Book Reviews -- By: Matthew S. DeMoss
BSac 163:651 (July-September 2006) p. 351
By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
Systematic Theology. By Norman Geisler. Vol. 1: Introduction and Bible. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2002. 627 pp. $34.99. Vol. 2: God and Creation. Minneapolis. Bethany House Publishers, 2003. 720 pp. $34.99. Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2004. 624 pp. $34.99. Vol. 4: Church and Last Things. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2005. 784 pp. $34.99.
This four-volume set is a magisterial work by a seasoned evangelical statesman. It is Norman Geisler at his best. In each volume his philosophical, exegetical, historical, and theological skills combine to provide a readable and accessible treatment of theological issues and doctrines. These volumes provide a wealth of resource material for pastors, students, and laypersons interested in understanding theology. Geisler defines systematic theology as “an attempt to construct a comprehensive and consistent whole out of all revelation from God, either special (biblical) or general (natural) revelation” (1:16, italics his). With nearly three thousand pages in these four volumes, it seems Geisler takes seriously the goal to be comprehensive. His outline progresses logically through the standard doctrinal categories from bibliology through eschatology.
The first volume begins abruptly with a definition of “prolegomena” rather than an introduction to the author and his purpose for writing. An introduction to the series would have helped to orient readers, particularly anyone unfamiliar with Geisler and his impressive body of writings. Readers would be aided by an explanation of the approach of the work, the author’s ecclesiastical perspective, education, and experience, and similar preliminary matters.
The first volume treats the doctrinal categories of prolegomena and bibliology. After a brief chapter of definitions of several key terms Geisler begins chapter two with the metaphysical claim that “the existence of a theistic God is the foundation of Christian theology” (1:18). Several chapters discuss miracles, revelation, logic, meaning of language, truth, hermeneutics, and similar issues of theological methodology. But the heart of the book is bibiology. Nearly two-thirds of this first volume is devoted to the doctrine of Scripture. Geisler’s defense of inspiration, inerrancy, and the authority of the Bible from the teaching of Scripture as well as from philosophical arguments and historical figures is clear and compelling. Two appendixes complete the first volume, one addressing objections to
BSac 163:651 (July-September 2006...
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