- Paperback: 150 pages
- Publisher: InterVarsity Press (September 19, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830818782
- ISBN-13: 978-0830818785
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God Paperback – September 19, 1996
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Easily acceptable to the lay-people within the church, while at the same time retaining enough critical thought and depth that seminary students and pastors would still appreciate the work that has gone into this book. (Nathan W. Bingham, Calvinist (cal.vini.st), May 4, 2009)
From the Back Cover
To many Christians today theology means something alien, overly intellectual and unappealing. Even seminarians are known to balk at it. Yet theology - most simply, the knowledge of God - is essential to the life and health of the church. In Who Needs Theology? two theologians who care profoundly about the witness of ordinary Christians show what theology is, how every believer (earned degrees or not) is a theologian, what tools theology uses, and how lay - as well as professional - theologians can do better theology. This clear, eminently accessible book is ideal for students, church study groups and individual laypersons who want to enrich their discipleship through the riches of theology.
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Top Customer Reviews
Do keep in mind that this book is very basic, but again that is what it was intended to be. It is not a book about becoming the next great thinker of our time but about taking the first infantile steps toward learning to have a faith that interacts with the world around you. Their last chapter is especially helpful on this front as they circle back to the theory of thinking theologically that they have put forward in the previous chapters and give practical steps that a person might take. They don't claim to be an exhaustive work on theology but if you read this work well Grenz and Olson will point you in the right direction.
The question is answered promptly at the beginning of book with the chapter titled “Everyone is a Theologian”. There, theology is defined as “any reflection on the ultimate questions of life that points towards God”. As such, it is clear that ever since men looked up into the heavens, wondered about the reasons for his existence and pondered on the beginnings of the universe, its machinations, life and ultimately whether there is a being of higher order “out there”, he is a theologian! Insofar as Christians are beings of thoughts seeking to reflect on their existence, the revealed Word of God and how they are to respond to the world as followers of Jesus Christ, towards its people and its culture, or as the authors put it: “faith seeking understanding”, they are already doing Christian theology.
The authors strive to separate folk theology and sound theology in the proceeding chapters, arguing for the need for Christians to develop good theology “because it grounds their lives in biblically informed, Christian truth”. We are all too familiar with happenings at church, bible camps and study groups where a Christian would answer a question by another fellow Christian with a curt statement that when asked to be substantiated by scripture or doctrine, often relegates to a defense of “It is my own experience!” or “I have heard that from a man (or woman) of faith!”. The authors point to the fallacy and indeed the dangers of reducing the Christian faith to experience (which has no objective method of accessing its validity) or hearsay (which often involves blind faith) and instead beseech all Christians to “examine beliefs and teachings about God, ourselves and the world in light of Christian sources, especially in the primary norm of the biblical message”.
While the typical objections to theology are expounded and rebutted, the authors nevertheless reminded us that the Lord desires Christians to pursue theology in our own context with all the limitations of life that our context involves. Perhaps even more importantly, it is this limitation that ultimately surfaces good theology and the richness that it entails. Expanding on the need to involve theology “in our own context”, the authors presented two approaches to theology and culture and argued instead for a trialogue, that approaching culture by beginning from biblical theology or vice versa only “presents a dimension of what remains a mystery”. This is a cogent reminder to the lay theologian and seminarians alike that theology is ultimately undertaken not to amass knowledge, precepts and doctrines but rather to approach the infinite mystery with the intent to enable Christians to engage their culture and to articulate the Christian message such that the faith continues to be a living and transformative force in their lives.
The warning against intellectual substitution is perhaps most vivid in the authors’ depiction of a person who, because of a love for travel, began studying maps (engaging in the activity of cartography) and eventually confused cartography with seeing the world. In very practical chapters near the end of the book, the author detailed safeguards that should be in place for anyone studying theology as well as forewarnings of discouragements and even misunderstandings by others in the process.
Closing aptly for a book written by authors with a love for Peanuts characters, we hear Linus making the declaration to Lucy that she cannot bluff an “old” theologian. We also hear the words of Grenz and Olson exhorting Christians to embark on this journey of discovery as they themselves did and experienced first-hand its great rewards and richness in order that Christians might enhance and enrich their lives of discipleship as well as the strength and influence of the church of Christ.
this book shows why this is a necessity in all our lives
I learned I already am a theologian but now I can expand on that
This book is on a level for all so boredom and big words needing a dictionary are
we all need to add this to our library
even when two religions or beliefs collide you need to know what you beileve