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How to Think Theologically, 2nd Edition [Paperback]

By Howard W. Stone (Author) & James O. Duke (Author)
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Item description for How to Think Theologically, 2nd Edition by Howard W. Stone & James O. Duke...

In clear, lively text, Stone and Duke help readers prove their own theological roots and advance to a more deliberate appreciation and creative application of their embedded faith convictions.

Publishers Description
An outstanding introduction for college, seminary, and lay readers, this second edition of the 1996 volume has been fully updated and expanded with new resources, examples, vignettes, diagnostic exercisess, and case studies. Addressing the how and why of theological sources, moves, and methods, Stone and Duke guide readers into their own theological roots and then into major theological topics - gospel, sin and salvation, vocation, ethical discernment - through real-life case studies.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   142
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2006
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0800638182  
ISBN13  9780800638184  

Availability  0 units.

More About Howard W. Stone & James O. Duke

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Howard W. Stone is professor emeritus of psychology and pastoral counseling at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. He is the author of many influential books including Depression and Hope (1998) and (edited) Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counseling.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about How to Think Theologically, 2nd Edition?

!  Aug 14, 2009
Book arrived in stated condition and prior to est. arrival date. An excellent companion and possibly lead book with and for The Art of Theological Reflection by Killen/de Beer.
A thorough, clear introduction to theological reflection  Sep 17, 2008
Stone and Duke have produced an excellent introduction to theological reflection here. This book is very readable and doesn't sacrifice scholarship in order to be so. They have organized the book well, giving it a natural flow and progression from one topic to the next. They truly leave no major stone unturned in this volume. Highly recommended as a great starting point for reading about theological reflection.
Critique of "How to Think Theologically"  Feb 24, 2008
Stone, Howard W. and James O. Duke. How to Think Theologically. Minneapolis, MN:Fortress Press, 1996.

About the Authors:

Both Howard W. Stone, and James O. Duke are prolific authors. Here is a list of some books authored, edited or translated by Stone: How to Think Theologically, 2nd Edition; Depression and Hope; Crisis counseling (Creative pastoral care and counseling series); Defeating Depression: Real Help for You and Those Who Love You; The Caring Church: A Guide for Lay Pastoral Care; Crisis Counseling; Handbook for Basic Types of Pastoral Care and Counseling; Suicide and grief; Using behavioral methods in pastoral counseling (Creative pastoral care and counseling series); Entry dynamics of space. shuttle orbiter with longitudinal stability and control uncertainties at supersonic and hypersonic speeds (NASA technical paper).
Stone is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. Among his many influential books is Brief Pastoral Counseling, Crisis Counseling. He is also the editor of the Fortress Press series Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling.
Here is a list of some books authored edited or translated by Duke, How to Think Theologically; Christian Caring: Selections from Practical Theology; Makers of Christian Theology in America; On the Vitality of Biblical Language; The Lord's Supper (The Nature of the church); Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University.(Book review): An article from: Church History; Sources of Christian Theology in America; What sort of church are we? (The Nature of the church); The Bible, with Bacon: A nineteenth-century Disciples recipe for responsible Bible-reading.
Duke is the Professor of History of Christianity and History of Christian Thought, at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

"How to Think Theologically" by Stone and Duke offers a simple guide for people in the very important process of having a God worldview. Stone and Duke offer simple suggestions in a clear thought out manner which will gently usher the reader into a process of thinking theologically.
The subject Stone and Duke are teaching in this important book is vital to everyone. First to the Christian, for every Christian must continue to sharpen his/her thinking skills expressly when it comes to the theological thinking opportunities which merge all around us throughout our everyday lives. Second to the sinner, the sinner needs to develop a desire to want to think theologically. As he/she does, this thinking will lead them to God. This book is not one which will soon be forgotten. No! This teaches such vital and inspirational lessons that it will be like good wine and enhance with age.
Stone and Duke have handled this material beautifully. Only men of such noble talent could tackle such a broad subject as thinking theologically and handle such a major task with effectiveness as we see here. There are a few places which tend to become a bit shallow but for the average person reading this it may not be shallow at all.


