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Christian Theology: An Introduction / Edition 4

Christian Theology: An Introduction / Edition 4

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by Alister E. McGrath

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ISBN-10: 1405153601

ISBN-13: 9781405153607

Pub. Date: 10/18/2006

Publisher: Wiley

Alister McGrath’s internationally-acclaimed Christian Theology: An Introduction is one of the most widely used textbooks in Christian theology. Fully revised and featuring lots of new material, this fourth edition provides an unparalleled introduction to 2,000 years of Christian thought.
  • A fully revised new edition of the bestselling


Alister McGrath’s internationally-acclaimed Christian Theology: An Introduction is one of the most widely used textbooks in Christian theology. Fully revised and featuring lots of new material, this fourth edition provides an unparalleled introduction to 2,000 years of Christian thought.

  • A fully revised new edition of the bestselling introductory textbook in Christian theology
  • Features new sections on monastic schools of theology, the English Reformation, and Radical Orthodoxy
  • Includes increased discussion of women in the early Church, feminist theology, Eastern Orthodox theology and history, and Catholic teachings on the Doctrine of the Church
  • Incorporates user-friendly key terms sections, and study questions
  • Supported by a website at www.blackwellpublishing.com/mcgrath, containing additional lecturer resources.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.


Mission Statement.

To the Student: How to Use this Work.

To the Teacher: How to Use this Book.

Resources for Further Study: Bibliographies and Websites.


Part I: Landmarks: Periods, Themes, and Personalities of Christian Theology.


1. The Patristic Period, c.100-c.700.

The Early Centers of Theological Activity.

An Overview of the Patristic Period.

A clarification of terms.

The theological agenda of the period.

Key Theologians.

Justin Martyr.

Irenaeus of Lyons.



Cyprian of Carthage.


The Cappadocian fathers.

Augustine of Hippo.

Key Theological Debates and Developments.

The extent of the New Testament canon.

The role of tradition: the Gnostic controversies.

The fixing of the ecumenical creeds.

The two natures of Jesus Christ: The Arian controversy.

The doctrine of the Trinity.

The doctrine of the church: the Donatist controversy.

The doctrine of grace: the Pelagian controversy.

Key Names, Words, and Phrases.

Questions for Chapter 1.

2. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, c.700-c.1500.

On defining the “Middle Ages”.

Medieval Theological Landmarks In Western Europe.

The Carolingian renaissance.

The rise of cathedral and monastic schools of theology.

The religious orders and their “schools of theology”.

The founding of the universities.

Peter Lombard’s Four Books of the Sentences.

The rise of scholasticism.

The Italian Renaissance.

The rise of humanism.

Medieval Theological Landmarks in Eastern Europe.

The emergence of Byzantine theology.

The iconoclastic controversy.

The hesychastic controversy.

The fall of Constantinople (1453).

Key Theologians.

John of Damascus.

Simeon the New Theologian.

Anselm of Canterbury.

Thomas Aquinas.

Duns Scotus.

William of Ockham.

Erasmus of Rotterdam.

Key Theological Developments.

The consolidation of the patristic heritage.

The exploration of the role of reason in theology.

The development of theological systems.

The development of sacramental theology.

The development of the theology of grace.

The role of Mary in the scheme of salvation.

Returning directly to the sources of Christian theology.

The critique of the Vulgate translation of Scripture.

Key Names, Words, and Phrases.

Questions for Chapter 2.

3. The Age of Reformation, c.1500-c.1750.

Introducing the Reformation.

Reformation – or Reformations?.

The Dynamics of Reformation.

The German Reformation – Lutheranism.

The Swiss Reformation – the Reformed church.

The Radical Reformation – Anabaptism.

The English Reformation – Anglicanism.

The Catholic Reformation.

The Second Reformation – Confessionalization.

Post-Reformation Movements.

The consolidation of Roman Catholicism.



Key Theologians.

Martin Luther.

Huldrych Zwingli.

John Calvin.

Teresa of Avila.

Theodore Beza.

Johann Gerhard.

Roberto Bellarmine.

Jonathan Edwards.

Key Theological Developments.

The sources of theology.

The doctrine of grace.

The doctrine of the sacraments.

The doctrine of the church.

Developments in Theological Literature.

The Catechisms.

Confessions of faith.

Works of systematic theology.

Key Names, Words, and Phrases.

Questions for Chapter 3.

