Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 7:2 (Summer 2003) p. 104
No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God. Foundations of Evangelical Theology. By John S. Feinberg. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001, 879 pp., $35.00 paper.
Anyone who sets out to write a doctrine of God in our day undertakes both an important and enormous task. Over the last couple of centuries the church has faced incredible challenges from philosophy, science, and theology that have led many, both outside and within evangelicalism, to revise and reformulate traditional understandings of Christian theism, as evidenced by such movements as process and open theism. Into such a setting, John Feinberg, professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, presents his mammoth volume, No One Like Him. His work is part of the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series that Crossway has launched, the second of three volumes now published, with more still to come, that attempts to address the main loci of systematic theology for today’s church. Feinberg’s contribution to the series will certainly be welcomed since it delivers what the series promises: a biblically faithful, theologically sound, and philosophically astute presentation of the doctrine of God, while avoiding the pressure that so many have succumbed to, namely to compromise the glory, beauty, and truth of the God of Scripture.
The overall theme by which Feinberg presents the doctrine of God may be summarized by the phrase, “the king who cares.” By this Feinberg is attempting to walk a middle path between classical theism and current views such as open and process theism. He admits that not all the formulations of classical theism, often associated with such individuals as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas as well as the medieval tradition, are correct. In fact, he admits that some of the criticisms of process and open theists are not all wrong, especially those criticisms directed against the tradition’s understanding of divine immutability, impassibility, and God’s relationship to time. However, Feinberg is also convinced that process and open theism are hardly the best alternative for evangelicals today. Thus, one of Feinberg’s main goals in his work is not to bury God, but to reconstruct him—at least to refashion the idea of God from an evangelical perspective, “I intend to offer an account of God which is sensitive to process and open view concerns without altogether abandoning the best insights of the classical conception. And I intend to ground that conception in Scripture” (p 32). In the end, Feinberg wants to present God as “absolutely sovereign, but he is no tyrant, nor is he the remote and unrelated God of classical theism. He is instead the king who cares!” How does Feinberg organize his work? He divides it into three main sections.
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