Stone and Duke are straight shooters. Not trying to hide their bias or limitation, yet they communicate well to reach the goal of communicating their intentions. Stone and Duke have made themselves clear. The introduction stated clearly the purpose of the Study. Stone and Duke have accurately presented their agenda in a concise and logical format. The writing skills are really put on display as the sequence flows naturally. Every section from cover to cover has been clear and self-sufficient. Of course there are a lot of points left unsaid due to keeping the sequence flows natural and unforced, but one cannot be expect to cover every point of every subject.
Stone and Duke have found some very reliable sources where upon they have researched. Due to the diligence of Stone and Duke and their commitment of quality, information in this book can be trusted as a good learning tool; however, not as an academic tool possibly because it stands mostly as two men's opinions. However correct theses opinions are at best a theological guiding tool must be sound and founded on solidified scholarship. Granted the authors did not actually show where they have researched rather they simply offered the reader a list at the end of the chapters, "For Further Reading." These list are very helpful, however Stone and Duke should have been able to dig deep looking in journals or use some of these suggested books for the research but overall they have created a decent reliable means of information. It is impossible to communicate anything completely void of personal bias, but Stone and Duke have not let their preconceived ideas prevent them from getting the correct points across.
In a clear and consistent form these men have used good sense when communicating from their own well of wisdom. Yet placing the footnotes through out the book based on quality research would have offered strength to their argument. A total of seven Endnotes hardly seams sufficient to qualify a complete research. Regardless of the fact that they are correct in most of the beliefs expressed, research shows their willingness to learn. Some would say that they find any footnote to be too many, these will appreciate that here in lies no footnoting rather Endnotes and only a few. Once more, with this quality information the appropriate noting is expected. Here in is also found a good collection of resources, not too old that they have become out dated; only two aged references, the first note in chapter three (1968) also first the note found in chapter three (1926). The others are young, yet not so young that they themselves have not proven to stand the blows of harsh criticism. Due to the lack of revealed research except for the sections labeled, "For Further Reading" (we have only a small bibliography to view for this book. The bibliography is at the end of this critique), the student is forced to accept the sections labeled, "For Further Reading" instead of the bibliography. These suggested readings seem to mainly be addressing the laypersons. The sources are for the most part not accepted as scholarly or academically reliable. None of the information leads to a primary source other than the authors' own personal sources of wisdom. Some of the suggested readings shown are considered to be General sources but most are authorities in there field such as found on Page 25 with suggestions such as these: Campbell, Ted A. Christian Confessions: A Historical Introduction. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1966. Campbell provides a lucid, one-volume comparison of the teachings of Christianity's major church traditions; Jones, Linda, and Sophie Stanes. In a Dark Wood: Journeys of Faith and Doubt. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003. This book tells of experiences in the region of doubt and recovery of faith among Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, women and men; Kinast, Robert L. What Are They Saying about Theological Reflection? New York: Paulist Press, 2000. This is a brief but fine introduction to classical and contemporary discussions of theology. Kinast focuses especially on the experiential components of theological reflection; McKim , Donald K, ed. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. Louisville : Westminster John Knox Press, 1996. This is a reliable account of the familiar terms used by Christian theologians. It can be used to look up unfamiliar theological terms as well as to advance the reader toward better- informed, more deliberative theological thinking; Musser, Donald W, and Joseph L. Price, eds. New and Enlarged Handbook of Christian Theology. Revised edition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003. This resource presents informative articles on theology's standard and current topics, written by more than one hundred well-known contemporary theologians.
Within this book one will find clear communication concise and to the point. In a few places things seem to be getting a bit wordy and unnecessarily difficult but they balance it out with choosing their words of communication carefully which helps to highlight the message being thought that would otherwise be lost.
Stone and Duke have explained very well that all who profess Christ as Lord is a theologian. With which they offer a strong possible explanation of thinking theological. To think theologically one must diligently search for understanding, which is a positive lifestyle to develop. Christians haves a certain calling from God to search deeply for knowledge of him.
This book stands as it shows a sincere desire to search out and led others to the truth as viewed through the eyes of the authors' preconceived vantage point. Yes this book is understood to have a sincere desire to search out truth as it stands tall in defense of a solidified position. Stone and Duke know what they believe and they obviously unashamedly stand by their convictions and beliefs that one should continue to develop their thinking skills to become a better, shaper theological thinker, while searching for the truth which Holy Spirit will lead us in.


