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Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times Paperback – January 21, 2014
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From the Back Cover
The Foundations of Theology in Everyday Language
Dallas Seminary professors Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel are passionate about the church, spiritual growth, and the end times, all key doctrines of Christianity. They want readers to know why they're important and why they matter. Holsteen and Svigel explore these important topics in a concise and highly readable style that makes sense--whether you're a student of the Bible, a pastor, or someone who simply wants to know God better.
For each topic you'll find
· An introduction, overview, and review of the key points
· Several applicable Bible texts, including verses to memorize
· A quick-paced history of the doctrine
· Distortions to be aware of and avoid
· Reading lists for further study
· A glossary of theological terms
"There has never been a more urgent need, because of the times in which we live, to have a biblically based statement of Christian theology. Holsteen and Svigel are both qualified to write such an exploration since their lives have been shaped by biblical teaching, and it is this teaching that prompts others to the hope only God through His Word can provide."--Mark L. Bailey, President, Dallas Theological Seminary
"Exploring Christian Theology is a wonderful doctrinal primer that teaches theology in a way that will engage you and cause you to reflect. . . . A great way to get acquainted with key biblical theological themes."--Darrell Bock, senior research professor, Dallas Theological Seminary
"The church is always in need of mature, faithful, biblical theology. And that's exactly what you should expect to find in this volume. This new book is a very important consideration of the church, the Christian life, and the end times. And Christians in all walks of life will find this book to be particularly helpful." --Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"The Exploring Christian Theology series provides a wonderfully helpful tour of basic Christian beliefs. Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel have put together a unique way of teaching theology that is thoroughly biblical but also highly engaging. A good resource for pursuing Christian discipleship."--Michael F. Bird, Lecturer in Theology at Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College
"Most theological texts seem to use doctrine as a sleep aid. Dull and dry, these books hide the truth behind the reader's yawn. How refreshing to read Exploring Christian Theology! With an appropriate balance of readability, clarity, and humor, Drs. Holsteen and Svigel have made the key doctrines of our Christian faith accessible--without compromising orthodoxy. Truth should never leave us yawning. This book makes me want more."--Dr. Wayne Stiles, Executive Vice President, Insight for Living
About the Author
Nathan D. Holsteen, ThM, PhD, is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he teaches all areas of systematic theology. Trained as an engineer, he is awed by systems of theology that exhibit internal coherence. He and his wife, Janice, have two children and live in Fort Worth, Texas.
Michael J. Svigel, ThM, PhD, is the Department Chair and an Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written numerous Bible study guides, articles, and papers, and is the author of RetroChristianity. He lives in Garland, Texas, with his wife, Stephanie, and their three children. Learn more at www.retrochristianity.com.
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Top customer reviews
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When people hear theology, the condition sometimes worsens. They picture massive tomes packed with technical discussions, less-than, crucial data, and incomprehensible footnotes - unusable information to distract them from God rather than drawing them nearer.
Most people seeking to grow in their faith want practical principles, not theoretical concepts. They want to know God, not just know about Him.
Yet the fact is that we can't experience real spiritual growth without solid spiritual truth. We can't know the true God without knowing God truly." (9)
Studying theology can be a real source of joy and spiritual growth. Yet for many, particularly in America today, studying theology is mundane and not worth an investment. "Just give me that good old time religion." As the above quote suggests, the general editors of the series and the author of the book Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (Bethany, 2014) seek to pen a book that provides a thorough survey of theological doctrines complete with biblical exegesis, historical developments, and practical application.
The Exploring Christian Theology is a series published by Bethany House that seeks to introduce not just the nuts and bolts of theology, but also its importance. As a pastor I could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to review one of its volumes. In this volume, Drs. Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel tackle the doctrines of ecclesiology and sanctification (Dr. Holsteen) and Eschatology (Dr. Svigel). Both follow the same pattern: A survey of the doctrine, followed by biblical exegesis, a historic considerations, a summary of the doctrine, and dangers to avoid, and finally some practical applications.
The authors and editors make clear this is a book and a series that is concerned with providing a general overview of Christian theology located within orthodox evangelicalism, not with defending certain tertiary convictions. For example, the authors defending the bodily return of Jesus and a physical resurrection of believers without promoting premillenialism over amillenialism or postmillenialism. The authors provide a helpful survey of these eschatologies but do not prefer one over the other. Thus those looking for an introduction to Reformed, Arminian, or dispensational theology will be disappointed. However, that does not mean the authors do not include these theologies throughout the book.
Overall, this is a straight forward theological textbook. Its audience is clear and the authors/editors accomplish presenting sound theology that is relevant. One thing I found interesting thing about the book regards the first section. There Dr. Holsteen discusses both ecclesiology and sanctification. This, to me, was perhaps the most insightful part of the book. Dr. Holsteen suggests that in many ways we cannot separate those two. One danger common in American Christianity is the belief that spiritual growth is a personal matter. By grouping these two together, the authors show how biblically this is simply inaccurate.
Finally, this book is a great tool for pastors who have an obligation to preach doctrinally. Simply feeding one's flock with the saturated Christianity full with bumper sticker slogans damages the sheep. We need more sound theology and biblical exegesis. Yet such preaching need not be impractical. The authors have put together a volume discussing the weighty issues of ecclesiology, sanctification, and eschatology all while showing why they matter and how to apply it to the lives of our flock.
I look forward to seeing what the other volumes have to offer.
I received this book free of charge from Bethany House for the purpose of this review.
The first section I particularly enjoyed. It is concise, engaging, and draws examples from pop culture in order to bring application and relevance to each subject. The examples are appropriate for the intended audience (lay-persons who want to know a bit of theology), and I think the authors have done a great job of sharing an unbiased perspective and encouraging involvement and appreciation within and for the church body.
The section on the end times could have provided a more thorough overview of the major positions, and also could have discussed the implications of each eschatological position. I did not enjoy this section as much, although the writing is still very accessible, and the overall message is positive (though a bit biased toward Dispensational Premillennialism). I appreciate the authors' focus on the big picture rather than on the details. The historical chapter within this section is also very good.
Overall, this is a great book for non-scholars who want to get a taste for theology, or could be read for encouragement or general spiritual growth.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.
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That’s one of two typical responses to the word “theology” in the modern American Church.Read more