Item description for Essentials of Christian Theology by William C. Placher...
Overview This splendid introductory textbook for Christian theology presents two essays by leading scholars on each of the major theological questions. William Placher provides an excellent discussion of the history and current state of each doctrine while the essays explore the key elements and contemporary issues relating to these important theological concepts.
This splendid introductory textbook for Christian theology presents two essays by leading scholars on each of the major theological questions. William Placher provides an excellent discussion of the history and current state of each doctrine while the essays explore the key elements and contemporary issues relating to these important theological concepts.
Awards and Recognitions Essentials of Christian Theology by William C. Placher has received the following awards and recognitions -
Christianity Today Book Award - 2004 Award of Merit - Theology/Ethics category
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 1.1" Weight: 1.4 lbs.
Release Date Feb 12, 2004
Publisher PRESBYTERIAN PUBLISHING #86
ISBN 0664223958 ISBN13 9780664223953
Reviews - What do customers think about Essentials of Christian Theology?
Great for intro and depth at the same time! Nov 10, 2006
Placher's volume is helpful to the first-time reader of Christian theology, but it is also engaging to a more seasoned audience. His introduction ("Why Bother with Theology?") not only stands as a useful argument on its own--it also sets an appropriate tone for the rest of the book.
Each chapter focuses on a specific issue of Christian doctrine (e.g. trinity, atonement, church). Placher begins every chapter with a brief but cogent summary of the history of the topic, including some of the historical theological perspectives that have shaped how we think about the topic today.
The chapters continue with brief essays from prominent contemporary theologians--two per chapter--presenting their perspectives. They represent the diversity in contemporary theological scholarship, ranging from the liberal to the conservative, the systematic to the scriptural, and including liberation and feminist theologies.
It is a great first-time read, and it is also something that should then be kept on the shelf for future reference. It may be rather expensive, but it is worth every penny.
Horrible View of Theology Oct 21, 2005
I was very skeptical when I read the authors brief summary in the beginning of this book. He states the views are from people from every walk, ethnic and "sexual orientation." That automatically threw a red flag for me. The view on homosexuals is jaded and far from Divine viewpoint. One reviewer was absolutely correct when he stated "it is a place for liberals and Christians to meet." Saints don't compromise leave this book on the discounted shelf.
An excellent introduction to theological studies Aug 27, 2005
If you are beginning a journey in Christian theology, this book is for you. Dr. Placher has put together a collection of essays by 18 distinguished scholars. Nine important issues are discussed. Each section begins with a helpful introduction by Dr. Placher which serves to frame the discussion. Then two authors with different perspectives present their thoughts on the topic. At the end of each chapter are questions for discussion and a list of additional resources.
This book could serve as an excellent launching pad for further research in any of these areas. The great thing about the book is that it is not set up in an "us" versus "them" way. The authors don't set themselves up on the opposite sides of issues. Rather, each presents his or her own views in a non-confrontational way. By reading two perspectives on an issue, more of the nuance of the topic shows through. This is a wonderful resource.
A Place for Evangelicals and Liberals to Meet Jun 3, 2005
I teach at a conservative evangelical seminary and used this as a supplementary text to the mainstay (Millard Erickson). I must say that Placher has done a fantastic job of choosing a stellar lineup of essayists from a broad spectrum of opinion. Moreover, unlike some counterpoint books that leave the reader bewildered, each section here is unified by Placher's excellent introductions. The opinions expressed range from progressive evangelical to mainline liberal, and while there are definitely some places where my students were irritated (e.g. a defense of homosexual practice) or simply mystified (Cobb's process theology), their overall impression was positive. They recognized how much their horizons had been broadened, and that is the mark of an excellent introduction.
Excellent overview of contemporary theology Aug 14, 2004
As a seminary student who read this book over the summer, not for a class, but just to keep up my theological "chops," I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone wanting to explore different facets of theology from a multitude of viewpoints. The best use of this book is to read the introductions and the essays, and note the authors and issues of interest for future exploration. Because of the diversity of viewpoints, nobody will be in agreement with every theologian in this book. But all of them will make you think. Most of the authors (not all) operate from the traditional trinitarian framework at least as a launching pad, so much of this material at least speaks the same language as the knowledgable reader.
In my opinion, the most interesting theologians represented were John Cobb, the process theologian, whose writings I might investigate further, and Serene Jones, who does theology that makes sense to the averate person in the pew (actually, there are several who do that). My least favorites were Clark Williamson, a stereotypical liberal on a soapbox, and Sallie McFague, who gets too close to pantheism for my comfort (actually, she would be known as a "panentheist"). It was encouraging to me to read some very thoughtful evangelicals as well, including Stanley Grenz and Richard Mouw.
Bottom line: if you want to get past Calvin, Luther, and that ilk and see where the action is in theology TODAY, this is a great place to start.