Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Systematic Theology for preparation

On Wednesday I am going through a popular-level systematic theology Bible study. In order to get off my obsessive-compulsive NABV series (which I need to do), I thought I would share some of the books I have found helpful in preparation.

1. John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (Eerdmans). Of course. This is the great classic of all time in the field. Calvin is warm and cautious, and just has to be in the library.

2. Louis Berkhof: Systematic Theology (Banner of Truth). Another classic. You can either stuff your library with odd books, or go with the classics. Or do both, which is why I have an awful lot of books. Berkhof is one of the greats of the 20th century.

3. John Macpherson: Christian Dogmatics (T. & T. Clark). From 1898, Macpherson is one of the better late 19th century works. It contains a lot of material that is not dealt with in the same way elsewhere, including a discussion of Law and Gospel that would not be out of place in a Lutheran dogmatics.

4. Shedd: Dogmatic Theology (Presbyterian and Reformed). This is a splendid 19th century American production, now in a more user-friendly edition.

5. Robert Culver: Systematic Theology (Mentor). A modern work. I'm not a huge fan, but it can be useful.

6. Charles Hodge: Systematic Theology (Thomas Nelson). Mine is a 19th century edition, and has an index I photocopied from the one in the library when I was at seminary. Hodge is another old standby.

7. Donald Macleod: A Faith to Live By (Mentor). A concise discussion by a noted modern theologian that can be quite useful.

In addition to this, I have volumes on individual doctrines that I consult as and when. Chief among these are the early volumes from the 'Cunningham Lectures' series. Produced by some of the greatest theologians of late 19th century Scotland, these include Buchanan's classic work on Justification, Rainy's Delivery and Development of Christian Doctrine, Smeaton's The Holy Spirit, and Laidlaw's Bible Doctrine of Man.

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