Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JBTM 5:2 (Fall 2008) p. 119
A Theology for the Church. Edited by Daniel L. Akin. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2007. 979 pages. $49.99 cloth.
President Akin of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his thirteen author-contributors have produced what is presumably designed to be a textbook for systematic theology in SBC seminaries and a major resource for Southern Baptist pastors (see Albert Mohler’s “Conclusion”). The editor’s claim that the book is “a unique approach to a systematic theology text book with multiple participants” (viii) is true among Southern Baptists but not generally true, as, for example, is made clear by two other volumes: Charles Webb Carter (Methodist), ed., A Contemporary Wesleyan Theology, 2 vols. (1983), and Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson (Lutheran), eds., Christian Dogmatics, 2 vols. (1984). But this project is indeed for Southern Baptists a notable venture. Three aspects call for specific attention: the structured proportion of the chapters, the theological positions taken, and the overall scope of the book.
The chapters have been designed to be written so as to consist of four constituent parts, each answering a question: (1) “What does the Bible say?” (biblical); (2) “What has the church believed?” (historical); (3) “How does it all fit together?” (systematic); and (4) “What is the significance of the doctrine for today?” (practical). Although nothing is said about the desired proportions of space to be allocated to each of the four parts, one might assume that there ought to be an approximate equality among the first three, if not among all four, parts.
In fact only Malcolm Yarnell (Holy Spirit), David Nelson (providence), and Russell Moore (eschatology) have approximated such balance. For Timothy George (God), Nelson (creation), and John Hammett (human nature) the biblical section is by far the longest, and for Akin (person of Christ) and Mark Dever (ecclesiology) the biblical section is longer than the other three sections combined. With David Dockery/Nelson (special revelation) the systematic section is longer than the other three sections combined, and with Kenneth Keathley (salvation) the systematic is twice as long as the other sections combined. For Paige Patterson (work of Christ) the biblical and systematic sections are much longer than the historical and practical, and for Moore (natural revelation) the biblical and historical sections are much longer than the systematic and practical. For Gregory Thornbury (prolegomena) the historical section occupies 43% and a philosophical introduction 21%. In the historical sections of the chapters, nine of the authors found Baptist authors worthy of mention, whereas Akin, Patterson, Yarnell, and Keat...
Click here to subscribe