Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, 3 Volumes in OneRenewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, 3 Volumes in One
Rodman Williams
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Now you can have all three books of this landmark study in charismatic theology in one unabridged volume! Written in a warm, personal style, this scripturally sound resource gives you a comprehensive perspective on Renewal Theology. You'll gain insight into a variety of topics including redemption, salvation, the church, and the kingdom---and better understand how God works in your own life. 1500 pages, hardcover from Zondervan.

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From the preface to volume one

Renewal Theology is a study in the Christian faith. It deals with such basic matters as God and His relationship to the world, the nature of man and the tragedy of sin and evil, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the way of salvation, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, and the Christian walk. These and many other related areas will be carefully considered.

The present volume will climax with the study of the person and work of Christ as set forth in the Incarnation, Atonement, and Exaltation.

The writing of Renewal Theology is first of all against the background of teaching theology since 1959 at three institutions: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas; Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, California; and presently Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In each of these places it has been my responsibility to cover the full round of theology: the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. According, what has been written in Renewal Theology comes largely from classroom experience: the regular preparation for teaching, interchange with students, and dialogue with faculty colleagues. In recent years much of the material now found in Renewal Theology has been used in classroom instruction and bears the marks, I trust, of living communication.

My concern throughout is to present Christian truth in such a way that it will be conversational--a kind of speaking in writing. In an earlier book entitled Ten Teachings (974), which grew out of both preaching and teaching, I made a much briefer preliminary attempt. It is now my hope that all who read these pages in Renewal Theology--whether they are theological students, pastors, or laymen--will recognize this personal address to them.

The other aspect of the background for writing Renewal Theology is my participation since 1965 in the spiritual renewal movement in the church early described as "neo-Pentecostal" and more recently as "charismatic." Many who are involved in this movement today speak of it simply as "the renewal." In past years I have sought to deal with certain distinctives in the renewal through three books: The Era of the Spirit (971), The Pentecostal Reality (1972), and The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today (1980). In Renewal Theology my concern is much broader, namely, to deal with the full range of Christian truth. It will nonetheless be "renewal theology," because I write as one positioned within the renewal context.
Renewal Theology is in one sense an expression of revitalization. When I came into the renewal in 965, "God is dead" language was abroad in the land. What happened in my case and that of many others was God's own answer: a powerful self-revelation. In The Era of the Spirit I wrote "He may have seemed absent, distant, even non-existent to many of us before, but now His presence is vividly manifest" (p. 10). John Calvin had long ago declared about God that "the recognition of him consists more in living experience than in vain and high-flown speculation" (Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.10.2, Battles trans.). Now that there was an enhancement of "living experience" in my life, there came about a fresh zeal for teaching theology in its many facets. As I said later in Era, "A new dynamic has been unleashed that has vitalized various theological categories" (p. 41). Renewal Theology is an expression of theological revitalization.

In most of the pages that follow there will be little difference from what may be found in many books of theology. This is especially true of the present volume where the topics generally follow traditional patterns. However, what I hope the reader will catch is the underlying excitement and enthusiasm about the reality of the matters discussed. The old being renewed is something to get excited about!

But Renewal Theology also represents an effort to reclaim certain biblical affirmations that have been largely neglected or given insufficient attention. In line with the setting of this theology within the contemporary renewal, there is also a deep concern to relate relevant renewal emphases to more traditional categories. Since it is my conviction that church tradition and theology have generally failed to treat adequately the aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit that may be called "pentecostal" and "charismatic," there will be an earnest attempt to bring these matters to light. Volume 2 will deal particularly with this area; however, in many other places in Renewal Theology there will be pentecostal/charismatic input.

Finally, the concern of Renewal Theology in every area of study is truth. This is not an attempt to advance a particular cause but to understand in totality what the Christian faith proclaims. It is not only a matter of individual doctrines but also of the full round of Christian truth. With this in mind, it has been my prayerful desire that "the Spirit of truth" at every point will lead "into all the truth" (John 16:13).

I close this preface with the challenging words of Paul to Titus: "As for you, teach what befits sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1). By God's grace I trust that what is found in the pages to follow will be "sound doctrine." I have no desire to teach anything else.
From the preface to volume two

Renewal Theology: Salvation, The Holy Spirit, and Christian Living is a treatise on the Christian faith. It begins with a consideration of the way of salvation from the calling of God to final perseverance. Next, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, His coming, and the gifts of the Spirit are given attention. The book concludes with a discussion of Christian living.

The opening chapters on salvation deal with the heart of the Christian faith. This section concerns how God's work of redemption in Jesus Christ becomes effective for mankind. How do we enter on the way of salvation and continue in it? In this connection particular attention is given to the doctrines of regeneration, justification, and sanctification. I have written this section on salvation with the strong conviction of the need for fuller biblical, theological, and practical understanding in these areas.

The next chapters discuss many aspects of the activity of the Holy Spirit that call for special attention in our time. After some reflection on the identity and nature of the Holy Spirit, I turn to a study of His unique work of enabling and empowering. The coming of the Holy Spirit, next considered, is the critical center of this section of the book. I deal with the phenomenon of tongues after that. Next I write in some detail about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and focus on the ninefold manifestation of these gifts. My concern in this matter is to give a thorough biblical presentation of these spiritual gifts in their nature and function and to demonstrate their relevance for today.

The study in the aforementioned area of the Holy Spirit as particular bearing on the charismatic renewal in our time. As a participant in that renewal since 1965, I have long been concerned with its biblical and theological orientation. I trust that what is said in the section on the Holy Spirit will provide both an elaboration and a critique of many of the emphases in this renewal. Also it is my hope that both participants and nonparticipants will find this portion of the book helpful.
The final chapter on Christian living, which deals with doing God's will, walking in the light, and following the way of love, provides an ethical climax to this volume of Renewal Theology.

Renewal Theology: Salvation, the Holy Spirit, and Christian Living is the second of two volumes. The first is entitled Renewal Theology: God, the World, and Redemption. Although volume 2 does not necessarily presuppose the use of volume 1, there is undoubtedly value in reading and studying what has preceded. Incidentally, there are footnotes in this volume that refer to volume 1, and it may prove helpful to follow them up. I also call attention to the preface in the first volume for further orientation to the writing of both volumes.

This second volume of Renewal Theology is dedicated to "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:13). I sincerely hope that all who read these pages will be led more deeply into the truth that He alone can reveal.

From the preface to volume three

This volume of Renewal Theology is divided into two parts: "The Church" and "Last Things."

Part 1 begins with a definition of the church. Then such matters as the scope of the church, various descriptions of the nature of the church, and diverse functions of the church are considered. This leads to a discussion of ministry in the church, the ordinances (or sacraments), and the relation of the church to civil government.

Part 2 begins with a brief study of the kingdom of God and after that focuses on the return of Jesus Christ. From the perspective that the return of Christ is the great event yet to occur, such matters as the signs, manner, and purpose of His return are considered next. Finally, after reflection on the millennial question, the book concludes with a study of the final judgment and consummation in the new heaven and new earth.

Renewal Theology: The Church, the Kingdom, and Last Things is the third in a series of volumes. The first two are subtitled, respectively, God, the World, and Redemption and Salvation, the Holy Spirit, and Christian Living. This present volume brings to a close a study of the full round of Christian doctrines.