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Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology (8 vols.)
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Gathering Interest


This collection of respected resources makes Christian theology done in a modern setting more accessible. For two thousand years, thinkers and theologians have discussed God’s interactions with mankind with fresh approaches. Keith Johnson explores the Trinitarian theology of St. Augustine to assess and critique recent ideas about the Trinity in relation to religious pluralism. Archie J. Spencer addresses Karl Barth and others’ use of analogy when speaking of a transcendent God. Other studies include extensive discussion on epistemology, evolution and Christian humanism, how theology explains addiction in terms of virtue ethics, effective suggestions for preaching from Gardner C. Taylor, and more. The pressing needs of God’s church in today’s world demand theology that rises to the occasion. These thoughtful works present readers with careful answers from an Evangelical perspective.

With Logos Bible Software, these valuable volumes are enhanced by cutting-edge research tools. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Powerful topical searches help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Tablet and mobile apps let you take the discussion with you. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Theology that seeks to meet modern needs while remaining both orthodox and edifying
  • References the teaching of major thinkers of the past and today
  • Assists pastors and teachers in guarding those they lead against aberrant teaching

Product Details

  • Title: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Volumes: 8
  • Pages: 2,500
  • Resource Type: Monographs
  • Topic: Theology; Evangelism

Individual Titles

Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

  • Author: Kent Dunnington
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 199

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

What is the nature of addiction? Neither of the two dominant models (disease or choice) adequately accounts for the experience of those who are addicted or of those who are seeking to help them.

In this interdisciplinary work, Kent Dunnington brings the neglected resources of philosophical and theological analysis to bear on the problem of addiction. Drawing on the insights of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, he formulates an alternative to the usual reductionist models.

Going further, Dunnington maintains that addiction is not just a problem facing individuals. Its pervasiveness sheds prophetic light on our cultural moment. Moving beyond issues of individual treatment, this groundbreaking study also outlines significant implications for ministry within the local church context.

Drawing on Aristotle’s and Aquinas’s accounts of habit, Kent Dunnington has given us an analysis of addiction we have desperately needed. Few are able to combine philosophical analysis with theological insight, but Dunnington has done it in a manner that helps us better understand the nature of addiction and why it is so prevalent in our time. This is a book that needs to be read, not only by those who work in the fields of addictive behaviors but also by philosophers, theologians and pastors. I suspect in a short amount of time, this book will be viewed as something of a classic in the field.

—Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

In Addiction and Virtue Kent Dunnington uses Aristotle, Thomas and the philosophically clarified concept of habit to illuminate addiction. The addicts in our midst emerge as ‘contemporary prophets’ who, if we can but find the ears to hear them, call society as a whole to profound change and the Christian church in particular to renewal. This valuable book points the way, if we are ever to recover from all our junkie-like ‘habits’ of personal behavior and social interaction, to turn them into truly sustaining habitats for flourishing human life.

—Francis F. Seeburger, professor of philosophy, University of Denver

Kent Dunnington is associate professor of philosophy at Biola University. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Texas A&M and an MTS in theology from Duke University.

Crossover Preaching: Intercultural-Improvisational Homiletics in Conversation with Gardner C. Taylor

  • Author: Jared E. Alcántara
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 352

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

As society becomes more culturally diverse and globally connected, churches and seminaries are rapidly changing. As the church changes, preaching must change too.

Crossover Preaching proposes a way forward through conversation with the “dean of the nation’s black preachers,” Gardner C. Taylor, senior pastor emeritus of Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. In this richly interdisciplinary study, Jared E. Alcántara argues that an analysis of Taylor’s preaching reveals an improvisational-intercultural approach that recovers his contemporary significance and equips US churches and seminary classrooms for the future.

Alcántara argues that preachers and homileticians need to develop intercultural and improvisational proficiencies to reach an increasingly intercultural church. Crossover Preaching equips them with concrete practices designed to help them cultivate these competencies and thus communicate effectively in a changing world.

Christian preaching in the twenty-first century will need to be what Alcántara calls intercultural, and his Crossover Preaching bridges oral and literary cultures, racial and ethnic divides, and theory and practice. May the exemplar of Alcántara’s analysis here inspire many to improvise homiletically under the power of the Spirit for the next generation.

—Amos Yong, Fuller Theological Seminary

Dr. Alcántara first makes a convincing claim that worship will continue in America through this century, but our churches will look very different. Then he makes a compelling case that anyone who is going to survive as a preacher has to learn new skills in order to proclaim the gospel to an intercultural society. Best of all, he lets the amazing preacher Dr. Gardner Taylor show us how it is done.

