those familiar with Wayne Grudem's "Systematic Theology." Gregg writes clearly and cogently for those of us who desire to go deeper into the historical foundations, development, and significance of each major doctrine of the Bible.

Allison gives us eight solid reasons for studying Historical Theology:

1) "helping [those who study it to] distinguish orthodoxy from heresy."
2) "it provides sound biblical interpretations and theological formulations."
3) "it presents stellar examples of faith, love, courage, hope, obedience, and mercy."
4) "to protect against the individualism that is rampant today among Christians."
5) "it not only helps the church understand the historical development of its beliefs, but enables it to express those beliefs in contemporary form."
6) "it encourages the church to focus on the essentials, that is, to major on those areas that have been emphasized repeatedly throughout the history of the church."
7) "it gives the church hope by providing assurance that Jesus is fulfilling his promise to his people."
8) "finally, as beneficiaries of the heritage of doctrinal development sovereignly overseen by Jesus Christ, the church of today is privileged to enjoy a sense of belonging to the church of the past."

This book is simply a marvelous plethora of useful information on the development of theology gathered in one place, synthesized masterfully by Allison for those who want to know how theology has come to us by the greatest theological minds in history.
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Format: Hardcover
I will preface my review by saying that I agree with David P. Craig's review above. Dr. Allison has written an accessible and weighty work that details the theological advancement of major doctrines of the Christian church through much of their historical development. The primary goal of the the volume is to provide an overview that dovetails with Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology and Allison includes a table that details how his work dovetails with Grudem's. More than an addition to Grudem, however, the level of scholarship including the documentation from original source material, presents the reader with a wealth of critical source material references to back up the conclusions made within the work. A student can begin with Allison's book and conclude with a detailed study of original source documents that will shed light on our faith as once delivered to the saints and handed down through the faith and work of dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ to a generation not yet born.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Allison has made a great contribution to the Evangelical community. I have been studying the theological history of Creation. It has been difficult to find resources. My main sources have been Answers in Genesis' Dr. Terry Mortenson and Dr. Jason Lisle. (Dr Mortenson's work, that I've seen, has been mostly with the history of Evolution. Astrophysicist Lisle points out that evolution is irrational as a world view. Piecemeal I have collected serveral books and DVD's that have been helpful.) Greg Allison, though, has included the material I have found through AIG and has gone further back in history; studying the creation theology of Anselm, Augustine, Calvin, and others. If I could have only one resource on creation history I would want this book.

While I've talked only of the chapter on Creation, Allison's book is a wide and deep history of systematic theology. In the early 1980's I attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and took Elementary Greek from a 33 year old Dr. Grudem. Greg Allison was the top student in that class. I had written Greg Allison's phone number in my Elementary Greek Grammer so I could call him for help. Thanks for helping Greg, then and now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I waited for Gregg Allison's, Historical Theology for over a year. After carefully devouring over 700 pages, Allison's work does not disappoint.

Historical Theology is patterned after Wayne Grudem's, Systematic Theology and follows a topical-chronological framework that makes studying historical theology a real delight. For those familiar with historical theology, a discipline that is often presented in a dull and dreary manner, Allison's work is a gift that will be utilized and appreciated by many Bible students and pastors.

Historical Theology is arranged in seven sections:

Part 1: The Doctrine of the Word of God

Part 2: The Doctrine of God

Part 3: The Doctrine of Humanity

Part 4: The Doctrines of Christ and the Holy Spirit

Part 5: The Doctrine of the Application of Redemption

Part 6: The Doctrine of the Church

Part 7: The Doctrine of the Future

Each section follows a predictable pattern that moves readers through the respective doctrinal developments that begin with the early church and proceed to the middle ages, the Reformation, and the modern period.

The author presents historical developments in a fair and gracious manner. He alerts readers to matters that pertain to heretical proclivities as well as orthodox dogma.

Historical Theology will no doubt serve as the standard textbook in Bible College and Seminaries for many years to come.

5 stars
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