|Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine|
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The Christian church has a long tradition of systematic theology, that is, studying theology and doctrine organized around fairly standard categories such as the Word of God, redemption, and Jesus Christ. This introductory textbook on systematic theology has several distinctive features:
- A strong emphasis on the scriptural basis for each doctrine and teaching
- Clear writing, with technical terms kept to a minimum
- A contemporary approach, treating subjects of special interest to the church today
- A friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect
- Frequent application to life
- Resources for worship with each chapter
- Bibliographies with each chapter that cross-reference subjects to a wide range of other systematic theologies
Dr. Wayne Grudem
| Are you working on any new projects?|
Yes, I am finishing my new book called Evangelical Feminism and the Truth of the Bible which will be published by Multnomah this fall (2003). The book layout is a question and answer format dealing with the major objections that evangelical feminists have brought up over the last 30 years and attempting to answer those objections from Scripture.
I am also working on a book from Crossway Books called Business for the Glory of God which deals with business activities. This book deals with the why rather than the how of doing business, and a includes a biblical look at economics, saving, giving, and spending.
|Does this book deal with the popular prosperity issue?
It deals with competition, buying and selling, the inequality of possessions, proper use of the worldís resources, and vocational calling. Also that money in and of itself is not morally wrong, but needs to be used for Godís purposes.
|As a board member of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, what would you say to Bible College students and seminary students who are getting married or getting engaged?|
After 34 years of marriage I would tell them it just gets better as it goes along. Marriage lived according to Godís principles is an amazing thing, and it just gets better. Evangelical feminism brings couples stress and unhappiness instead of the clear, and I think, not confusing instructions provided by the Bible. We need to recover biblical foundations for manhood and womanhood.
I would say to them to follow the Bible even when it conflicts with what is culturally en vogue. I would also recommend the Family Life Weekend to Remember or their prep for marriage seminar. My wife and I used to speak at those and they are put on by Campus Crusade for Christ.
|In the wake of all the issues that are affecting evangelicals such as feminism, and translation issues, what do you see as the biggest hindrance to evangelicals?|
Obedience. We are ignoring the importance of obedience to Godís commands and its direct relation to the degree of Godís blessing on our lives and ministry. Sanctification is important. We have to obey God and his commands.
I see that there is such a large emphasis on grace that people donít realize that obedience to Godís moral standards in Scripture is very important. People fail to realize that God rewards obedience in this life and he disciplines disobedience. If we hope to see Godís blessing on our lives and ministries then we need to walk in obedience to His Word. And then trust Him to give His blessings.
|If possible, what do you foresee happening in the evangelical world in the next five years?|
- I have seen the hints of a major revival in the United States coming both from public sources and private sources. There has been ongoing revivals overseas in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but not here in America. Supposedly even popular authors like John Grisham are evangelicals. In addition to that, there are outspoken evangelicals at the highest levels of government in the United States and that is of course coming to the notice of the press.
- Increasing discussion/debate about translation. My expectation is that we will see a return to an emphasis on essentially literal translations such as the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, the Holman Christian Standard Version, and the New King James version, as opposed to translations that are based on the theory of dynamic equivalence-Ėthe theory that we should translate the main ideas rather than the words. These are translations like the New Living Translation, the Message, and to some extent the NIV as well. I think we will see an increasing emphasis on the importance of translations in which you can trust every word, and that it represents the meaning that is in the original text of Scripture as far as is possible, with no details or meanings left out. I think there may be also an increasing awareness of the need for beauty and excellence in the style of our English translations. Leland Ryken's recent book The Word of God in English is a marvelous treat on that subject.
- Greater discussion in regard to the roles of men and women in the church and in marriage. I think that the evangelical world is dividing into two camps on the question of whether women can be elders or pastors of churches and in many denominations and organizations the question is still being decided. My own opinion is that when people have the right information it often boils down to a question of whether they are going to obey the teachings of Scripture even when they conflict with the trends in modern culture. And I am troubled that within the evangelical feminist camp there are a number now saying that we can call God our mother in heaven. Catherine Kroeger is now saying this and the executive director of the Center for Biblical Equality, Mimi Haddad, is saying this as well, as are a number of books that are being sold on the Center for Biblical Equalityís website. This is a troubling development. And I know that members of CBE say that they will not endorse the legitimacy of homosexuality or of homosexual conduct, but it is also troubling to me to see that more liberal denominations, all of which have now endorsed the ordination of women, are increasingly calling for the acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate pattern of conduct for Christians. The new archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is a troubling example.
- Spiritual Gifts. There are still some issues pertaining to spiritual gifts, but overall the rift between charismatics and non-charismatics that plagued us from the 60ís to the 90ís has lost a lot of steam, and when they get together for combined worship they realize they are not as different in practice as they thought they were.
|As a new wave of young postmodern theologians arise, what advice or caution do you give my generation in regards to theology and also pastoring in the postmodern matrix?|
Donít stray from the truth of the Bible. The Bible is Godís word for all cultures, and all societies and all generations and that does not change. In addition, I believe that the Bible was written so that ordinary people could understand it. I want to caution people to be suspicious of scholars who say that the Bible doesnít mean what it clearly says in most or all English translations. I think if there is a doctrine that is to be taught it should be able to be defended from the English text of Scripture, at least in most cases.
I have given my life to academic study of the Bible and I think that academic study of the Bible and its background (the languages in which it was written) is very important. Academic study provides us more clarity on certain details and it provides us more confidence that our interpretations are right, but it shouldnít fundamentally change the meanings of passages that have been there in the English texts all along.
Another task of scholarship is to defend the truth of Scripture against the attacks from people who deny it. And sometimes that takes a lot of detailed argument.
Since you mentioned we should "believe what the Bible clearly says" what do you say to the openness issue in which they say they are reading the bible at face value?
Well, scripture interprets scripture. Context is also important. Bruce Wareís book Godís Lesser Glory discusses all of this. I also have a chapter in Beyond the Bounds that explains my position more fully.
|Have there been any developments within the Evangelical Theological Society in regards to the openness issue?
It is public knowledge that in early October Clark Pinnock and John Sanders will meet with the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Theological Society in a private meeting. I am on the Executive Committee and we will then make a recommendation to the society as a whole and that recommendation regarding the membership of Clark Pinnock and John Sanders will be voted on in our annual meeting in November in Atlanta. I and others on the executive committee have been asked by David Howard, the President of the ETS, not to comment publicly on the issues involved here, and so I donít wish to do that at this point but I can say that on the issue of open theism itself in general, not dealing with Pinnock or Sanders specifically, but on the issue in general, I believe that Steve Roy in a doctoral dissertation at Trinity demonstrated that there are over two thousand verses in the Bible that show God predicting events that involve human choices. I have also written on the general question of when a doctrinal issue is important enough it should become a defining issue for boundaries in evangelical organizations. That is my chapter, "When, Why, and for What Reasons Should We Draw New Boundaries" in the book Beyond the Bounds edited by John Piper and others.
While in Toronto this year, were you able to see the James ossuary?
Yes, I was able to see it and it was very impressive and quite moving. I do believe this ossuary is authentic, I believe the wording is unusual enough and there is a very high probability that it contained the bones of the brother of our Lord and that it was in Jerusalem. That would mean that the Jerusalem Church and the early apostles could have carried the ossuary with their own hands. It is a historical artifact and it is a gift that God left for us to find and to discover and it just gives additional confirmation for non-Christians about the authenticity of the Bible.