Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 144:573 (Jan 1987)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Christian Theology. Vol. 3. By Millard J. Erickson. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985. 444 pp. $19.95.

The publication of this third volume of a major new work in systematic theology marks the completion of Erickson’s theology. The author, a thoroughgoing inerrantist, is dean and professor of systematic theology at Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Treated extensively in Erickson’s irenic and perceptive manner are these major theological fields: the Holy Spirit, salvation, the church, and last things. The treatment of pneumatology is thorough and balanced. Erickson defends a view of the Book of Acts that sees it as transitional, and he points out that conversion, regeneration, and the baptism of the Spirit occur simultaneously. He deals with problem cases in Acts as being part of the transitional era and thus descriptive.

While he does not categorically disallow tongues as a true New Testament gift functioning today, he lays down the strict demands of the New Testament for judging the modern-day phenomena from 1 Corinthians 14.

Erickson’s development of soteriology is complete and analytical. He develops a moderate Calvinistic stance in the order of salvation, and defends ably the truth of election and predestination. In ecclesiology, he stresses the dynamic truth of the church as the body of Christ (the universal church), and he also deals thoroughly with key issues involving the local church. His treatment of church government is, in this reviewer’s opinion, the finest and most balanced appeal for a viable option of congregational polity that is currently available. He deals comprehensively with all forms of church government, systematically shows strengths and weaknesses inherent in all of them, and then irenically and logically develops the congregational form as a viable one. Baptism by immersion

is defended, but again, with an irenic spirit, as follows: “While it may not be the only valid form of baptism, it is the form which most fully preserves and accomplishes the meaning of baptism” (p. 1105; pagination follows in sequence from vol. 2).

Erickson’s treatment of eschatology is thorough. However, the documentation here is not nearly so complete as one would expect compared with what he provides in other sections of the work. He presents his view of posttribulation premillennialism. In dealing with modern dispensationalism, however, few recent sources are cited. In fact he assigns arbitrarily to dispensationalists a typological method of interpretation and cites as an example the explanation that the Song of Solomon is often viewed by d...

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