—M. Craig Barnes, president, Princeton Theological Seminary

Jared E. Alcántara (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of homiletics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. An ordained Baptist minister, he has served as a youth pastor, associate pastor, and teaching pastor in Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, and New Jersey. He has also served as an adjunct instructor at Gordon-Conwell’s Hispanic Ministries Program in New York City and as a doctoral teaching fellow in homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. Alcántara’s teaching and research is primarily in homiletics, with other interests in global south preaching and the role of race and ethnicity in preaching, especially in Latino/a and African American contexts.

Evolution and Holiness: Sociobiology, Altruism and the Quest for Wesleyan Perfection

  • Author: Matthew Nelson Hill
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Pages: 251

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Theology needs to engage what recent developments in the study of evolution mean for how we understand moral behavior. How does the theological concept of holiness connect to contemporary understandings of evolution? If genetic explanations of altruism fall short, what role should we give to environmental explanations and free will? Likewise, how do genetic explanations relate to theological accounts of human goodness and holiness?

In this groundbreaking work, Matthew Hill uses the lens of Wesleyan ethics to offer a fresh assessment of the intersection of evolution and theology. He shows that what is at stake in this conversation is not only the future of the church but also the fine-tuning of human evolution.

John Wesley insisted that the most compelling evidence for (1) the integrity of human choice and (2) the possibility of authentic love of God and neighbor was the life of a Christian saint, but he also recognized the value—yea, the necessity—of contesting scientific accounts of human nature and action that appeared to undercut these convictions. Matthew Hill’s engagement with sociobiology is an insightful continuation of this apologetic task, defending the possibility of and offering wisdom toward the nurturing of Christian saints in our day.

—Randy L. Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Duke University Divinity School

When it comes to explanations of human nature and proclivities, science and theology often find themselves talking past each other, so it may be difficult to imagine a conversation with evolutionary biology about the profoundly theological notion of holiness. Matthew Hill not only imagines it but exemplifies it, working deftly with sociobiology and Wesleyan theology in a way that brings the two into a fruitful interaction focused on divine grace working within the restraints of creation. We are indebted to Hill for this fine display of science-faith dialogue and robust emphasis on the centrality of the church and its practices for Christian formation.

—Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary

Matthew Nelson Hill (PhD, Durham University) is assistant professor of philosophy in the department of theology at Spring Arbor University. He is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church and previously served as a pastor in the Genesis Conference while teaching at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Incarnational Humanism: A Philosophy of Culture for the Church in the World

  • Author: Jens Zimmermann
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 357

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Having left its Christian roots behind, the West faces a moral, spiritual and intellectual crisis. It has little left to maintain its legacy of reason, freedom, human dignity and democracy. Far from capitulating, Jens Zimmermann believes the church has an opportunity to speak a surprising word into this postmodern situation grounded in the Incarnation itself that is proclaimed in Christian preaching and eucharistic celebration.

To do so requires that we retrieve an ancient Christian humanism for our time. Only this will acknowledge and answer the general demand for a common humanity beyond religious, denominational and secular divides. Incarnational Humanism thus points the way forward by pointing backward. Rather than resorting to theological novelty, Zimmermann draws on the rich resources found in Scripture and in its theological interpreters ranging from Irenaeus and Augustine to de Lubac and Bonhoeffer.

Zimmermann masterfully draws his comprehensive study together by proposing a distinctly evangelical philosophy of culture. That philosophy grasps the link between the new humanity inaugurated by Christ and all of humanity. In this way he holds up a picture of the public ministry of the church as a witness to the world’s reconciliation to God.

Despite wading through deep waters of theology and philosophy, the author’s nimble prose makes this book readable and suitable for both advanced undergraduates and graduate students in theology. I would suggest it for inclusion in an introductory course on historical theology, and classes on Christianity and culture or philosophy and theology.

—Michael Buttrey, The Conrad Grebel Review, Fall 2013

Zimmermann rightly challenges the dualism that remains endemic to much evangelical spirituality. Tracing the history of incarnational humanism, he presents a call back to a sacramental, participatory view of reality. Perhaps the most hopeful element of Zimmermann’s account is its concluding plea for the centrality of the Eucharist for a Christian approach to the world. This book will become assigned reading for my Theology of Culture class!

—Hans Boersma, Regent College, Vancouver

Jens Zimmermann (PhD, Johannes Gutenberg University; PhD, University of British Columbia) is Canada Research Chair of Interpretation, Religion, and Culture at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, as well as a professor of English, philosophy, and literature. He is the author of Incarnational Humanism and Recovering Theological Hermeneutics. He is also the general editor of International Bonhoeffer Interpretations and sits on the editorial board of Evangelical Review, Meaning: Journal for Existential Psychology and on the advisory board of Verge: A Journal for Arts and Christian Faith.

Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism: An Augustinian Assessment

  • Author: Keith E. Johnson
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 286

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Increased interest in the doctrine of the Trinity has led to its use in formulating new, pluralistic approaches to the theology of religions. But theologian Keith Johnson is convinced that many of these forays are not salutary for Christian faith. Here, Johnson critically engages the diverse proposals of Mark Heim, Amos Yong, Jacques Dupuis and Raimundo Panikkar.

Johnson grounds his evaluation in an extended study of St. Augustine’s Trinitarian theology. This doctor of the church provided an ecumenical theological standard down through the ages, and Johnson argues, Augustine’s perspective is one that should continue to serve as a criterion for faithful Trinitarian thinking now.

Locating the points at which the four proposals diverge from the Augustinian norm, Johnson delves into essential aspects of the Trinitarian doctrine including immanence and economy, the relations of the divine Persons, and the proper use of the vestigia trinitatis in creation. Johnson’s critique of these intriguing experiments draws attention to the methodological errors that plague attempts to apply the doctrine of the Trinity to a wide range of topics.

Keith Johnson’s clearly written and theologically incisive Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism makes a critical contribution to Christian dogmatics on at least three fronts: It provides an invaluable resource for thinking about the relationship between two of contemporary theology’s most important topics, the doctrine of the Trinity and the reality of religious pluralism. It introduces readers to the most up-to-date scholarship on the oft-misunderstood and oft-maligned Augustine of Hippo. And it serves as a model of evangelical ressourcement, exhibiting a loving attention to the theological riches of the past for the sake of theological renewal in the present.

—Scott R. Swain, Reformed Theological Seminary

Following the turn to trinitarian theology, a cadre of evangelical theologians is making a substantial contribution to the doctrine of the Trinity. With this book, Keith Johnson distinguishes himself as a significant member of this important group. Drawing upon the historical resource of Augustine’s formulation of the doctrine to address and assess current appeals to the Trinity as grounding for a theology of religions, Johnson is exemplary in terms of evaluative methodology and fairness as he sounds a cautionary note to those who would claim a trinitarian foundation for their theological proposals. I highly recommend this work!

—Gregg R. Allison, professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Keith E. Johnson presently serves as the National Director of Theological Education for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). In this capacity, he oversees the on-the-job theological training of 5000 Cru missionaries in the U.S. and directs Cru’s Institute of Biblical Studies. He has been teaching at Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando since 2008 as a Guest Lecturer in Systematic Theology. Dr. Johnson’s research interests include the doctrine of the Trinity, the contemporary challenge of religious pluralism and the Christian theology of religions, the theological interpretation of Scripture and contextualizing the gospel in cross-cultural contexts.

The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakability

  • Author: Archie J. Spencer
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 445

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If God is transcendent, how can human beings speak meaningfully about him? For centuries philosophers and theologians have asked whether it is possible to talk about God. If talking of God is possible, then how is this accomplished? The shared answer to this question goes by the name of “analogy,” which accounts for both similarity and difference between the divine being and human language. In the twentieth century, Karl Barth, Erich Przywara, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Eberhard Jüngel explored this question in new and controversial ways that continue to shape contemporary debates in theology.

In The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakability, Archie Spencer examines the problem of analogy in its ancient, medieval and modern forms. He argues for a Christological version of Barth’s analogy of faith that is also informed by Jüngel’s analogy of advent as a Protestant theological answer to the problem of God’s speakability.

In this engaging volume, Archie J. Spencer explores the controverted issue at the heart of the enterprise of theology—the issue of analogy. The book offers not only a discerning conversation with Augustine and Aquinas on analogy, attending to both their philosophical predecessors and their complex reception histories, but also a thoughtful interaction with more recent work on analogy from Karl Barth and Eberhard Jüngel. The result of this series of studies, as well as of the related exegetical labors, is Spencer’s own constructive proposal, setting forth a new, resolutely Christocentric understanding of analogy along the three complementary dimensions of participation, performance and parable. This is rigorous and generative Christian dogmatics of an impressive order and deserves to be widely attended.

—Paul T. Nimmo, University of Aberdeen

The question of analogy leads to the heart of the very possibility of theology. Spencer invites his readers to consider afresh the long tradition of reflection on analogy with a view to a contemporary restatement of both the classical problem and its possible evangelical solution. Drawing upon Barth and Jüngel in particular, he argues convincingly that faithful talk of God can and must be graciously suspended from the living and eloquent reality of Jesus Christ. Spencer here makes a substantive contribution to a fundamental debate in Christian theology.

—Philip G. Ziegler, University of Aberdeen

Archie J. Spencer (ThD, University of Toronto School of Theology) is associate professor of theology and John H. Pickford Chair of Systematic Theology for Northwest Baptist Seminary. A scholar, speaker, and theologian, he has spoken and taught at institutions all over the world such as Wycliffe College, MacMaster Divinity College, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Seattle Pacific University, Briercrest Seminary, Trinity Western University, Redeemer Pacific College, Regent College, and Associated Canadian Theological Schools. Spencer is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Karl Barth Society of North America, Society for the Study of Theology, and is a founding member of the Western Institute for Theological Studies. His research and publication interests include contemporary theology in the Western tradition and the theology of Karl Barth, Eberhard Jüngel, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He has also served as a pastor within the Pentecostal and Baptist contexts for over fifteen years.

