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The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way Hardcover – February 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The most authoritative systematic theologies must possess a range of qualities: a firm grasp of the overall shape and proportions of Christian teaching; an eye for its fine details; deep biblical and historical learning; conceptual prowess matched by descriptive power; a sense of cultural occasion---all animated by humble delight in the inexhaustibility of God and the gospel. Michael Horton’s presentation exhibits all these excellences. This is a work of outstanding theological and spiritual cogency and will command wide attention.” -- John Webster|“The Christian Faith is impressively deep, immensely practical, and infinitely hopeful for us pilgrims on the Way. Michael Horton will sculpt your appreciation for theology and enhance your love for Christ crucified. Anyone wanting to impact this world effectively---pastors, missionaries, evangelists, church planters, lay leaders, and all other wayfarers---must read this book.” -- Pastor Fikret Bocek|“This is a remarkable volume. Lucid, insightful, learned, and faithful, The Christian Faith is that rare book that substantially contributes to and helpfully introduces Christian theology. I highly recommend it.” -- Kevin W. Hector|“The Christian Faith offers a fine, comprehensive companion to a number of recent systematic theologies. Crisply written, scripturally informed throughout, distinctively evangelical and Reformed, conversant with classic as well as contemporary Christian authors---Horton’s study is an outstanding contribution that will richly nourish Christian pilgrims on their way toward the consummation of Christ’s kingdom.” -- Cornelis P. Venema, , President|“Michael Horton has done the Protestant church a profound service by bringing the theology of the Reformation forward to the twenty-first century. For decades, there has been a need for Reformed dogmatists to tackle new questions in theology, philosophy, and culture. Horton’s well-researched volume brings a rich, theological heritage into conversation with ideas and thinkers that are shaping the future of our world. This volume demonstrates that Protestant orthodoxy is alive and active. Horton’s precision is sure to initiate a new series of theological refinement in light of new global realities.” -- Anthony B. Bradley, , Associate Professor|“The Christian Faith is a remarkable accomplishment---the most significant single-volume systematic theology to be written in decades! This book is written for the sake of the church, yet it also reflects a fresh engagement with a broad range of biblical and theological scholarship. The Christian Faith is an excellent resource for all who wish to engage classical Christian theology in a Reformed key.” -- J. Todd Billings, , Associate Professor|“There has been a renaissance of theological writing in our day, but no one writes as carefully, cogently, and thoughtfully in the grand tradition of Protestant systematic theology as does Michael Horton. This work is a powerful reminder that theology ought to grow first from the soil of the biblical text; then, in conversation with the church across the ages, it ought to clarify conceptually the great truths of the gospel. Theology, as Horton has written it here in The Christian Faith, must always be cognizant of the challenges of the contemporary world, but it must finally belong to the church, which gives it voice in the first place. There is no one better at this task in our day than Michael Horton.” -- Richard Lints, , Professor of Theology|“Horton’s Christian Faith has the great merit of never letting the reader forget that doctrine is for disciples who want to walk the way of Jesus Christ. Horton knows that the best systematic theology is a practical theology---one that helps us understand the ways of God, make sense of life, and give direction for God-glorifying living. He also knows that the best systematic theologies draw on biblical and historical theology. May many readers, therefore, take up this book, read, and walk!” -- Kevin J. Vanhoozer, , Professor of Theology|“A crisp, clear, and forceful new theology that is at once biblical and reverent, historical and contemporary, learned but accessible. What a great gift this is to the church!” -- David F. Wells, , Distinguished Research Professor|“Michael Horton has hit a home run: a narrative-shaped, comprehensive, one-volume systematic theology that is biblically-grounded, warmly evangelical, confessionally Reformed in its angularity while catholic in its tone, and freshly contemporary. In the spirit of the Westminster Catechism, Horton directs readers to the glory of God and the joy of doing theology.” -- John Bolt, , Professor of Systematic Theology|“In this impressive volume, Michael Horton takes the movement of confessing evangelicals to a new level. He remits and rethinks the greatness of seventeenth-century Reformed theology and makes it accessible for readers today. Even those who cannot go along with some of his central positions will find them to be challenging and formidable. It is well worth grappling with Horton’s up-to-date work.” -- George Hunsinger, , Professor of Systematic Theology|“Dr. Horton has produced a remarkable work. His approach to systematic theology is fresh and critically needed in our time. Every pilgrim will profit from this work.” -- R.C. Sproul, , Chairman and President|“This ‘pilgrim’ systematic theology, thoroughly impressive for its architectonic design and sweeping scope and the wide reading it reflects, provides a major restatement of Christian truth for today. Its overall plan is to explore the interaction between four key factors: the historically reliable narrative drama of Scripture that gives rise to doctrine, culminates in doxology, and results in discipleship. The author carries this plan through in a fresh and stimulating fashion out of a deep commitment to Reformation and post-Reformation orthodoxy. He enriches his discussion by using the subsequent redemptive-historical insights of Geerhardus Vos and others and interacts substantially with other traditions, both sympathetic and critical. One may have reservations about the author’s ‘forensic ontology’ and aspects of his use of speech act theory yet benefit greatly from his able and biblically sound treatment of numerous theological topics.” -- Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., , Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology|“Michael Horton’s new systematic theology has been long-awaited and does not disappoint. Here is classic, deep, orthodox Reformed theology, written in a way that is thoughtful and engaged. The author draws deeply on his tradition, but also interacts fruitfully with insights from contemporary scholarship in a way that communicates clearly but does not sacrifice depth for the sake of simplicity. Each of the classic loci is addressed with exegetical and systematic insight, and old doctrines are once again brought to life on the page. Great truths are defended, but not in a defensive manner; and the glory of the gospel shines through in sharp relief. For those who think one must make a choice between guarding the faith and being thoughtfully relevant, think again: this book both teaches theology and is an example of how theology should be done. The reader who is undaunted by the number of pages will be richly rewarded; and the pastor, elder, discussion leader, and church member who wants to know more will not be disappointed.” -- Carl R. Trueman, , Professor of Historical Theology and Church Hist

About the Author

Michael Horton is the author of over 20 books and host of the White Horse Inn, a nationally syndicated radio programHe is the professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California and the editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine.  A popular blogger and sought-after lecturer, he resides in Escondido, California with his wife and children.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310286042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310286042
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Horton is the founder of the White Horse Inn, a multi-media catalyst for Reformation. He is editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine (www.modernreformation.org) and co-host of the nationally syndicated White Horse Inn radio broadcast (www.whitehorseinn.org). Michael Horton is also the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California.

Before coming to WSC, Michael Horton completed a Research Fellowship at Yale University Divinity School. He is a member of various societies, including the American Academy of Religion and the Evangelical Theological Society, and author of thirty books, including a series of studies in Reformed dogmatics published by Westminster John Knox, whose final volume (People and Place: A Covenant Ecclesiology) was published in 2008 and won the 2008 Christianity Today Book of the Year award in Theology.

His most recent book is Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World. He has written articles for Modern Reformation, Pro Ecclesia, Christianity Today, The International Journal of Systematic Theology, Touchstone, and Books and Culture.

Michael Horton is a minister in the United Reformed Churches of North America, and lives in Escondido, with his wife, Lisa, and four children.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Fr. Charles Erlandson on January 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Horton's "The Christian Faith" is a welcome gift to the 21st century. It's a massive (1000 page) one-volume systematic theology that's written with life, passion and the needs of the 21st century in mind. While as an Anglican, I don't necessarily agree with all that Horton writes, I highly recommend his book to a wide variety of readers: seminarians and seminaries, pastors, teachers, and educated laymen. Horton's work is an incredible achievement in that he has taken the worn out discipline of systematic theology and injected it with new life.

How has he done this? First, Horton clearly writes from a position as one who understands the 21st century and the monumental changes we are seeing that are often categorized as the transition from modernity to postmodernity. Horton also draws from a wide range of sources: he not only delves into the historical background to various theological issues but also makes reference to a variety of church traditions, and not just his own Reformed tradition. He also manages to integrate his systematic theology into a living whole by the way he ties everything together through key concepts such as the covenant, Drama, Dogma, Doxology, and Discipleship. This means that Horton's work is useful not just as one more systematic theology but also as a primer in narrative theology, an inspiration to worship, and a resource for all who seek to be more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Horton's work has been said by some to be one of the most important systematic theologies since Berkhof's. In fact, Horton's is better than Berkhof's, which is a work that betrays a much more modern mindset that categorizes things without necessarily showing how they all relate.
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114 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Douglas VanderMeulen on January 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This work by Michael Horton may be the finest systematic theology since Berkhof's classic which I believe was written in the 1930's. Clear, insightful and what I would call a page turner. It is so full of theological jewels I often found myself excited to turn the page or anxiously wanting to get back to reading it after a short break.

Written in a style that is easily reachable even for the common layman, Horton weaves historic, biblical and systematic theology in a way that highlights not only the truth of Scripture but why and how the Christian world-view is necessarily antithetical to pagan and atheistic world-views. Horton has written his text in a manner much different than many systematics. He writes in a style almost like telling a story. His writing style definitely holds the readers attention and is not the dry technical style found in many systematic theologies.

Dr. Horton, writes from a consistently reformed and covenantal perspective. That said, the author understands covenant not as a system forced upon the Bible but one that naturally raises from text itself. The Bible is inherently covenantal in that it is God's own record of His own covenant making and keeping redemptive drama from eternity to eternity. Therefore, covenant becomes the motif for properly understanding God's redemptive purpose and the biblical doctrines that reveal it. God's covenants have a goal. Therefore, eschatology is not merely a stand-alone doctrine but the lens through which we read all scripture. Covenant and eschatology become central to our understanding of ontology, epistemology and all of history. The author interacts with past and current philosophies and theologies as he writes, unpacking the doctrines of the Bible in their historical-redemptive setting.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jared Totten on March 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims On the Way by Michael Horton is not your average systematic theology. It's not broken up into simple chapters ending in "-ology" like Christology, hamaritology, ecclesiology, and the like. Instead, Michael Horton means to tell a story because the doctrines of Scripture arise out of the drama of Scripture. Or as he puts it, "The Christian faith is, first and foremost, and unfolding drama . . . The great doctrines of the Christian faith arise out of this dramatic plot".

For these reasons, The Christian Faith isn't primarily a catalog to reference all the topics that make up your typical systematic theology. Rather, Michael Horton tells the story of God, from beginning to end. After an opening section covering the presuppositions of theology called "Knowing God", Horton shapes his systematic theology in a more narrative-like fashion around the following "chapters" of history:

1. God Who Lives
2. God Who Creates
3. God Who Rescues
4. God Who Reigns in Grace
5. God Who Reigns in Glory

The benefit of an approach like this is that The Christian Faith doesn't read like a dry systematic theology. Instead, the very words that Horton uses to describe biblical doctrine and theology--words like "drama", "story", and "narrative"--are also perfectly fitting words to describe Horton's book. He also includes a lot of the history of theology, and does so in an equally engaging way. Names like Augustine, Barth, Berkhof, and Schleiermacher need not necessitate a dull read, and Horton soundly makes this point.

One caution: this book can be an intimidating read on a few different levels. The size itself (just under 1,000 pages) may keep more than a few from cracking the cover.
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