Item description for Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God by Stanley J. Grenz & Roger E. Olson...
Overview The authors, two theologians who care deeply about the witness of ordinary Christians and the ministry of the church, show what theology is, what tools theology uses, why every believer is a theologian and how the theological enterprise can be productive and satisfying.
Publishers Description To many Christians theology is something alien, overly intellectual and wholly unappealing. Even seminary students are known to balk at the prospect of a course on theology. Yet theology--most simply, the knowledge of God--is essential to the life and health of the church. In this short introduction, Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson, two theologians who care deeply about the witness of ordinary Christians and the ministry of the church, show what theology is, what tools theology uses, why every believer (advanced degrees or not) is a theologian and how the theological enterprise can be productive and satisfying. Their clear, easily understood book is ideal for students, church study groups and individual Christians who want to strengthen understanding, belief and commitment by coming to know God more fully.
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Stanley J. Grenz is Pioneer McDonald Professor of Baptist Heritage, Theology, and Ethics at Carey Theological College and Professor of Theology and Ethics at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. His works include "Revisioning Evangelical Theology" and "Theology for the Community of God."
Stanley J. Grenz was born in 1950 and died in 2005 and has an academic affiliation as follows - North American Baptist Seminary.
Reviews - What do customers think about Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God?
"What must we be, say, and do?" Jan 14, 2006
One of the reasons I enrolled in seminary back in 1999 was to cure my theological ignorance. I was tired of being misled by autocratic pastors and high-sounding authors. After I began school, it didn't take long for me to see how naive I was about God. Although it raised all sorts of new questions, a seminary education was worth the time and money. That's because it forced me to continually ask myself the question used for this review's title, which Grenz and Olson claim is theology's fundamental query (94).
However, not every Christian can attend a Bible college (or even wants to). Even so, he or she should have 1) a well-defined theology, and 2) critical thinking skills. "Who Needs Theology?" helps encourage the believer along this path. It is the authors' desire that Christians leave behind credulity and the half-truths of "folk" theology in favor of a more profound lay, ministerial, or even professional level of theology. Of course, there are some pitfalls of theological study. A student can neglect their heart and embrace what the authors call "academic" theology, which is so cognitive that it has no practical worth. However, we should not be afraid of such detours. They can be avoided by remaining in community with other Christians and maintaining a personal relationship with God.
"Who Needs Theology?" isn't overly dry and dense. The authors write in an accessible manner, and even use examples from the "Peanuts" comic strip to drive home some theological points. Their explanation of the differences between Christian dogma, doctrine, and opinion helped me understand these categories better. Practical advice is saved for the last chapter, where study resources and methods are recommended. However, I wish the authors had spent more time emphasizing the value of the classroom. Studying alone is good, but ultimately it's like trying to learn karate out of a book. As with martial arts, the best way to learn theology is from a gifted teacher and by interacting with others. They do recommend teaching as a way to learn, which is a good point. But taking on that role prematurely can be perilous and should be done with care.
One of my theology profs had struggling students read this book and write a report for extra credit. That would have been a valuable exercise for the whole class, because "Who Needs Theology?" is a great introduction to the value of critical thinking and crafting a solid theological foundation. If you're curious about theology, or wonder why you should bother to study it, start here before diving into deeper waters.
Everyone Is a Theologian Sep 26, 2005
This truly was a pleasure to read. It put into words the motivational factors I had for bring the study of theology into my church. Grenz and Olson lovingly invite any and everyone to rich discipline of "studying God" by delineating the following:
1. Everyone Is a Theologian 2. Not All Theologies Are Equal 3. Defining Theology 4. Defending Theology 5. Theology's Tasks & Traditions 6. The Theologian's Tools 7. Constructing Theology in Context 8. Bringing Theology into Life 9. An Invitation to Engage in Theology
They understand the many misconceptions, intimidations, and difficulties in pursuing knowledge of God, yet charitably demonstrate that it can be done to the gory his glory even by a child. Holding high views of Scripture, tradition, and culture, they set forth a non-threatening view of how God can be loved through faith seeking understanding.
A wonderfully readable explanation of what theology is Sep 20, 2005
For the layman or the scholar, this book will teach you something you didn't know before about theology, and makes the subject much less scary (even to professional theologians) :) Great job guys.
Outstanding book Nov 20, 2003
Grenz and Olson wrote a superb book for "the rest of us." They do a great job convincing the reader that we are all theologians, of one kind or another. It helps the reader no longer be afraid of the word "theology." I particularly appreciated their discussion of different kinds of theologians, as it helped me to understand the basis for some of my own likes and dislikes of the field. This book is used in seminaries for beginning students, but is great for the layman. A must read for all Christians.
A superb Introduction to the study of Theology Sep 6, 2002
""Who needs theology?" we ask. The answer is clear: All do" (p. 46). Defending this claim pretty much takes up the first half of the book. I must say, the authors do a great job of it too! This is an excellent book for people who find their eyes glazing over at the very word "theology." Grenz and Olsen have written an engaging and elementary book showing why theology is important for every Christian. The authors divide theological thinking into three categories: "dogma, doctrine, & opinion". Dogma includes teaching that is mandatory for one's salvation. Doctrine includes teaching that is considered important but not essential. Finally, opinion is catch-all category for everything that is left. This was a most helpful evaluative tool for this reader. Likewise, the authors note the various types of theology ranging from folk, to lay theology, to ministerial, professional and finally academic theology. Basically, the authors argue that folk theology and academic theology is useless to the church on the one hand and dangerous on the other. The authors also discuss the basic tools of the theology and the contextualization of theology. Finally the authors note that the goal of theology is impact in one's life. A short, easy & helpful book. Highly recommended.