Cool Books on Theology

Books on theology worth their read (click on the image to be taken to Amazon.com to purchase any of the titles listed–you wont be sorry!):

General Theologies Handled in a Systematic Way

Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology–Daniel Migliores Faith Seeking Understanding has been a standard introduction to Christian theology for more than a decade. The books presentation of traditional doctrine in freshly contemporary ways, its concern to hear and critically engage new voices in theology, and its creative and accessible style have kept it one of the most stimulating, balanced, and readable guides to theology available.

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Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction–“This book is an extraordinary achievement, a tour de force by McGrath which will establish his reputation as one of Britain’s most important theologians. It will also introduce thousands of students to theology as a discipline with a rich heritage, clear sense of its own methods and norms, and an elusive yet articulate understanding of Christian language about God. For all of these reasons, Alister McGrath is to be congratulated.” Reviews in Religion and Theology

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Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God–This proven systematic theology represents the very best in evangelical theology. Stanley Grenz presents the traditional themes of Christian doctrine–God, humankind, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, and the last things–all within an emphasis on Gods central program for creation, namely, the establishment of community. Masterfully blending biblical, historical, and contemporary concerns, Grenzs respected work provides a coherent vision of the faith that is both intellectually satisfying and expressible in Christian living.

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Theological Trajectories of the Old and New Testament

Richard Hayes, The Moral Vision of the New Testament–“A leading expert in New Testament ethics discovers in the biblical witness a unified ethical vision — centered in the themes of community, cross and new creation — that has profound relevance in today’s world. Richard Hays shows how the New Testament provides moral guidance on the most troubling ethical issues of our time, including violence, divorce, homosexuality and abortion. Hays’ passionately written book, with its bold agenda, has neither peer nor rival.” –Leander E. Keck, Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology, Yale Divinity School

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J. David Pleins, The Social Visions of the Hebrew Bible–“Here is a cogent analysis of the social contexts of the writings of ancient Israel within their literary and cultural milieu.  Pleins ties together the disparate literature of the Hebrew Bible and demonstrates a greater unity of purpose and social agenda.  This volume thus provides a foundation for comparisons with modern concerns over social ethics.” –Victor H. Matthews, Southwest Missouri State University

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A New Apologetics

N. T. Wright, Simply ChristianWhy is justice fair? Why are so many people pursuing spirituality? Why do we crave relationship? And why is beauty so beautiful? N. T. Wright argues that each of these questions takes us into the mystery of who God is and what he wants from us. For two thousand years Christianity has claimed to answer these mysteries, and this renowned biblical scholar and Anglican bishop shows that it still does today. Like C. S. Lewis did in his classic Mere Christianity, Wright makes the case for Christian faith from the ground up, assuming that the reader is starting from ground zero with no predisposition to and perhaps even some negativity toward religion in general and Christianity in particular. His goal is to describe Christianity in as simple and accessible, yet hopefully attractive and exciting, a way as possible, both to say to outsides “You might want to look at this further,” and to say to insiders “You may not have quite understood this bit clearly yet.”

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Issues of Justice/Public Theology

David L. Clough & Brian Stiltner, Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War–“The presentation of issues is clear, the analysis of opposing views is searching, and the engagement between them is both thoughtful and candid. Far from a sterile textbook survey, this is a model of careful and honest dialogue, generating lively heat while shedding fresh light.” –Nigel Biggar, professor of theology and ethics, Trinity College Dublin “[This book’s] prose style is engaging, highly readable, literally conversational…in touch with the conversation its readers will carry out inside themselves… I do not know of a more readable text on the topic, or a text so current, or such a mutually respectful conversation and debate on the topic.” –Glen H. Stassen, Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary

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Stanley Hauerwas, Performing the Faith: Bonhoeffer and the Practice of Nonviolence–September 11, Afghanistan, Iraq–more than ever, this is a time for the church to be taking up the question of what, as Christians, our response to violence should be. In Performing the Faith, Stanley Hauerwas revisits the familiar territory of political nonviolence through discussion of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer-Christian ethicist, theologian, and by some definitions, martyr. This book is an intriguing commentary on Bonhoeffer’s bold claim that if our common life rests on lies and injustice, we cannot be a community of peace. Pastors, seminarians, and those interested in Christian ethics are among the many who will be interested in this new word from an unwavering, faithful voice.

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William R. Herzog II, Jesus, Justice, and the Reign of God: A Ministry of Liberation–In this groundbreaking book William Herzog bridges the gap between purely historical and theological interpretations of the life of Jesus with a compelling synthesis of politics and theology, faith and history.  Herzog portrays Jesus as a “prophet of the justice of the reign of God.”

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Mark G. Toulouse, God in Public: Four Ways American Christianity and Public Life Relate–In this important study, Mark Toulouse maps the ambiguous landscape between American Christianity and American public life. Built on an extensive study of religious periodical literature since the mid-1950s and on an analysis of landmark events in American history, Toulouse develops an insightful typology for understanding how Americans have related their Christian faith to public life. For Toulouse, the relationship between American Christianity and American public life exists in four styles of interaction: iconic faith, priestly faith, the public Christian, and the public church—with each model appearing in various forms across the terrain of American history. Carefully examined and accessibly written, this study is sure to generate discussion and bring clarity to the many ambiguities and diversities that continue to mark American Christianity.

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Theology in the Context of Churches of Christ

John Mark Hicks & Bobby Valentine, Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding–“…An excellent job showing how Scripture and contemporary scholarship sustain the commitments of Lipscomb and Harding and challenge our lives…” — Thomas H. Olbricht, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion, Pepperdine University

“This is church history at its best, using story and scripture to shape and move us.” — Douglas A. Foster, Director, Center for Restoration Studies, Abilene Christian University

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John Mark Hicks & Greg Taylor, Down in the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work–

“Brilliantly written, Down in the River to Pray is the most significant book on baptism to come out of the Stone-Campbell movement and should have wide influence in the larger Christian world…Every congregation should thoroughly study this biblical, historical, theological, and practical portrait of baptism.”– Gary Holloway, Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee

“John Mark Hicks and Greg Taylor have written a valuable book. Tracing baptism from its roots in Israel to the present day, they take a high view of baptism, calling it an ‘effectual sign, a sign that actually effects what it symbolizes.'”– Rees Bryant, Florida Christian College, Kissimmee, Florida

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John Mark Hicks, Come to the Table: Revisioning the Lord’s Supper–“This is a wonderful, comprehensive, and engaging invitation to deeper understanding of and participation in the Lord’s Supper. This will be a most useful book for pastors and congregations.” –William H. Willimon, author of Sunday Dinner: The Lord’s Supper and the Christian Life

I have been fortunate to hear Dr. Hicks’ Come to the Table in oral form. Our church family spent a month studying and implementing it. It has helped many see the Lord’s Supper as a joyous community event that focuses on the Risen Christ instead of a solemn and solitary reflection on his death. Instead of silence, there is sharing. Instead of sorrow rooted in gruesome memories, we experience table fellowship and joy. Readers will be challenged. Those who implement its insights will be blessed. –Rubel Shelly, President of Rochester College

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Theology and Fiction

C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia–Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures and epic battles between good and evil—the book that has it all is the lion, the witch and the wardrobe, written in 1949 by C. S. Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

For over fifty years, The Chronicles of Narnia have transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a land where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations.

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Battlestar Galactica–Okay, so this one is not in print.  But still!  This is science fiction at its best with riveting plot, powerful social commentary, and exploring issues unknown (including the metaphysical/theological).  You may not always agree with its underlying philosophies, but it will totally engage your theological and political mind.  Enjoy the ride.

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