Evangelical Theological Method
How should one approach the task of theology?
The question of methodology is increasingly one of interest among theologians, who recognize that the very manner in which we approach theology informs both the questions we ask and the conclusions we reach.
This volume in IVP's Spectrum Multiview series brings together five evangelical theologians with distinctly different approaches to the theological task. After presenting the approaches—which include appeals to Scripture, context, missions, interdisciplinary studies, and dogmatics—each contributor responds to the other views.
Emerging from this theological conversation is an awareness of our methodological commitments and the benefits that each approach can bring to the theological task.
"Evangelical Theological Method: Five Views differs from other comparative views books in that the various views are not necessarily contrary but can be complementary to each other. All five are articulated brilliantly by their authors, and perceptive readers will find much to commend in all of them."
I'm a great fan of the comparative views books. This format was pioneered by InterVarsity Press in 1977 with Robert Clouse's The Meaning of the Millennium, and since then over eighty such volumes have appeared published by InterVarsity Press and others. What makes the format so useful is that a number of authors set out to give their answers to the same questions, which makes comparison easier, and then in turn respond to the answers given by the others. This makes it much simpler to understand where the real differences lie and to work out one's own position. The current volume is no exception. Five different evangelical authors layout their approach to theological method and then respond to each other. This helps to clarify the extent to which these five different methods are strictly alternatives and the extent to which they can be combined. Anyone wishing to understand evangelical theological method or to work their own method is strongly recommended to read this book."
"These days we are struggling to even know what evangelical means, especially in North America. So many now—sadly—associate that term with a particular voting block rather than with historic Protestant approaches to theology and life. Thankfully, this volume asks us to think in theological categories again, and it does so in a way that seeks to understand different voices and perspectives. Each approach aims to be faithful to 'evangelical' impulses while also trying to avoid what they deem to be potential shortcomings. We should be thankful for this able group of authors and editors who have allowed us to listen in on their meaningful conversation. There is much for all of us to learn here."
Method in Systematic Theology: An Introduction—Stanley E. Porter and Steven M. Studebaker
Codifying God’s Word: Bible Doctrines/Conservative Theology—Sung Wook Chung
Living God’s Love: Missional Theology—John R. Franke
Framers and Painters: Interdisciplinary Theology—Telford C. Work
God in Human Context: Reflection on Theology’s Contextuality and Contextual Theology—Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo
Confessing the Faith: A Trinitarian Method in Dogmatic Theology—Paul Louis Metzger
Response to Other Contributors—Sung Wook Chung
Response to Other Contributors—John R. Franke
Response to Other Contributors—Telford C. Work
Response to Other Contributors—Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo
Response to Other Contributors—Paul Louis Metzger
What Have We Learned Regarding Theological Method, and Where Do We Go from Here? Tentative Conclusions—Stanley E. Porter and Steven M. Studebaker