From the Introduction:
For some people, the word “doctrine” summons yawns of dullness, shudders of trepidation, or frowns of suspicion. Dogmatic preachers exasperate them, feuding denominations weary them, and droning scholars bore them. When people hear the word “theology,” the condition sometimes worsens. They picture massive tomes packed with irrelevant data, incomprehensible footnotes, and technical discussions—useless information that distracts people from God rather than draws them nearer to Him. Most people want practical principles instead of theoretical theology. They want to know God, not just know about Him.
Yet the fact is Christians can’t experience real spiritual growth without solid spiritual truth. We can’t know the true God without knowing God truly. But where do we start? How can we begin to harvest the fruitful field of Christian theology without getting caught in the tangled underbrush of doctrinal idiosyncrasies? How can we sort through the countless contradictory opinions to find the essential truths necessary for believing and living the Christian faith?
The volumes in Exploring Christian Theology present believers with much-needed introductions, overviews, and reviews of key tenets of orthodox protestant evangelical doctrines without droning on about details or drowning in debates. The three volumes in this series provide accessible and convenient summaries of major themes of evangelical Christian theology, reorienting believers to the essential truths of the classic faith while providing vital guidebooks for a church that’s starving for the very doctrine it’s too long avoided.
Each book in this series is compact but substantial, including introductions to main issues, major perspectives, key biblical texts, a history of each doctrine, relevant charts and graphs, practical implications, a helpful glossary, and a guide to important literature you might want to consider for your library.
Each section can stand alone as an introductory essay as a quick orientation (or re-orientation). Or you can study through all the sections related to a particular area of theology and walk away with a handle on its biblical, theological, historical, and practical dimensions. In other words, this book can be used in a number of ways suitable to your needs or interests.
This series differs from other “mini theologies” in that it strives to present a broadly protestant evangelical consensus, not the condensed systematic theology of only one teacher or tradition. The series may therefore be used for discipleship, catechism, membership training, preview or review of doctrine, or personal quick reference guides by any conservative evangelical tradition. Like the evangelical movement itself, we seek to be orthodox and interdenominational within a classic protestant consensus.
Each volume can be used as a simple primer, supplementing (not supplanting) more detailed treatments of theology . . . complementing (not competing with) intermediate and advanced works. As such, regardless of one’s denominational or confessional commitments, Exploring Christian Theology can be used by ministry training programs, Bible Colleges, or Seminaries as introductory primers to quickly orient students in preparation for a more in-depth study of theology. Whatever your background, degree of interest, or level of expertise, we hope this volume won’t be the end of a brief jaunt but either the beginning of a lifelong journey into—or a helpful aid alongside your ongoing immersion in—the exciting world of Christian theology.
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