The God of the Gospel: Robert Jenson’s Trinitarian Theology

  • Author: Scott R. Swain
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 258

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Who is the God of the gospel? Robert W. Jenson’s answer to this question, according to Scott Swain, hinges on the nature of the relationship between God in himself and the redemptive events through which God becomes our God.

Swain first locates Jenson’s pursuit of a relentlessly “evangelical” understanding of God in the broader history of Trinitarian theology after Karl Barth. He then carefully and sympathetically unpacks Jenson’s doctrine of the Trinity. For Jenson, one of today’s most prominent theologians, the answer to the question, “Who is the God of the gospel?” may be summarized as, “The one who raised Jesus from the dead.” Swain then offers a constructive evaluation of Jenson’s account of the mutually constitutive character of God’s intrinsic identity and saving acts.

Although critical of many of Jenson’s Trinitarian reinterpretations, Swain remains attentive to Jenson’s concerns and insights. In the process, Swain sheds new light on what it means for the ecumenical Trinitarian tradition to advocate a truly evangelical doctrine of the Trinity. This theologizing is done within the wake of the twentieth-century recasting of the identity of the God of the gospel.

What is at stake here is the path of contemporary Protestant dogmatics in the wake of Karl Barth. In this beautifully written and richly rewarding work, Swain lays out a salutary and sensible path for trinitarian dogmatics. He establishes himself as a reliable guide and mentor to a new generation of theologians--both Protestant and Catholic--who seek to build upon and develop Barth’s insights today.

—Matthew Levering, professor of theology, University of Dayton

Written with admirable lucidity, attentiveness and charity, this is a fine piece of dogmatic thinking from a theologian of prowess.

—John Webster, chair of systematic theology, University of Aberdeen

Scott R. Swain (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of systematic theology and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando.

Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma: How Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga Provide a Unified Response

  • Author: Kevin Diller
  • Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Pages: 352

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The problem of faith and reason is as old as Christianity itself. Today’s philosophical, scientific and historical challenges make the epistemic problem inescapable for believers. Can faith justify its claims? Does faith give us confidence in the truth? Is believing with certainty a virtue or a vice?

In Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma, Kevin Diller addresses this problem by drawing on two of the most significant responses in recent Christian thought: Karl Barth’s theology of revelation and Alvin Plantinga’s epistemology of Christian belief. This will strike many as unlikely, given the common stereotypes of both thinkers. Contrary to widespread misunderstanding, Diller offers a reading of both as complementary to each other: Barth provides what Plantinga lacks in theological depth, while Plantinga provides what Barth lacks in philosophical clarity. Diller presents a unified Barth/Plantinga proposal for theological epistemology capable of responding without anxiety to the questions that face believers today.

Christians today are faced with epistemological challenges all the time: How can I know that this is the truth? What warrant do I have for my beliefs? Is the Bible trustworthy? Can I know that there is a God? The list goes on. The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth gave certain answers to these worries. In a different context, philosopher Alvin Plantinga has spent much of his career tackling such issues. However, these two thinkers are often regarded as providing quite different answers to these questions. In this book, Kevin Diller gives an account of Barth and Plantinga that shows a deep consonance between them and their respective attempts to address the epistemological troubles we face. This is an outstanding work that repays careful study. All those who care about the future of Christian theology and philosophy, and the conversation between the two disciplines, ought to read it.

—Oliver Crisp, Fuller Theological Seminary

In this groundbreaking study, Kevin Diller addresses a fundamental challenge for the Christian faith, namely, how one can affirm the knowability, universality and warrant of its theological claims while simultaneously recognizing the frailty and fallibility of those who hold them. Drawing on the complementary insights of Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga, whose approaches are so often mistakenly assumed to be in tension, Diller provides an original, rigorously argued and deeply convincing response to the epistemological grounding problem. This field-changing volume exemplifies analytic theology at its finest. More significantly it defines the way forward for any theology that seeks to be true to the trinitarian and incarnational core of the Christian gospel. This is not only inspirational but obligatory reading for academics, students and intellectually engaged Christians alike.

—Alan J. Torrance, University of St. Andrews

Kevin Diller (PhD, University of St Andrews) is associate professor of philosophy and religion at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Calvin Theological Seminary, and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Notre Dame where he was awarded the prestigious Frederick J. Crosson Fellowship from the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion. Diller has written numerous journal articles which have appeared in publications such as Faith and Philosophy and the Scottish Journal of Theology.