Theology in Community

Greg Strand – December 16, 2014 Leave a comment

The Theology in Community series is edited by Christopher W. Morgan, professor of theology and dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University, and Robert A. Peterson, professor of systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary. Crossway publishes this excellent series.

The editors’ desire for this series is spelled out in the preface.

As the series name, Theology in Community, indicates, theology in community aims to promote clear thinking on and godly responses to historic and contemporary theological issues. The series examines issues central to the Christian faith, including traditional topics such as sin, the atonement, the church, and heaven, but also some which are more focused or contemporary, such as suffering and the goodness of God, the glory of God, the deity of Christ, and the kingdom of God. The series strives not only to follow a sound theological method but also to display it.

Chapters addressing the Old and New Testaments on the book’s subject form the heart of each volume. Subsequent chapters synthesize the biblical teaching and link it to historical, philosophical, systematic, and pastoral concerns. Far from being mere collections of essays, the volumes are carefully crafted so that the voices of the various experts combine to proclaim a unified message.

Again, as the name suggests, theology in community also seeks to demonstrate that theology should be done in teams. The teachings of the Bible were forged in real-life situations by leaders in God’s covenant communities. The biblical teachings addressed concerns of real people who needed the truth to guide their lives. Theology was formulated by the church and for the church. This series seeks to recapture that biblical reality. The volumes are written by scholars, from a variety of denominational backgrounds and life experiences with academic credentials and significant expertise across the spectrum of theological disciplines, who collaborate with each other. They write from a high view of Scripture with robust evangelical conviction and in a gracious manner. They are not detached academics but are personally involved in ministry, serving as teachers, pastors, and missionaries. The contributors to these volumes stand in continuity with the historic church, care about the global church, share life together with other believers in local churches, and aim to write for the good of the church to strengthen its leaders, particularly pastors, teachers, missionaries, lay leaders, students, and professors.

Peterson and Morgan have focused on key contemporary theological topics and compiled an excellent team of scholars and churchmen to address these subjects from various perspectives – biblical (Old and New Testaments), theological, historical, philosophical and pastoral. The result is an incredible resource that will serve the church well.

Six volumes have been published in this series, the most recent this past fall. I include all the titles below, along with the contents of the books. You will notice, as well, that with The Kingdom of God and Fallen I have included interviews regarding the books.

Suffering and the Goodness of God (2008).

  1. Christ and the Crocodiles: Suffering and the Goodness of God in Contemporary Perspective (Robert W. Yarbrough)
  2. Suffering and the Goodness of God in the Old Testament (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.)
  3. Eight Kinds of Suffering in the Old Testament (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.)
  4. Suffering and the Goodness of God in the Gospels (Dan G. McCartney)
  5. Suffering in the Teaching of the Apostles (Dan G. McCartney)
  6. Suffering and the Biblical Story (Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson)
  7. The Problem of Evil (John M. Frame)
  8. Suffering and Oppression (William Edgar)
  9. Poems in the Park: My Cancer and God’s Grace (David B. Calhoun)
  10. A Journey in Suffering: Personal Reflections on the Religious Problem of Evil (John S. Feinberg)

The Glory of God (2010).

  1. The Glory of God Present and Past (Stephen J. Nichols)
  2. The Glory of God in the Old Testament (Tremper Longman, III)
  3. The Glory of God in the Synoptic Gospels, Acts, and the General Epistles (Richard R. Melick, Jr.)
  4. The Glory of God in John’s Gospel and Revelation (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  5. The Glory of God in Paul’s Epistles (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.)
  6. Toward a Theology of the Glory of God (Christopher W. Morgan)
  7. A Pastoral Theology of the Glory of God (Bryan Chapell)
  8. A Missional Theology of the Glory of God (J. Nelson Jennings)

The Deity of Christ (2011).

  1. The Deity of Christ Today (Stephen J. Nichols)
  2. The Deity of Christ and the Old Testament (Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr.)
  3. The Deity of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels (Stephen J. Wellum)
  4. The Deity of Christ in John’s Gospel (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  5. The Deity of Christ in the Apostolic Witness (Stephen J. Wellum)
  6. The Deity of Christ in John’s Letters and the Book of Revelation (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  7. The Deity of Christ in Church History (Gerald Bray)
  8. Toward a Systematic Theology of the Deity of Christ (Robert A. Peterson)
  9. The Deity of Christ and the Cults (Alan W. Gomes)
  10. The Deity of Christ for Missions, World Religions, and Pluralism (J. Nelson Jennings)

The Kingdom of God (2012). Editors Interview. Author Interviews.

  1. The Kingdoms of God: The Kingdom in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Stephen J. Nichols)
  2. The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament: Definitions and Story (Bruce K. Waltke)
  3. The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament: The Covenants (Bruce K. Waltke)
  4. The Kingdom of God in the New Testament: Matthew and Revelation (Robert W. Yarbrough)
  5. The Kingdom of God in the New Testament: Mark through the Epistles (Robert W. Yarbrough)
  6. The Kingdom, Miracles, Satan, and Demons (Clinton E. Arnold)
  7. The Kingdom and the Church (Gregg R. Allison)
  8. The Kingdom and Eschatology (Gerald Bray, Stephen J. Nichols)
  9. The Kingdom Today (Anthony B. Bradley)

Fallen: A Theology of Sin (2013). Editors and Author interviews.

  1. Sin’s Contemporary Significance (D. A. Carson)
  2. Sin in the Law (Paul R. House)
  3. Sin in the Former and Latter Prophets and the Writings (Paul R. House)
  4. Sin in the Gospels, Acts, and Hebrews to Revelation (Robert W. Yarbrough)
  5. Sin in Paul (Douglas J. Moo)
  6. Sin in the Biblical Story (Christopher W. Morgan)
  7. Sin in Historical Theology (Gerald Bray)
  8. A Theology of Sin for Today (John W. Mahony)
  9. Satan, Sin, and Evil (Sydney H. T. Page)
  10. Sin and Temptation (David B. Calhoun)
  11. Repentance That Sings (Bryan Chapell)

Heaven (2014).

  1. Learning about Heaven (Robert A. Peterson)
  2. Heaven in the Old Testament (Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.)
  3. Heaven in the Synoptic Gospels and Acts (Jonathan T. Pennington)
  4. Heaven in Paul’s Letters (Stephen J. Wellum)
  5. Heaven in the General Epistles (Jon Laansma)
  6. Heaven in John’s Gospel and Revelation (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  7. Pictures of Heaven (Robert A. Peterson)
  8. The History of Heaven (Gerald Bray)
  9. Angels and Heaven (Stephen F. Noll)
  10. Heaven for Persecuted Saints (Ajith Fernando)
  11. The Hope of Heaven (David B. Calhoun)

The longer I have been in ministry, the longer I have served in the role of pastor-theologian, the more convinced I have become of the necessity of the community for the doing of theology. This does not mean the community determines theology. Rather, the community grounded on and centered in the Scriptures seeks to understand the God-ordained meaning of the God-inspired text of Scripture with the goal of living that truth in that community. This is one reason of many that I like this series.

I commend these excellent works for your study.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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