Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 06:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

Readers will understand that we are not able to supply these books.

Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology, ed. A. T. B. McGowan (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP, 2006, 365 pages),

Depending on the reader’s turn of mind, or even mood at time of reading, Always Reforming can be fascinating and frustrating in equal measure, both for perfectly valid reasons.

With 11 contributors (the editor doubling up as author, and an introduction by John Frame), the aim of this volume is to survey some of the primary elements of systematic theology with a view to their future development. As the title of the collection indicates, these essays are an attempt to point toward the future development of particular doctrines. The intention is not to predict what is coming down the line, but to suggest what ought to be considered–in some instances, a necessity born more of an assault on truth than merely a desire to explore it further.

This is where the fascination and frustration begin to work. There is no single approach to this single aim, and so some of the contributors are much more positive, giving quite a definite and determinative call to the next generation, in effect saying, “This is where we have got to, and this is where you should go.” Others are less direct and more discursive, preferring to survey current issues and concerns, before suggesting some matters arising that need to be addressed. If you prefer your essay with hard edges and definite lines, you might enjoy the former and find the latter less distinct; if you like things to be a little more open-ended, then you might appreciate the latter and feel hemmed in by the former.

The editor’s introduction (as opposed to Frame’s) gives the reasons for this compendium: God is speaking today; theologians make mistakes; new issues require new thinking; Scripture must have priority over confessions of faith (robustly stated); and, the right of private judgment. He sets out the approach. Then we enter the fray.

Gerald Bray takes the Trinity, raising issues of Eastern and Western synthesis, being grounded in biblical theology, understanding the divine unity and attributes, and matters of ‘spiritual formation.’

Stephen Williams questions the future of system, prompted by Charles Simeon and G. C. Berkouwer, and challenges us not to stultify faith within dogma, but rather to employ theology to preserve dogma’s doxology.

Robert Reymond assesses the future of classical Christology, robustly presenting key scriptural data before posing a series of questions (in which he carefully explains the prob...

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