Millard J. Erickson (PhD, Northwestern University) has served as a pastor and seminary dean and has taught at several schools, including Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Western Seminary (Portland and San Jose), and Baylor University. He has also held numerous visiting professorships, both in the United States and internationally. Erickson is the author of many books, including Introducing Christian Doctrine. He lives in Mounds View, Minnesota.
Christian Theologyby Millard J. Erickson
For fifteen years Millard Erickson's Christian Theology has been used widely as a reliable and comprehensive introduction to systematic theology. Now this classic text has been revised and updated to take into consideration changes in the theological world as well as changes in the intellectual, political economic, and social worlds.
- Baker Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Older Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.53(w) x 9.57(h) x 2.47(d)
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Erickson has done a reasonably good job with this book. It is an introductory survey of the major topics of systematic theology. On the positive side, he has done a phenomenal job in structuring this book so that it is easy to find information. He has reading questions at the beginning of each section that tell you what you are going to encounter, and he uses headings and sub-heading effectively to break up information into logical groups. His writing style is also approachable and is able to take sometimes highly esoteric matters and refine them so they make sense in the allotted space. As this is a survey, he can only skim the surface. It is difficult to balance the correct depth of information in a survey textbook. On the negative side, Erickson, although he seems conservative most of the time, sometimes imposes some inaccurate information or conclusions onto the text. The primary issue is he seems to have swallowed the lie that there are two "branches" of Christianity--a conclusion I vehemently oppose. The information is there that the Roman Catholic Church began as an amalgam of various forms of paganism with Christian trappings. Yet, either because he's been taught it and never questioned it or, perhaps, he wants to be PC, Erickson treats the Catholic Church as if it were a viable, legitimate "branch" or form of Christianity. In a similar manner, he also refers to other religions with Christian trappings such as the Mormons, thereby implying their doctrine valid from a Christian perspective. Both the Mormons and Roman Catholics have internally consistent (and sometimes ingenius) doctrines and dogmas. However, these are so far removed from biblical Christianity that they should be (and generally are, at least in the case with the Mormons) considered separate religions. I would not have expected this from Erickson, and it is somewhat disappointing. Such things "poison the well" for me because it makes me think that, if he is wrong in one area, might not he be wrong in others, maybe things I will not recognize. This shatters my trust and makes me feel I should question everything he says. I give him a so-so rating. The book is not throwaway, but should be read more critically than you would expect for a Christian survey.
We use this book in most of the eight Campus Crusade for Christ graduate schools. The reasons are three: it is warm and reflects the author's devotion it presents different viewpoints on many issues but keeps an open evangelical spirit it balances the issues of historical imput and biblical support very well. It is the systematic theology of choice.
This is one of the volumes I used in studying theology at Denver Seminary. It presents a very thorough treatment of each area of Christian theology. It is rather easy to understand for such an in-depth treatment of Christian theology. It also overviews contrary viewpoints and explains why they do not adequately fit the Biblical material. The reasons for the disagreement are presented in a very fair and straightforward manner. No harsh language at all is seen in this theology.
The theological viewpoint presented is Baptist-modified Reformed. I agree with the Baptist perspective, but I would prefer a more full Reformed view. Strong support is given for eternal security, but Erickson seems to hedge on the other four points of Calvinism.
But this minor problem aside, overall this is an excellent volume for the reader who wants to study Christian theology in-depth.