An Invitation to Analytic Christian Theology, By Thomas H. McCall

An Invitation to Analytic Christian Theology

by Thomas H. McCall

An Invitation to Analytic Christian Theology
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: November 09, 2015
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 4095
  • ISBN: 9780830840953

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In recent decades a new movement has arisen, bringing the conceptual tools of analytic philosophy to bear on theological reflection. Called analytic theology, it seeks to bring a clarity of thought and a disciplined use of logic to the work of constructive Christian theology.

In this introduction to analytic theology for specialists and nonspecialists alike, Thomas McCall lays out what it is and what it isn't. The goal of this growing and energetic field is not the removal of all mystery in theology. At the same time, it insists that mystery must not be confused with logical incoherence.

McCall explains the connections of analytic theology to Scripture, Christian tradition and culture, using case studies to illuminate his discussion. Beyond mere description, McCall calls the discipline to a deeper engagement with the traditional resources of the theological task.

"Much contemporary theology has turned to cultural studies as the partner of choice in its search for apt resources, drifting away from its unavoidable relationship with philosophy. In these circumstances it is a great pleasure to welcome a volume that charts a whole new phase in the mining of philosophy for the articulation and enrichment of robust forms of Christian theology. McCall has exactly the right kind of skills to execute this assignment: sure-footed theological grounding in the Christian tradition, well-honed appropriation of the philosophical sources, wonderful economy and clarity in exposition and a discriminating voice of his own. This is a splendid introduction to an exciting new phase of Christian theology."

William J. Abraham, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"This timely and engaging book, written by one of today's leading practitioners of analytic theology, is a must-read for anyone interested in a careful, clear and accessible introduction to that burgeoning field."

Michael Rea, professor of philosophy, University of Notre Dame

"Analytic theology has quickly established itself as an important, dynamic research program in contemporary theology. But until now it has had no introductory text. Not only has Thomas McCall provided a stellar volume for just this purpose, he also makes a contribution to the theological literature by showing that analytic theology is not merely philosophical theology masquerading as systematic theology—it is a truly theological theology. This is a clear, well-written and compelling work that is sure to be of great interest to a wide readership."

Oliver Crisp, professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary

"At the outset of this extraordinary and much-needed book, Tom McCall promises to introduce nonspecialists to analytic theology. He superbly accomplishes this task, but so much more. No mere introduction, this book engages constructively with a wide variety of theologians and philosophers on central theological topics. McCall's balance and lucidity make this a breakthrough book, not only for the project of analytic theology, but also for the full arrival of McCall's charitable and wise theological voice."

Matthew Levering, Perry Family Foundation Professor of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"With a lively combination of theoretical and constructive work, Tom McCall not only introduces but contributes to the budding discipline of analytic theology. Deftly moving between clarifications and programmatic statements on the one hand and case studies on the other, McCall has written a book that will interest student and scholar alike."

Kevin Hector, assistant professor of theology and the philosophy of religions, The University of Chicago Divinity School

"This volume rightfully reminds readers of the continuing importance of semantic clarity, logical exactitude, and philosophical proficiency in the contemporary theological endeavor."

Paul Hartog, Criswell Theological Review, Spring 2016

"McCall's An Invitation to Analytic Christian Theology is an excellent introduction to this fairly new theological approach. For those suspicious of anything analytic, I highly recommend McCall's book for the first chapter alone. I hope that this book serves to make the analytical method more appealing, and those who use it more accepted, to ongoing contemporary and evangelical theological discussion."

James C. McGlothlin, Themelios, April 2016

"McCall has provided the Church and academy a theological treasure that is certain to influence many theologically minded and philosophically sensitive thinkers. If you have been looking for a point of entry onto the growing intellectual highway known as analytic theology, then you should look no further. This volume comes highly recommended."

John Kight, Sojourner Theology, December 29, 2015

"This book provides a brief and accessible introduction to the nature of analytic theology for the nonspecialist."

Jennifer Guo,, December 18, 2015

"Overall, this is an important, and timely contribution to contemporary theology. As the 21st century rolls on, analytic theology shows no signs of going away anytime soon. If analytic theology is going to be accepted into the broader theological landscape, a greater understanding of the analytic project is needed. McCall’s book offers a warm invitation into this greater understanding with the right amount of brevity, lucidity, and humility."

Ryan T. Mullins, Journal of Reformed Theology 10 (2016)



1. What Is Analytic Theology?
A Brief History of Analytic Theology
What Analytic Theology Is (or Should Be)
What Analytic Theology Isn?t: Misunderstandings and Objections

2. Analytic Theology and Christian Scripture
Analytic Theology and the Response to Revelation
Biblically "Authorized" Analytic Theology?
"You Intended It For Evil": Biblical Theology and the Case for Compatibilism as a Case Study

3. Analytic Theology and the History of Doctrine
Historical Theology and Analytic Theology
Objections, Ontology and Orthodoxy: Christology as a Case Study
"I Am My Body, Broken for You"? Physicalist Christology as Case Study

4. Analytic Theology for the Church and the World
Analytic Theology and the Broader Aspirations of Christian Theology
The Historical Adam and the Crisis of Faith: A Recent Conversation on Creation, Evolution and Christian Doctrine as a Case Study
Unfinished Business: Toward Broader Horizons in Analytic Theology
Unstarted Business: Toward a Global Analytic Theology

5. Analytic Theology to the Glory of God
The Approach of the Theologian
The Telos of Theology
An Invitation to Analytic Theology, and Some Modest Suggestions

Author Index
Subject Index


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Thomas H. McCall (PhD, Calvin Seminary) is professor of biblical and systematic theology and director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is also a Professorial Fellow in Exegetical and Analytic Theology at the University of St Andrews.

McCall is the author of Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism? Philosophical and Systematic Theologians on the Metaphysics of Trinitarian Theology, Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters and coeditor (with Michael C. Rea) of Philosophical and Theological Essays on the Trinity.