- Series: Little Books
- Paperback: 126 pages
- Publisher: IVP Academic; 7/15/12 edition (August 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830839755
- ISBN-13: 978-0830839759
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology (Little Books) Paperback – August 3, 2012
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"[O]ne can hope that professors will assign this book to first-year seminary students. It is the perfect sort of book for the spiritual formation class that many of the SBC seminaries require, and yet even seasoned theologians will be refreshed by it. I am confident that it will be successful in awakening many from their spiritual dogmatic slumbers." (A. Blake White, Southwestern Journal of Theology, 56.2)
"A Little Book for New Theologians would make an outstanding text for introductory level undergraduate courses in theology, or for the continuing education of any adult desirous of a high quality inlet into this most excellent and exciting of disciplines. More seasoned students of theology will also discover much to be commended. . . . An able and earnest invitation to advance with increasing skill and integrity toward the end for which we were made―namely, knowing, worshiping and enjoying god." (John C. Clark, Trinity Journal, December 2013)
"In his latest book, Kelly Kapic's contagious passion for embracing the life-transforming potential for the discipline of theology captivated my attention, even in the first few pages. He inspires a renewed value and fresh perspective, arguing that the committed Christian cannot afford to discount theological study. . . . A Little Book for New Theologians is a 'must read' for the new or seasoned theologian. It provides a solid anchor for the nature of theological study." (Ava Oleson, Encounter: Journal for Pentecostal Ministry, Fall 2013, Vol. 10)
"This book delivers on its promise to explain why and how to study theology. . . . Kapic offers much wisdom in a small package. This book could be given as a gift to someone embarking on the study of theology, used as a guide for small group study or mentoring relationships, or even chosen as a required text for an introductory theology class." (Mary L. VandenBerg, Calvin Theological Journal, April 2013)
"New theologians can learn a lot from it, and if it challenges them in some places, then so much the better." (Gerald Bray, Themelios, November 2012)
"This concise guide, perfect for college and seminary students, offers gentle wisdom for beginners in the field." (ByFaith Magazine, Quarter 3, 2012)
"In a very short book [Kapic] draws on sources as diverse as the church fathers (Anselm, Origen of Alexandria, Augustine, Gregory Nazianzus), the writers on contemporary religion books (C.S. Lewis and Miroslav Volf), and the Book of Common Prayer used in the Episcopal Church. Worship is a central theme of the book because it is central to those who would be leaders in a church. His chapters on prayer and good knowledge of the Bible are central to teaching others how to live in and lead a church. . . . This book has appeal to anyone interested in a foundation in theology." (Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2012)
"For many Christians the word theology is synonymous with abstruse, irrelevant and boring. In this jewel of a book, Kelly Kapic shows that theology is really, as the Puritan William Ames said, 'the science of living in the presence of God.' This is a great primer both for new students of theology and for those well practiced in the discipline." (Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture)
"To study with Kelly Kapic must be serious fun. His joy in teaching theology is infectious; at the same time he is in blood earnest in believing how essential good theology is to shape minds and transform lives for the glory of God. With delightful signposts from the great theologians of the past, A Little Book for New Theologians guides us to a mountain of unending discovery. Here is an ideal starter kit for the beginning theology student and an affection-refresher for those who have been longer on the way." (Sinclair B. Ferguson, professor of systematic theology, Westminster Seminary, Dallas)
"Kelly Kapic concisely states major characteristics of thinking theologically in this little book. For readers who wish a brief explanation of how the study of God functions with reason, prayer, study, humility and repentance, this is a very good beginning. Utilizing salient insights from Augustine, Calvin, Kierkegaard and major reform theologians, he maps out the territory for understanding that theology is naturally a part of living." (Thomas C. Oden, Emeritus Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology, Drew University)
About the Author
Kelly M. Kapic is professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He earned a Ph.D. in systematic and historical theology at King's College, University of London (United Kingdom) and an M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is the author or editor of eight books, including God So Loved He Gave, Communion with God, and Mapping Modern Theology.
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I grew up in the Catholic tradition, which very much leaves theology to the theologians, most of whom seemed to be priests with lots of degrees. Even after my conversion to the Baptist reformed faith, and despite having a couple of degrees myself, I at first resisted the idea that I would ever be, much less want to be in any way a theologian. But the more I read and studied the Bible and read the writings of holy men and women from across the ages and faith traditions, without realizing it I became a theology student. And not reluctantly, either, like one of those required courses you have to take to get your degree. I was actually enjoying it. Eventually I realized that if we are indeed a priesthood of all believers, then we are by definition theologians.
Kelly Kapic lays out why and how this is so in a most readable fashion. Like most of the best writers in this area, his book is filled not only with passages from Scripture—both testaments, and he explains why that is important at one point—but also writers from Augustine on to the present day. Kapic has concentrated his own research on the early Puritan John Owen, so it is not surprising that he quotes him several times along with Luther and others from the Reformed tradition as well. I think, however, that any Christian of any of the three major traditions could benefit from reading this book, whether to gain new perspectives or to be reminded and refreshed in old ones.
The book is divided into two parts. Part I, Why Study Theology, has three chapters. Part II, Characteristics of Faithful Theology and Theologians, has seven. This book really spoke to me in several places based on my own pilgrimage, which is one of his themes, but I think anyone who is serious about faith would find the same thing, even though every person's own particular pilgrimage is so different. This book not only spurs you to study, but to prayer as well.
I own a Kindle 1100, the basic model. Not from any plan, I basically read the first half of the book on the Kindle, and the second half on my desktop using Windows 8. This Kindle edition worked well on both platforms. I really appreciated that it had good notes, but also a name and subject index, as well as a scripture index. It concluded with a short note on the author that contained a link to a short video of Professor Kapic talking about theology that I really enjoyed.
I highly recommend this book. I can't help but reflect sadly that, like many a good sermon, it's the people who really need this book that will not read it.
Starting this book, I assumed I would quickly skim through it and have heard most of it before. That did not happen. Each chapter is rich and dense (in a good way), with citations and references to theologians from a very broad (but orthodox) spectrum, both theologically and chronologically. I found this not just intellectually helpful, but also humbling: I felt very tangibly surrounded by a great "cloud of witnesses" all the way through.
The chapters about personal character, service, humility, etc. were deeply challenging, and the chapters on faith/reason and history/tradition/authority very helpfully grounding.
Like I said, if you study theology at any level, or are even remotely interested in it, I can't envisage a scenario where you would not be encouraged, challenged, and helpfully informed by this book. Very thankful for having been given it!
His emphasis on a 'lived theology' underscores perhaps the most important of all lessons for a new theologian: all theology is practical. Theology is informed by the community of believers - past and present - and refined by 'doing' the Christian life, though always grounded in and tested by Holy Scripture.
Perhaps the most impactful chapters were the ones on prayer and suffering/justice. Kapic reminds us in the chapter on "Prayer and Sudy" that only through prayer can we prevent theological studies from becoming cold and detached; through prayer we ensure our studies lead to a closer relationship with God as opposed to merely learning about Him.
In "Suffering, Justice, and Knowing God," Kapic points us to the truth of Jeremiah 22:16 - we know God by defending the poor and needy. Our Triune God has concerned himself with a broken and sinful human race. And while salvation comes only through the work of Jesus Christ, we are all called to imitate our Creator through our concern for the helpless. Kapic keeps before us the glorious greatness of God along with His merciful nearness to creation.
Whether you are new to seriously studying the one, true God or you have multiple degrees in theology, "A Little Book for New Theologians" will encourage you in, as William Perkins called it, the "science of living blessedly forever."