The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform

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Overview

Voted a 2000 Book of the Year by Christianity Today!

Winner of a year 2000 ECPA Gold Medallion Award!

History is made up of stories—narratives that recount the events, movements, ideas and lives that have shaped religions and nations. Theologian Roger Olson believes that the history of Christian theology should be told as such a story, one replete with thick plots, exciting twists, interesting people and fascinating ideas.

In this panoramic work of historical theology Olson vividly recounts the deeds and words of the cultists and apostolic fathers of the second century, the clash between the theological schools of Alexandria and Antioch, the epochal division between East and West, the revolutionary advent of the Reformation and much more, right on up to the dazzling, sometimes dismaying fallout that has continued to shake Christians through the twentieth century. Through it all Olson detects and traces a common thread: a concern for salvation—God's redemptive activity in forgiving and transforming sinful human beings.

Evenhanded, refreshingly readable, impressive in its breadth and depth, The Story of Christian Theology is poised to become a standard historical theology text.

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Editorial Reviews

John R. Franke
Olson has performed a valuable service for the evengelical theological community by providing such an engaging account of the history of theology - indeed, what this reviewer believes to be the best introductory work on historical theology currently available. It is likely to become a standard text, certainly for evengelicals, and to see many years of useful service in both the classroom and the church.
Books & Culture
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830815050
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Pages: 652
  • Sales rank: 683,217
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger E. Olson (Ph.D., Rice University) is professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is the author of The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform, The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity & Diversity (both InterVarsity Press) and The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology (Westminster John Knox).

He is also coauthor of 20th-Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age and Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God (both with Stanley J. Grenz, InterVarsity Press), and of The Trinity (with Christopher A. Hall, Eerdmans).

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations & General Information for Readers
Preface
Introduction: Christian Theology as StoryPart I: The Opening Act: Conflicting Christian Visions in the Second Century
1. Critics & Cultists Cause Confusion
2. The Apostolic Fathers Explain the Way
3. The Apologists Defend the Faith
4. Irenaeus Exposes HeresiesPart II: The Plot Thickens: Third-Century Tensions & Transformations
5. North African Thinkers Examine Philosophy
6. Origen of Alexandria Leaves a Troubling Legacy
7. Cyprian of Carthage Promotes Unity
8. Christianity Gets Its Act TogetherPart III: A Great Crisis Rocks the Church: The Controversy About the Trinity
9. Alexandrians Argue About the Son of God
10. The Church Responds at the Council of Nicea
11. Athanasius Stubbornly Keeps the Faith
12. The Cappadocian Fathers Settle the IssuePart IV: Another Crisis Shakes the Church: The Conflict Over the Person of Christ
13. The Schools of Antioch & Alexandria Clash over Christ
14. Nestorius & Cyril Bring the Controversy to a Head
15. Chalcedon Protects the Mystery
16. Fallout from the Conflict ContinuesPart V: A Tale of Two Churches: The Great Tradition Divides Between East & West
17. Augustine Confesses God's Glory & Human Depravity
18. The Western Church Becomes Roman Catholic
19. The Eastern Church Becomes Eastern Orthodox
20. The Great Schism Creates Two Traditions Out of OnePart VI: The Saga of the Queen of Sciences: Scholastics Revive & Enthrone Theology
21. Anselm & Abelard Speculate About God's Ways
22. Thomas Aquinas Summarizes Christian Truth
23. Nominalists, Reformers & Humanists Challenge the Scholastic SynthesisPart VII: A New Twist in the Narratives: The Western Church Reforms & Divides
24. Luther Rediscovers the Gospel & Divides the Church
25. Zwingli & Calvin Organize Protestant Thought
26. Anabaptists Go Back to the Roots of Christianity
27. Rome & Canterbury Go Separate But Parallel WaysPart VIII: The Center of the Story Falls Apart: Protestants Follow Diverse Paths
28. Arminians Attempt to Reform Reformed Theology
29. Pietists Seek to Renew Lutheran Theology
30. Puritans & Methodists Struggle to Revive English Theology
31. Deists Try to Transform Protestant TheologyPart IX: The Overall Plots Divides: Liberals & Conservatives Respond to Modernity
32. Liberal Theology Accommodates to Modern Culture
33. Conservative Theology Hardens Traditional Categories
34. Neo-Orthodoxy Transcends the Divide
35. Contemporary Theology Struggles with Diversity
Conclusion: The Unfinished Story & Its Future
Notes
Indexes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2001

    Fairminded Overview of Christian Theology

    Roger Olson's book is an excursion through Christian history that reveals how ideas are linked and how they have developed over the last 2000 years. He is extremely generous in his analysis and explanations by not critiquing anyone unjustly. Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants (orthodox and heterodox) are all treated with understanding and respect. His attitude seems to be very open-minded and he comes across as a 'seeker' himself in that the way he emphasizes the major contributions of each movement is often somewhat of an endorsement for the best of each group or system of ideas. I enjoyed his comments in the closing chapter, which I will not ruin for anybody else.

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