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Engaging Theology: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Introduction



Theology today is faced with increasing amounts of religious and theological pluralism. What is distinctive about Christian theology? Why do these ideas matter? And the biggest question of all: Who cares? Key aspects of orthodox theology are seen as speculative and irrelevant to “authentic” Christianity and to personal spirituality. While not succumbing to the pragmatism of the age, this book shows that key elements of Christian theology ground an integrated worldview and are essential for spiritual formation.

Engaging Theology is an introductory theology textbook that grounds a treatment of standard systematic topics in the wider context of life and practice and shows the relevance of each doctrine to the church. The book treats the essential doctrines of Christian orthodoxy by following the pattern of story, doctrinal exposition, theological relevance, and spiritual relevance:

  • Story: Each chapter begins with a brief and engaging account of the historical situation out of which the doctrine arose or where it played an essential role in the development of the church, showing students that orthodox theology matters and introducing them to most of the key theologians in the history of the church.
  • Doctrinal Exposition: The heart of the chapter is exposition of key elements of the doctrine, highlighting core and debated elements while clarifying heterodox perspectives. Integrated with the narrative account this section also models the contextualized nature of theology. Each chapter includes biblical, historical, and contemporary views on the issue and notes key figures in the debates and their influence.
  • Theological Relevance: While theological relevance is clear throughout each chapter, this section highlights relevance to the modern setting and concerns, including interaction with heterodox and non-Christian faiths. It identifies current theological problems besetting the church and shows how a proper understanding and integration of orthodox theology addresses these problems. It also points to other problems the church is facing for interesting discussion starters.
  • Spiritual Relevance: Since orthodox theology has a direct influence on one’s own spiritual formation and practice, each chapter concludes with practical encouragements and discussions about how each doctrine can be integrated in one's personal and corporate life.

Resource Experts
  • Examines how theological reflection is embedded deeply in the biblical narrative and in contemporary life
  • Bridges the biblical and historical contexts out of which ecumenical consensus has arisen
  • Provides a holistic approach to help restore the balance between the head, heart, and the hands
  • Introduction
  • Theological Method: How to Do Theology
  • Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  • Revelation: God Reveals Himself
  • God and the World: Creator and Creation
  • Jesus the Christ: The Incarnate Messiah
  • Holy Spirit: The Lord and Giver of Life
  • Humanity and Sin: Human Flourishing and Failure
  • Salvation: Participating in New Creation
  • The Church: The People of God
  • Eschatology: New Creation and the End
  • Conclusion
Ben Blackwell and Randy Hatchett have put together an eminently readable introduction to Christian theology for students. It contains a good balance of Bible, church history, and theological description, is ever mindful of contemporary application, and explains strange topics with simplicity and clarity. A valuable resource for anyone beginning theological studies.

Rev. Dr. Michael F. Bird, academic dean and lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

This is the theology textbook that I wish I had been reading during my undergraduate and seminary theological education. It engages the Bible but is not simply the homogenized biblicaltheological approach that I encountered. This work understands hermeneutics and presents theological method, yet it is practical. It points to the boundaries of orthodoxy and to questions that may be open. It understands that theology develops through history (and without quoting J. H. Newman). It opens the student up to dialogue with a variety of Christian perspectives and with other major religions, yet there is a firm core commitment. It is clearly Protestant, even Evangelical, but it is open to Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and other perspectives as well. I heartily recommend its use as a teaching text or as a work to learn how to present Christian theology clearly and how to dialogue without slipping into a relativistic approach.

—Rev. Peter H. Davids, New Testament editor, Word Biblical Commentary

Professors Blackwell and Hatchett have provided us with a thoughtful volume to introduce students to many of the wide-ranging topics, themes, and issues in the field of systematic theology. In these pages, readers will find helpful biographical portraits of significant Christian thinkers, interaction with various religious traditions, and insightful applications focused on spiritual formation and the life of the church. Though some readers will ponder the inclusion or exclusion of some topics or some of the authors’ conclusions, they will nevertheless be encouraged and helped by the authors’ commitments to Trinitarian orthodoxy, to the importance of key aspects of the Christian tradition, and to genuine theological engagement.

—David S. Dockery, chancellor and professor of Christianity and culture, Trinity International University

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Ben C. Blackwell (PhD, University of Durham) is associate professor of early Christianity at Houston Baptist University. He has authored a number of essays and articles related to Historical Theology and the New Testament, including Christosis: Engaging Pauline Soteriology with His Patristic Interpreters. He is currently working on new monograph: Participating in the Righteousness of God: Justification in Pauline Theology. He also served as a co-editor for several volumes: Paul and the Apocalyptic Imagination; Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism; and Reading Mark in Context: Jesus and Second Temple Judaism.

R.L. Hatchett is Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University


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