(CEN) Paul Richardson reviews Anthony Thistelton's new Systematic Theology

A theme that does run through the book is a stress on the importance of reason. As Thiselton points out, if atheism is true atheists would have no grounds for claiming their own argument was rational since it presumably arose from a random pattern of physical atoms, molecules or neurons in the brain. Christians need to value more highly the gift of reason to human beings by God.

Thiselton is rightly concerned that in the 21st century Christians are in danger of devaluing the gift of reason and rationality. He denies that Paul ever attacked reason and criticises secular interviewers in the media for asking people how they feel about something. They should ask instead about thought and judgement.

Another theme that runs through the book is Thiselton’s desire to show the relevance of systematic theology to pastoral ministry. He is right to do this but he does not make the point that much preaching could benefit from a grasp of doctrine. All too often expository preaching fails to link scripture passages with the great affirmations of the Christian faith and instead leads to superficial moralising. But Thiselton is right to say that theological reflection can influence practical life.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Theology