4. The Modern Period, c.1750 - the Present.

Theology and Cultural Developments in the West.

Modernism: the new intellectual environment for theology.

The Enlightenment critique of traditional theology.

Romanticism and the renewal of the theological imagination.

The crisis of faith in Victorian England: George Eliot and Matthew Arnold.

An intellectual rival to Christianity: Marxism.

Postmodernism and a new theological agenda.

Key Theologians.

F. D. E. Schleiermacher.

John Henry Newman.

Karl Barth.

Paul Tillich.

Karl Rahner.

Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Jürgen Moltmann.

Wolfhart Pannenberg.

Denominational Developments in Theology.

Roman Catholicism.

Eastern Orthodoxy.



Pentecostalism and charismatic movements.

Some Recent Western Theological Movements and Trends.

Liberal Protestantism.

Roman Catholic modernism.


Ressourcement, or, La nouvelle théologie.


Liberation theology.

Black theology.


Radical orthodoxy.

Theologies of the developing world.



Key Names, Words, and Phrases.

Questions for Chapter 4.

Part II: Sources and Methods.

5. Getting Started: Preliminaries.

Defining Theology.

A working definition of theology.

The historical development of the idea of theology.

The development of theology as an academic discipline.

The Architecture of Theology.

Biblical studies.

Systematic theology.

Philosophical theology.

Historical theology.

Pastoral theology.

Spirituality, or mystical theology.

The Question of Prolegomena.

Commitment and Neutrality in Theology.

Orthodoxy and Heresy.

Historical aspects.

Theological aspects.

The theology of the Relation of Christianity and Secular Culture.

Justin Martyr.


Augustine of Hippo.

The twentieth century: H. Richard Niebuhr.

Questions for Chapter 5.

6. The Sources of Theology.


The Old Testament.

The New Testament.

Other works: deutero-canonical and apocryphal writings.

The relation of the Old and New Testaments.

The Word of God.

Narrative theology.

Methods of interpretation of Scripture.

Theories of the inspiration of Scripture.


A single-source theory of tradition.

A dual-source theory of tradition.

The total rejection of tradition.

Theology and worship: the importance of liturgical tradition.


Reason and revelation: three models.


Enlightenment rationalism.

Criticisms of Enlightenment rationalism.

Religious Experience.

Existentialism: a philosophy of human experience.

Experience and theology: two models.

Ludwig Feuerbach’s critique of experience-based theologies.

Questions for Chapter 6.

7. Knowledge of God: Natural and Revealed.

The Idea of Revelation.

Models of Revelation.

Revelation as doctrine.

Revelation as presence.

Revelation as experience.

Revelation as history.

Natural Theology: Its Scope and Limits.

Thomas Aquinas on natural theology.

John Calvin on natural theology.

The Reformed tradition on natural theology.

God’s two books: nature and Scripture.

Approaches to Discerning God in Nature.

Human reason.

The ordering of the world.

The beauty of the world.

Objections to Natural Theology.

A theological objection: Karl Barth.

A theological response: Thomas F. Torrance.

A philosophical objection: Alvin Plantinga.

A philosophical response: William Alston.

A debate: Karl Barth versus Emil Brunner (1934).

The Natural Sciences and Christian Theology: Models of Interaction.

The continuity between science and theology.

The distinctiveness of science and theology.

The convergence of science and theology.

The opposition of science and theology.

Questions for Chapter 7.

8. Philosophy and Theology: Introducing a Dialogue.

Philosophy and Theology: The Notion of the “Handmaid”.

The “handmaid”: the dialogue between theology and philosophy.



Verification and falsification: can Christian ideas be proved?.

The debate over realism: to what do theological statements refer?.

The Nature of Faith.

Faith and knowledge.

Faith and salvation.

Can God’s Existence be Proved?.

Anselm of Canterbury’s ontological argument.

Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways.

The kalam argument.

The classic argument from design: William Paley.

The Nature of Theological Language.

Apophatic and kataphatic approaches to theology.




A case study: the Copernican debate.

Questions for Chapter 8.

Part III: Christian Theology.

9. The Doctrine of God.

Is God Male?.

A Personal God.

Defining “person”.

Dialogical personalism: Martin Buber.

Can God Suffer?.

The classic view: the impassibility of God.

A suffering God: Jürgen Moltmann.

The death of God?.

The Omnipotence of God.

Defining omnipotence.

The two powers of God.

The notion of divine self-limitation.

God’s Action in the World.

Deism: God acts through the laws of nature.

Thomism: God acts through secondary causes.

Process theology: God acts through persuasion.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Point Omega.

God as Creator.

Development of the doctrine of creation.

Implications of the doctrine of creation.

Creation and the rejection of dualism.

The doctrine of creation ex nihilo.

Models of God as creator.

Creation and Christian approaches to ecology.

Theodicies: The Problem of Evil.

Irenaeus of Lyons.

Augustine of Hippo.

Karl Barth.

Alvin Plantinga.

Other recent contributions.

The Holy Spirit.

Models of the Holy Spirit.

The debate over the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

Augustine of Hippo: the spirit as bond of love.

The functions of the Spirit.

Questions for Chapter 9.

10. The Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Origins of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

The apparent illogicality of the doctrine.

The Trinity as a statement about Jesus Christ.

The Trinity as a statement about the Christian God.

Islamic critiques of the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Biblical Foundations of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Historical Development of the Doctrine.

The emergence of the trinitarian vocabulary.

The emergence of trinitarian concepts.

The problem of visualization: analogies of the Trinity.

“Economic” and “essential” approaches to the Trinity.

Two Trinitarian Heresies.

Modalism: chronological and functional.


The Trinity: Six Classic and Contemporary Approaches.

The Cappadocians.

Augustine of Hippo.

Karl Barth.

Karl Rahner.

Robert Jenson.

John Macquarrie.

Some Discussions of the Trinity in Recent Theology.

F. D. E. Schleiermacher on the dogmatic location of the Trinity.

Jürgen Moltmann on the social Trinity.

Eberhard Jüngel on the Trinity and metaphysics.

Catherine Mowry LaCugna on the Trinity and salvation.

The Filioque Controversy.

Questions for Chapter 10.

11. The Doctrine of the Person of Christ.

The Place of Jesus Christ in Christian Theology.

Jesus Christ is the historical point of departure for Christianity.

Jesus Christ reveals God.

Jesus Christ is the bearer of salvation.

Jesus Christ defines the shape of the redeemed life.

New Testament Christological Titles.


Son of God.

Son of Man.




The Patristic Debate over the Person of Christ.

Early contributions: from Justin Martyr to Origen.

The Arian controversy.

The Alexandrian school.

The Antiochene school.

The “communication of attributes”.

Adolf von Harnack on the evolution of patristic Christology.

The Relation of the Incarnation and the Fall in Medieval Christology.

The Relation between the person and work of Christ.

Christological Models – Classic and Contemporary.

The substantial presence of God in Christ.

Christ as mediator between God and humanity.

The revelational presence of God in Christ.

Christ as the symbolic presence of God.

Christ as the bearer of the Holy Spirit.

Christ as the example of a godly life.

Christ as a hero.

Kenotic approaches to Christology.

Questions for Chapter 11.

12. Faith and History: The Christological Agenda of Modernity.

Faith and History: A Modernist Agenda.

The Enlightenment and Christology.

The philosophical uselessness of history.

The critique of miracles.

The development of doctrinal criticism.

The Problem of Faith and History.

The chronological difficulty.

The metaphysical difficulty.

The existential difficulty.

The Quest of the Historical Jesus.

The original quest of the historical Jesus.

The quest for the religious personality of Jesus.

The critique of the quest, 1890-1910.

The retreat from history: Rudolf Bultmann.

The new quest of the historical Jesus.

The third quest of the historical Jesus.

The Resurrection of Christ: Event and Meaning.

The Enlightenment: the resurrection as nonevent.

David Friedrich Strauss: the resurrection as myth.

Rudolf Bultmann: the resurrection as an event in the experience of the disciples.

Karl Barth: the resurrection as an historical event beyond critical inquiry.

Wolfhart Pannenberg: the resurrection as an historical event open to critical inquiry.

Resurrection and the Christian hope.

Questions for Chapter 12.

13. The Doctrine of Salvation in Christ.

Christian Approaches to Salvation.

Salvation is linked with Jesus Christ.

Salvation is shaped by Jesus Christ.

The eschatological dimension of salvation.

The Foundations of Salvation: The Cross of Christ.

The cross as a sacrifice.

The cross as a victory.

The cross and forgiveness.

The cross as a demonstration of God’s love.

Violence and the cross: the theory of René Girard.

Models of Salvation in Christ – Classic and Contemporary.

Some Pauline images of salvation.

