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The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism
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The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism


Baylor University Press 2005

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There is no doubting the legacy of the Protestant Reformers and their successors. Luther, Calvin, and Wesley not only spawned specific denominational traditions, but their writings have been instrumental in forging a broadly embraced evangelical theology as well.

In this volume, Ben Witherington wrestles with some of the big ideas of these major traditional theological systems (sin, God’s sovereignty, prophecy, grace, and the Holy Spirit), asking tough questions about their biblical foundations. Witherington argues that evangelicalism sometimes wrongly assumes a biblical warrant for some of its more popular beliefs, and, further, he pushes the reader to engage the larger story and plot of the Bible to understand these central elements of belief.

This volume carefully assesses topics with a firm biblical basis and provides readers with a deeper understanding of the foundations—as well as the contemporary implications they bring. Perfect for scholars, students, pastors, and laypersons alike, the Logos edition of these theological works is fully searchable and easily accessible. Scripture passages are linked directly to your English translations and to the original Greek text, and important theological concepts are linked to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of resources in your digital library.

Key Features

  • Discusses the legacy and theological heritage of the Reformation
  • Examines issues with modern-day Evangelicalism
  • Includes an extensive works cited and notes section for further study


  • Overture: The Legacy of the Reformers
  • Part One: Augustine’s Children: The Problems with Reformed Theology
    • Oh Adam, Where Art Thou?
    • Squinting at the Pauline “I” Chart
    • Laying Down the Law with Luther
    • Awaiting the Election Results
  • Part Two: On Dispensing with Dispensationalism
    • Enraptured but Not Uplifted: The Origins of Dispensationalism and Prophecy
    • What Goes Up, Must Come Down: The Problem with Rapture Theology
    • Will the Real Israel of God Please Stand Up?
  • Part Three: Mr. Wesley Heading West
    • Jesus, Paul, and John: Keeping Company in the Kingdom
    • New Birth or New Creatures?
    • Amazing Prevenient Grace and Entire Sanctification
  • Part Four: The Long Journey Home—Where Do We Go from Here?
    • Reimagining the Mystery
    • And So?
  • Coda: Rebirth of Orthodoxy or Return to Fundamentalism?

Praise for the Print Edition

Ben Witherington reminds us that being Reformed is a continual process. He calls Evangelical Christians to a fresh look at their claim to take Scripture seriously. Few scholars are better placed to do so. Witherington is authoritative and writes here with his usual compelling style.

Trevor Hart, principal of St. Mary’s College and Head of the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews

Evangelicals of all stripes need to take account of Witherington’s contentions here—to make us exegetically honest and theologically responsible. He takes on the three streams of evangelicalism: Reformed, Wesleyan, and Dispensationalist views to examine their exegetical foundations and theological structures. The result is critique, but also a call for biblical orthodoxy and proclamation of biblical truth in postmodern society. His perspectives should gain a wide hearing.

Donald K. McKim, Executive Editor for Theology and Reference, Westminster John Knox Press

Product Details

  • Title: The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 325

About Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III (PhD, Durham University) is Amos Professor for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University, Scotland. Witherington has twice won the Christianity Today best biblical studies book-of-the-year award, and his many books include We Have Seen His Glory: A Vision of Kingdom Worship and socio-rhetorical commentaries on Mark, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians.