The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way

Posted: January 27, 2011 in books, christianity, theology

Two days ago (Jan. 25), Michael Horton’s newest book was released by Zondervan.  It is entitled The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology For Pilgrims on the Way.  The title itself is enough to make me think this book is going to be terrific.  Here is the publisher’s description:

The Christian Faith is written for a growing cast of pilgrims making their way together and will be especially welcomed by professors, pastors, students, and armchair theologians. Its features include: (1) a brief synopsis of biblical passages that inform a particular doctrine; (2) surveys of past and current theologies with contemporary emphasis on exegetical, philosophical, practical, and theological questions; (3) substantial interaction with various Christian movements within the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox traditions, as well as the hermeneutical issues raised by postmodernity; and (4) charts, sidebars, questions for discussion, and an extensive bibliography, divided into different entry levels and topics.

Horton was recently interviewed by John Starke (The Gospel Coalition).  Here are some highlights from the interview:

On the design of the book:

“I wanted to spend more time fleshing out each [theological] topic by integrating biblical theology with historical and systematic theology. So each major topic begins with a development of the theme from promise to fulfillment. In addition, I try to show the significance of each doctrine for life and engage with contemporary writers outside the tradition—even non-Christians. My basic approach is this: Theology arises first of all out of the drama of redemption, from which certain doctrines emerge that generate doxology and shape our discipleship in the world. That’s the rubric I have in mind in each chapter: Drama, Doctrine, Doxology, and Discipleship.”

On his purpose for writing:

“My goal throughout this volume is to persuade fellow believers that sound theology arises out of the Scriptures, to the practical end of reconciling sinners to God in Christ, so that we worship the Triune God and love and serve our neighbors in the world. Theology fuels mission. And I believe that Reformed theology—not just the “five points,” but its broader confession—is the richest, deepest, and most faithful account of the whole teaching of Scripture. Of course, that case has to be made and not just asserted; hence, the size of the book!”

Reflecting on what young pastors and theologians should focus on in the coming years:

“To be a disciple is to become an apprentice of our Lord through the ministry that he established in the Great Commission. It’s not just about ‘getting saved,’ but ‘growing up into Christ’ in his body. So we need to do theology not only for the church but in the church, and we need to think through more concretely what that looks like in an age of ‘mission creep.'”

I’m really looking forward to this one.  WTS Bookstore is already sold out.  As I was reading some of the book’s endorsements, Kevin Vanhoozer’s stuck out to me above all the rest:

“Horton’s Christian Faith has the great merit of never letting the reader forget that doctrine is for disciples who want to walk the way of Jesus Christ. Horton knows that the best systematic theology is a practical theology—one that helps us understand the ways of God, makes sense of life, and gives direction for God-glorifying living. He also knows that the best systematic theologies draw on biblical and historical theology. May many readers therefore take up this book, read, and walk!”

– Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Blanchard Professor of Theology, Wheaton College and Graduate School

You can read some sample pages from the book here.

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