Dulles, Avery. The Craft of Theology: From Symbols to System, New Expanded Edition New York: Herder & Herder, 1995.

Ebeling, Gerhard. "Church History Is the History of the Exposition of Scripture." in The Word of God and Tradition. trans. S. H. Hooke. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968.

Kelsey, David. Proving Doctrine: Uses of Scripture in Recent Theology. Harrisburg, Pa Trinity Press International, 1999.

Killen, Patricia O' Connell. and John de Beer. The Art of Theological Reflection. New York: Crossroad, 1994.

Stone, Karen. "Underneath Are the Everlasting Arms." in Reflections on Grief and Spiritual Growth. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005.

"The Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants." in The Radical Reformation, ed .and trans. Michael G. Baylor Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Wallas, Graham. The Art of Thought. London: Butler & Tanner, 1926.

Whitehead, Evelyn Eaton. and James Whitehead. Method in Ministry, Revised Edition Chicago: Sheed and Ward, 1995.

Wood, Charles. Vision and Discernment: An Orientation in Theological Study. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985.
And It Was Painless!!  Nov 8, 2006
Whenever it comes to reading books on Theology or books written by Theologians I simply reach out and take 2 aspirins as a pre-emptive move. It just simply hurts to both understand these scholars and to realize how little I know.
This book on the other hand is written in a non-threatening way as a sensitive scholar may speak to his eager to learn but scared students. After reading this book I actually felt confident enough to begin sorting out my faith on my own and not simply rely on commentaries. In the process Theology became real, vibrant and even up lifting as I applied the results of this book.
Now don't get me wrong. I had to re-read some chapters to get it all but that was because I wanted to get it all and not because it was written in "high english". The authors actually made me feel that I wanted to get it and that I could get it.
I especially liked the explanation of sequential thinking vs. parallel synthetic thinking on page 60. This helped me understand how and why I think the way I do.
Another great aspect of this book is that it only 125 pages long which put me at ease when I sat down to read a book on theology that wasn't 500 pages long. The authors get to the point and have to be clear about it if they want to make a small book a success. And they did!!!
Very thoughtful  Nov 28, 2003
'How to Think Theologically' by Howard Stone and James Duke is a wonderfully accessible text, not about any particular school of theology, but rather, how to think theologically within almost any framework. While there are certainly some theological settings that prefer to go unquestioned and resist critical reflection, many are open to the kinds of reflection and critical analysis Stone and Duke describe here.

Perhaps the most important concept in the entire text come early in the text, and that is the concept of embedded versus deliberative theology. Embedded theology is that kind of theological content that is in us without our necessarily being aware of it. Embedded theology can come from early childhood ideas of God, Jesus, etc. Embedded theology can come from hymn texts, prayers, and sermons that reinforce ideas. Embedded theology can come from family, friends and neighbours. These are influences, subtle and explicit, that form a theological mindset in a person about just who and what God is, what God wants, what the church and community expects, etc.

Those churches and theological communities that resist critical analysis and reflection stand on shaky ground. They discourage questioning, often appealing to the ultimate source ('Who are you to question God?') when such arise. What is sometimes missed is that it is not God who is being questioned (not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, given the number of times in the Bible examples of God being questioned and bargained with are presented), but rather an individual's or community's preconceptions of God that are being questioned.

This gets into deliberative theology. Deliberative theology is a second-order process, of asking important questions about who, what, when, where, how and why. Not all questions can be answered. Not all will be relevant. Sometimes, deliberative theology will serve to strengthen the embedded theological ideas; sometimes, deliberative processes will cause a reconstruction and reconception.

Stone and Duke look at the different types of questions to be asked, and what to do with answers, as well as how to deal with ambiguities and inconsistencies. This book is not one that brings theological thinking to a conclusion, but rather is a starting point. It is often used in seminaries as a beginning to theological reflection, either in introductory classes or systematic theology classes (as is being done in my seminary this year). It is also worthwhile reading for anyone who wishes to have a stronger foundation upon which to build the faith of a community, so that honest questions can be dealt with in an honest fashion, rather than ignored or discouraged.


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