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Systematic Theology Hardcover – September 24, 1996
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His treatment of the Doctrine of God covers a lot of territory, but leaves something to be desired in covering the Attributes of God. His chapter on the Trinity, however, is most helpful.
He is decidedly Calvinistic in his approach to soteriology, giving an excellent treatment of the classical Reformed view of the "doctrines of grace." His chapters on the Atonement are among the best in Reformed theology; and his chapters on the respective parts of the Application of Redemption (regeneration, conversion, justification, sanctification, etc.) are helpful.
His doctrine of the Church is Presbyterian to the last, which is a demerit to the book, in my judgment. The final section on Last Things gives a helpful overview of futurist eschatalogy, with Berkhof rejecting premillenialism. His critique of Dispensationalism is helpful (and scathing!).
The strength of the book is its clear coverage of the Reformed position. At times it is too brief, especially when dealing with divergent views of the various subjects - but that is almost necessary in a book like this.
The greatest fault of the book is the author's lack of actual exegesis of texts. Most of his theology is sound, but his exegetical defense of it is not as clear as one could desire. Too often the passages are only referenced in brackets with little or no quotation. Hence, one could easily read this book and become a Reformed theologian without knowing how to use the Bible to substantiate his or her beliefs.
That notwithstanding, this is a book to be read and studied by pastors and theologians. It is not the only book on theology to be digested, but it is a key one.
Navigation: On a Kindle, one can use the GO TO function to get to any chapter. In between the Cover and the Preface there is a full table of contents with links to divisions and subdivisions within the chapters. So if you know where the content you want is located, you can get there in a few steps.
But I did not see any sort of index. If you do not already know where the content you are interested in is located, you would need to use the search feature and hope that the key word(s) you select will be the same ones the author used in at least part of his discussion of the topic.
The lack of an index will not be a large problem for those wanted to read entire sections, and who can find the desired entire section in the table of contents. But depending on how well your device handles searches and its own indexing, the lack of an index could be an issue for some readers. I debated whether the lack of an index was enough to lower the rating from 5 stars to 4, but left it at 5 stars.
I have yet to read the entire book, but my initial skimming is consistent with my high hopes for it. Other reviewers have addressed the actual content in much greater detail, and I refer you to them on that subject.
Prof. Berkhof uses many, many references to demonstrate that all the teaching is from the Bible itself. There are useful study questions and suggestions for further thought at the end of each chapter, as well as suggestions for further reading. Many of these sources are on-line and many are available for use on your Kindle!