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The Trials of Theology: Becoming a 'proven worker' in a dangerous business Paperback – January 20, 2010
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"Without the "trials of theology" we remain on the surface of the statutes of God. May the Spirit of truth make this book a means of true thinking about God, deep affections for God, and beautiful obedience to God, through Jesus Christ who is God." (John Piper ~ Founder of Desiring God Ministries, Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota)
"If you know a young man who is hoping to study theology, or is already studying it, the gift of this book would be of great benefit." (Peace and Truth)
"This is the book that so many of us have been waiting for, a book that will be sure to grace the lives of students and pastors and their teachers in the years to come." (R. Kent Hughes ~ Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois)
"Teachers of the Scriptures need mentors so that we are refreshed by God's presence and power in our studies. I was consoled, convicted, instructed, and even ushered into God's presence by this book". (Thomas R. Schreiner ~ James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
"The theologians in this volume know that the study of theology has many pitfalls. Yet to know and love God has filled them with joy, and they want to assist you, just as they have assisted my co-editor and me." (Andrew Cameron ~ Lecturer in Ethics, Social Ethics & Philosophy, Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia)
"Without the "trials of theology" we remain on the surface of the statutes of God. May the Spirit of truth make this book a means of true thinking about God, deep affections for God, and beautiful obedience to God, through Jesus Christ who is God." ~ John Piper (Founder of Desiring God Ministries, Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota)
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John Piper on the newly released book The Trials of Theology, edited by Andrew Cameron and Brian Rosner (Christian Focus, 2010):
When I began my theological studies in 1968 I devoured Helmut Thielicke's A Little Exercise for Young Theologians.
If I were starting today I would devour The Trials of Theology.
Here is counsel from the proven dead and the wise living.
"Do we need theology"?
We may as well ask, "Do we need to know God?" Ten thousand times yes.
"Is studying theology perilous?"
Yes. But less perilous than ignorance.
"Will it be costly?"
Let the Bible answer: "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes" (Ps. 119:71).
Without the "trials of theology" we remain on the surface of the statutes of God.
May the Spirit of truth make this book a means of true thinking about God, deep affections for God, and beautiful obedience to God, through Jesus Christ who is God.
Here's the table of contents:
Foreword: "Lost Among Words"
Part One: Voices Past
1. Augustine, "Time out to Pray, Read and Weep"
2. Martin Luther, "Experience Makes the Theologian"
3. C.H. Spurgeon, "Frailty and the Grace of God"
4. B.B. Warfield, "The Spiritual Life of Theological Students"
5. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Becoming Real Theologians"
6. C.S. Lewis, "Inner Circles and True Inclusion"
Part Two: Voices Present
7. John W. Woodhouse, "The Trials of Theological College"
8. D.A. Carson, "The Trials of Biblical Studies"
9. Carl R. Trueman, "The Trials of Church History"
10. Gerald L. Bray, "The Trials of Systematic Theology"
11. Dennis P. Hollinger, "The Trials of Christian Ethics"
Afterword: "Lost for Words"
This part by me:
I enjoyed reading this book. As shown above it is a collection of variously themed essays by great theologians of both the past and present. Each essay stands well on its own and adds to the collective whole; it really is a unified work that covers many aspects of its theme. I also noticed that the more I read this book the more I get from it. It appears to have that value of a familiar friend that will remain close throughout your theological journeys and will only get better with age.
As the title of the book suggests, each essay highlights certain pitfalls that students of theology are prone to encounter. This gives a great advantage to those beginning to scale these mountains. You can hear the heart, wisdom, and wounds these men carry. Also I couldn't help but laugh as I heard men describe one of the things I love so much: theology. These men have been there; they've shared this passion; they've thought through what I am beginning to see. I couldn't help but be welcomed into a comradery, as most people I know don't always get theology, why it's important or why I pursue it as I do.
Some of the nuggets of truth hidden here are simply essential, some are a great encouragement, and some (for the student just starting anyway) are lifesavers and mind-blowers. I am thankful I got to read this book going into school as I can glean all this wisdom from people who learned it through experience.
Also, this book is one of the kind that can inspire you to read more by the various authors presented. I found some of what I enjoyed the most was from Spurgeon's "Lectures to My Students," as that is one of my favorite books. I look forward to delve deeper into the works of Lewis and Bonhoffer as well. While I have read some of their work, this inspires me to probe deeper and get to know the men behind these timeless messages.
In particular the essays by Spurgeon (as previously mentioned), Lewis, Bonhoffer, Carson, and Bray especially blessed me. Bray's words on systematic theology were golden to me as he described in warm and homely eloquence the need for systematic. I also enjoyed his wit and ability to make me see what he sees as far as the subject is concerned.
Well worth the $10. Also the book serves as a compliment to the book: "The Consolations of Theology."
Theological study is dangerous business as the writers demonstrate in The trials of Theology Becoming A `Proven Worker' precisely because of the nature of theology. Bible College and seminary is a time to consume much from the Word of God and other disciplines, but there are dangers in such study including pride and false humility.
The Trials of Theology Becoming A `Proven Worker' In a Dangerous Business Edited by Andrew J.B. Cameron and Brian S. Rosner explores the thoughts of men from the past such as Augustine, Luther, Spurgeon, Warfield, Bonheoffer, C.S. Lewis, and in the present Drs. Woodhouse, Carson, Trueman, Bray and Hillinger. The topics this book covers are vast from praying to experience to the grace of God and becoming real theologians who understand the Bible, church history, systematic theology and Christian ethics.
As I read this book I was struck by how I wished I had read it much sooner, but then I realized it was only published just last year (2010). If there is one thing I have learned in my time during Bible College and Seminary is that pride is ever lurking at the door waiting to bait me into believing that because I've been a Christian and studied theology for so long that I somehow no longer need to study the Bible any longer. The structure of this book combats the idea of "knowing it all" as does the contents of the book. By focusing on dead theologians the authors have done the Church a great service by emphasizing that dead men have much to teach Christians today about what it means to be a good theologian. By selecting men who are highly respected in their fields today the authors give attention to men who have proven themselves model theologians in their respective fields.
Theology is difficult work because it has consequences not only on the students' life but on the lives of others around them. Theology has consequences for churches also because if local church's move away from biblical Christianity they cease to be a New Testament church. As you can see theology is dangerous and difficult work, but it is also intensely practical work. The student of theology is either a good theologian or a bad theologian, which means that all study of theology should result in growing in godliness. The goal of studying theology should not just be growing in knowing sound doctrine, but should have as its aim growth in godliness as a result of believing sound doctrine.
I recommend you read The Trials of Theology: Becoming A `Proven Worker' In A Dangerous Business because doing so will console, convict, instruct and usher you into the presence of God. This book will help you to see how you to move from being "lost among words" to being "lost for words" in praise of God. The study of theology should lead to not only knowing biblical doctrine, but to being humbled by the greatness of God who has chosen to reveal Himself in His Word to His people, so that His people may spread His fame and joy to the nations. May the Lord Jesus use this book to awaken Christians to draw deeply from the well of church history, theology and the Word of God in order to stir up deep affections for God, and obedience to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Title: The Trials of Theology Becoming A 'Proven Worker' In a Dangerous Business
Author: Edited by Andrew J.B. Cameron and Brian S. Rosner
Publisher: Christian Focus (2010)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Christian Focus Book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."