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

Hardcover (Print)
Rent from
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/22/2015
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.98
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 50%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (15) from $19.98   
  • New (7) from $24.99   
  • Used (8) from $19.98   


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.

Read More Show Less

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
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830815050
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Pages: 652
  • Sales rank: 614,293
  • 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).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Abbreviations & General Information for Readers
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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)