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Pocket History of Theology (The Ivp Pocket Reference) Paperback – November 6, 2005
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"This may be the most important book in the series for Christians to read and study. . . . [The authors] have written in such a practical manner, highlighting the major developments down through church history, that there is no excuse for Christians not taking the time to read and understand what they profess to believe when they confess their faith using creeds and confessions of our history." (Equip for Ministry, March/April 2006)
About the Author
Roger E. Olson (PhD, Rice University) is professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is the author of The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform, The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity & Diversityand The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology. He is also coauthor of 20th-Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age and Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God (both with Stanley J. Grenz), and of The Trinity (with Christopher A. Hall).
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Definitely a good investment of time and money for freshmen theologians!
Olson and English gave a good amount of introduction to Arminius (it seems he is ignored in most Christian history books) covering a little over two pages, and a quite interesting read on Karl Barth, whom is considered neo-orthodox, and his theology, all which covers about five pages. Olson and English also suggest that Calvin borrowed mostly from Luther and Zwingli, quoting Timothy George in his book, "Theology of the Reformers," "on closer examination, on is impressed with the unoriginality of Calvin's doctrine of election" (p.77).
The short section discussing the Catholic church's counter reformation gives a better understanding, although brief, of the basic issues challenging it's theology, especially in light of the Reformation. One interesting piece of information received from the book that I was not aware of, in the call by Romand Catholic leaders for a "new ecumenical council," that is, the Council of Trent in the middle 1500's, the emperor "hoped that Lutheran representative [would] be invited." They were not.
This is a good introduction for those interested in the history of Christian theology, and it might even offer a few little surprises.