- One of the best treatments of Christian doctrine of this size I have ever read. It covers a remarkable amount of ground concisely and with great clarity and serves as a splendid introduction to both systematic and historical theology. Obviously, there are a few points it doesn't cover like Reformation era soteriological controversies, but it is an excellent resource for a beginner just starting the study of doctrine.
- I finally got around to reading it in full, and I must say I found it rather disappointing. I would rate the volumes individually: vol. 1 = 2 stars, vol. 2 = 3 stars, vol. 3 = 4 stars. In the first volume in particular, Pannenberg relies entirely too much on philosophy and other disciplines. Little is done to explicate the doctrine of God in a way that is relatable and usable. To be frank, much of it comes off as a show of erudition, and unless one is very widely read, practically incomprehensible. Like many others, Pannenberg's writing and thought improves once he moves beyond the doctrine of God and enters other loci where natural theology is less helpful and one is forced to draw more heavily on the Bible and Christian tradition. I found the sections on ecclesiology and eschatology in the third volume to be the best, and in soteriology his discussion of the law and Gospel was excellent. Pannenberg's significance as a great 20th century theologian is undeniable, yet the audience for which it is suitable is rather small. Beginning students of theology should avoid it entirely less they get put off of the discipline of systematics entirely; it will not help them in grasping the basics of doctrine. Likewise, intermediate students are likely to find it of limited value. Advanced ones (read: higher than M.Div.) may find it helpful in researching specific topics in which Pannenberg does an admirable of getting to the heart of issues and provides excellent references, in both quantity and quality, to key primary sources.
- An excellent study from a master of the field. This is definitely major league inside (Reformed) baseball, but if you want to study any of the covered topics, it's an essential resource. (I REALLY wish I'd had it when I was finishing up my doctoral thesis just shortly before it was published.)
- I picked this up on a whim during the $5 Wipf & Stock sale and have been very pleasantly surprised. It is truly a gem of a work. It is an extremely masterful study of biblical eschatology, going from exegesis to biblical theology that can serve as a foundation for systematic work. It is the best single work on the subject I have read, and I am sure that I will consult it again whenever I study or write on eschatology. I highly recommend it. Note that this book deals only with general or universal eschatology, not questions of individual eschatology (e.g., life after death, conditional immortality, etc.) It also contains several lengthy appendices that can best be described as "tedious" and could be skipped or postponed for later reading, though they do serve a constructive role.
- This is an excellent overview of the process of writing theologically. It is pitched directly towards beginning theology students and would be most appropriate for them; however, writers, teachers, and other professionals can also find much of value here. As might be expected, the author writes quite clearly, and although the tome seems long at 427 pages, if anything I wish there had been more to it. Purchasers should be aware--but not wary!--that the author comes from a mainline perspective, and the neo-liberal/liberation theology, particularly in its feminist form, that presently dominates the mainline is the assumed paradigm. Readers/writers from all perspectives, however, can find much that is useful here. After all, the basic "theological reflection paper" is common (overdone?) in all seminaries, and she provides an excellent tutorial on how to complete one. The only adjustment that needs to be made, really, is to not see personal experience as a source of authority and revelation but rather to bring it under the rule of the Word of God in Jesus Christ. Do that, and this work can help in writing just about any theological work.
- This is a fairly standard 19th century theology from a Methodist/Arminian perspective. In many ways, it is more a natural and rational theological system than a biblical one, as the author explain more time reasoning his way through problems than interpreting Scripture--though at this level, the reader's proficiency in the Bible is largely assumed. As such, it's a rather tedious read, but if one prevails, at several points there are some gems. The biggest and brightest is his treatment of anthropology, particularly original sin. Many theology simply assume this one without really examining it in detail, but Miley gives a thorough discussion at the end of the first volume, then hits it again in an appendix to the second. There's also some stimulating material on baptism. Like many theologians, he suffers from what I call "eschatology fatigue"--that last locus is left rather thin as the author simply wants to finish up the project. ;) I would not recommend this as a starting point for a student seeking a general introduction to systematics, but it is quite useful as a reference work.
- This is a condensation of the author's 3-volume Anchor Bible commentary, from a Jewish perspective but well versed in Christian thought and scholarship. It's a good intermediate commentary, not overly technical but also, as might be expected from any commentary on this difficult book, without a great deal of practical application. Still, it's a profitable read, though the author's contorted attempts to justify homosexuality as basically okay for most people in a commentary on LEVITICUS are sadly amusing.
- This is a nice little book, horribly mis-titled. Anyone purchasing it as an introductory theological text is going to be disappointed. It is not a survey of evangelical theology or a distillation of Barth's enormous Church Dogmatics--though the first few chapters do get across the main points of his doctrine of the Word of God. It would be better titled, "A Little Exercise for Old Theologians." It is a collection of lectures he gave in the United States in towards the end of his career. They touch on a variety of issues affecting theologians, their attitude, and how they go about their work, but again, it is more reflections than concrete instructions. A quote I liked that gives a taste: "There may be great lawyers, doctors, natural scientists, historians, and philosophers. But there are none other than little theologians... Even he who is little in the field of theology is overwhelmed by this object... While not possessing it at all, no man is confronted by this object who is not possessed by it." All in all, it's an easy and delightful read, suitable for fans of Barth, pastors, and anyone involved in theological work.
- I have difficulty believing that all the 5-star ratings for this book come from people who read it cover-to-cover. It’s not bad, and thank you, FaithLife, for giving it as a freebie in December, 2018, but many people may not find it their cup of tea. This is an extremely philosophically-oriented theology, spending far more time in abstract discussions and logical delineations than interacting with either the Bible or historic Christian theology. The sections on God and time and problem of free will vs. determinism both wear on for a long, long time. Much less attention is given to the stated theme of the book—“the King who cares”—which in my mind would demand a more positive treatment and explication of providence than what is given and a much longer final chapter on theodicy. A compatibilistic reconciliation of free will and soft determinism is given as the solution to several theological problems, but little explanation is given of what exactly that works out to in the Bible and Christian life. The chapter on creationism is somewhat cringe-worthy—he opts for young earth creationism but wants to give wiggle room for the days to be somewhat longer than 24 hours but not long ages. The chapter on the Trinity was much better. Feinberg is a Calvinist and rather conservative, but he gives a fair and kind treatment of classical Arminian views, a significant plus point. All in all this is worthwhile for reference to evangelical/fundamentalist views on specific topics, but for a general and shorter introduction to the doctrine of God/theology proper, many would be better served by reading the appropriate chapters in a standard systematic theology text. Finally, sad to say, the Logos edition’s linking to cited resources is rather poor. Feinberg cites many standard texts that you may well have in your library, but you’re going to have to look up most of the references manually.