Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem – A Review
Steph Nickel reviews Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. She concludes that readers don’t need a seminary degree to understand it.
The Area of Apologetics
And now for something completely different.
I’ve been a believer in Jesus since I was a young child. I have always accepted the Bible as the Word of God. It never mattered to me personally to learn how our spiritual predecessors settled on what would be included and what wouldn’t be.
However, I’m feeling increasingly led to expand my knowledge in this area and in the area of apologetics (“defending my faith”)—slowly, while continuing to pursue other opportunities the Lord has brought my way.
My eclectic interests and eclectic pursuits are the reason I haven’t done so in the past and why I have many resources waiting in the wings for my attention.
Effectively Sharing Faith
So, in light of the conviction that although my faith may not depend on a greater understanding of these issues, my effectiveness in sharing my faith will definitely increase. I don’t have to convince others of the truth of God’s Word; that’s up to Him. I do, however, have an obligation to say more than “I believe it because God gave me the gift of faith.”
For many of you, these observations seem obvious, but for a number of reasons, I couldn’t previously add “one more thing”—no matter how important—to my already-too-long To Do list.
So, I’m wading in slowly.
I’ve begun to read Wayne Grudem’s massive book, Systematic Theology. I also have the Get an A! study guide based on the book. I will work my way through that first. (It will take approximately an hour to read if I do so carefully and make note of what the author is saying.) The book, however, will take me several months to get through—and that’s okay.
The study guide includes a synopsis of the following topics: The Word of God (Word of God, Canon of Scripture, Authority of Scripture, Clarity of Scripture, Necessity of Scripture, and Sufficiency of Scripture); the Doctrine of God (Traditional “Proofs” for God’s Existence, Incommunicable Attribute of God, The Communicable Attributes of God, the Trinity, Creation, and God’s Providence); The Doctrine of Man (an overview and Sin); the Doctrines of Christ and the Holy Spirit (The Person of Christ, the Doctrine of the Atonement, Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, and the Work of the Holy Spirit); The Doctrine of the Application of Redemption; The Doctrine of the Church; and The Doctrine of the Future.
Sounds like an essential overview to me!
And what does the introduction of the study guide say?
What Does the Bible Teach Us?
Systematic theology: any study that answers the question, “What does the whole Bible teach us today?” on a given topic.
A doctrine: what the whole Bible teaches us today about a particular topic.
ST [Systematic Theology] summarizes each doctrine as it should be understood and applied to present-day Christians.
Study ST so you obey the Great Commission, overcome wrong ideas, make better decisions on new questions, and grow as Christians (Matt. 28:19-20).
Study ST with prayer, humility, reason, help from others, by collecting and understanding all the relevant passages of Scripture on any topic, and with rejoicing and praise.
Grudem’s Style & Approach
I appreciate Wayne Grudem’s writing style, his author voice. While the text is extensive, it is approachable. Readers don’t need a seminary degree to understand it. Plus, as you can tell from the introduction, the author discusses how to apply the doctrines he explores in the book. It is more than a dry, academic text.
That said, you may not find textbooks dry. In fact, you may find them fascinating, even lifechanging. My husband enjoys learning just for the sake of learning.
It’s appeal to both the types of readers is one of the reasons I chose to read this particular book and think you, too, may enjoy it whether you approach a nonfiction book more like I do or more like Dave does.
Another reason I appreciate Grudem’s writing is because he explores a variety of interpretations of the biblical text. As we know, many—if not most—Christians hold a strong opinion about what will happen during “the End Times.” The author defines and explores the views held by Amillennials, Postmillennials, and Premillennials.
For those of you who enjoy reading theology texts, you may be interested in all seven appendices: Historic Confessions of Faith, Scripture Memory Passages from the NIV and NASB, Contemporary Worship Songs Classified by Chapter, Annotated Bibliography of Evangelical Systematic Theologies, Master List of Systematic Theologies …, and the Monogenes Controversy: “Only” or “Only Begotten”?.
Systematic Theology was written in 1994. Therefore, the songs the author cites are no longer considered contemporary. However, you may find the tools he use for analysis helpful when considering 21st century worship songs as well.
What Christian resources have you found to be indispensable?
Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. In all she does, Steph seeks to nurture and inspire. She is currently working on the first book in a nonfiction series. Nurture and Inspire LOVE is a compilation of the first devotionals she wrote for HopeStreamRadio.
Steph is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. Deb and Steph are working on a follow-up book.
You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
Visit Steph’s contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.