Deification: being made divine.

Righteousness in the sight of God.

Personal holiness.

Authentic human existence.

Political liberation.

Spiritual freedom.

The Appropriation of Salvation in Christ.

The institutionalization of salvation: the church.

The privatization of salvation: personal faith.

The Scope of Salvation in Christ.

Universalism: all will be saved.

Only believers will be saved.

Particular redemption: only the elect will be saved.

Questions for Chapter 13.

14. The Doctrines of Human Nature, Sin, and Grace.

The Place of Humanity within Creation: Early Reflections.

The image of God.

The concept of sin.

Augustine of Hippo and the Pelagian Controversy.

The “freedom of the will”.

The nature of sin.

The nature of grace.

The basis of salvation.

The Medieval Synthesis of the Doctrine of Grace.

The Augustinian legacy.

The medieval distinction between actual and habitual grace.

The late medieval critique of habitual grace.

The medieval debate over the nature and grounds of merit.

The Reformation Debates over the Doctrine of Grace.

From “salvation by grace” to “justification by faith”.

Martin Luther’s theological breakthrough.

Luther on justifying faith.

The concept of forensic justification.

John Calvin on justification.

The Council of Trent on justification.

The Doctrine of Predestination.

Augustine of Hippo.

John Calvin.

Reformed orthodoxy.


Karl Barth.

Predestination and economics: the Weber thesis.

The Darwinian Controversy and the Nature of Humanity.

Young earth creationism.

Old earth creationism.

Intelligent design.

Evolutionary theism.

Questions for Chapter 14.

15. The Doctrine of the Church.

Biblical Models of the Church.

The Old Testament.

The New Testament.

The Early Development of Ecclesiology.

The Donatist Controversy.

Early Protestant Doctrines of the Church.

Martin Luther.

John Calvin.

The radical Reformation.

Christ and the Church: Some Twentieth-century Themes.

Christ is present sacramentally.

Christ is present through the word.

Christ is present through the Spirit.

The Second Vatican Council on the Church.

The church as communion.

The church as the people of God.

The church as a charismatic community.

The “Notes” of the Church.





Questions for Chapter 15.

16. The Doctrine of the Sacraments.

The Early Development of Sacramental Theology.

The Definition of a Sacrament.

The Donatist Controversy: Sacramental Efficacy.

The Multiple Functions of the Sacraments.

Sacraments convey grace.

Sacraments strengthen faith.

Sacraments enhance unity and commitment within the church.

Sacraments reassure us of God’s promises toward us.

A case study in complexity: the functions of the Eucharist.

The Eucharist: The Question of the Real Presence.

The ninth-century debates over the real presence.

The medieval clarification of the relation of “sign” and “sacrament” in the Eucharist.


Transignification and transfinalization.


A real absence: memorialism.

The Debate concerning Infant Baptism.

Infant baptism remits the guilt of original sin.

Infant baptism is grounded in the covenant between God and the church.

Infant baptism is unjustified.

Questions for Chapter 16.

17. Christianity and the World Religions.

Western Pluralism and the Question of the Religions.

Approaches to Religions.

The Enlightenment: religions as a corruption of the original religion of nature.

Ludwig Feuerbach: religion as an objectification of human feeling.

Karl Marx: religion as the product of socioeconomic alienation.

Sigmund Freud: religion as wish-fulfillment.

Emile Durkheim: religion and ritual.

Mircea Eliade: religion and myth.

Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: religion as a human invention.

Christian Approaches to Other Religions.





Questions for Chapter 17.

18. The Last Things: The Christian Hope.

Developments in the Doctrine of the Last Things.

The New Testament.

Early Christianity and Roman beliefs about reunion after death.

Augustine: the two cities.

Joachim of Fiore: the three ages.

Dante Aligheri: The Divine Comedy.

Hope in the face of death: Jeremy Taylor.

The Enlightenment: eschatology as superstition.

The twentieth century: the rediscovery of eschatology.

Rudolf Bultmann: the demythologization of eschatology.

Jürgen Moltmann: the theology of hope.

Helmut Thielicke: ethics and eschatology.

Dispensationalism: the structures of eschatology.

The Last Things.



The millennium.


Questions for Chapter 18.

Glossary of Theological Terms.

Sources of Citations.


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Christian Theology: An Introduction 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the book does contain all of the materials, it is not concurrent with the page numbers of the print copy. Some work on formatting is needed.