The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & ReformThe Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform
Roger E. Olson
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In This panoramic work of historical theology, Roger Olson vividly recounts the deeds and words of the apostolic fathers of the second century, the clash between the theological schools of Alexandria and Antioch, the epochal division between East and West, the revolutionary advent of the Reformation and much more -- right on up to the dazzling, sometimes dismaying fallout that has continued to shake Christians through the twentieth century. Through it all he highlights a common thread: a concern for salvation -- God's redemptive activity in forgiving and transforming sinful human beings.

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Introduction: Christian Theology as Story

Part I: The Opening Act: Conflicting Christian Visions in the Second Century

1. Critics & Cultists Cause Confusion
2. The Apostolic Fathers Explain the Way
3. The Apologists Defend the Faith
4. Irenaeus Exposes Heresies

Part II: The Plot Thickens: Third-Century Tensions & Transformations

5. North African Thinkers Examine Philosophy
6. Origen of Alexandria Leaves a Troubling Legacy
7. Cyprian of Carthage Promotes Unity
8. Christianity Gets Its Act Together

Part III: A Great Crisis Rocks the Church: The Controversy About the Trinity

9. Alexandrians Argue About the Son of God
10. The Church Responds at the Council of Nicea
11. Athanasius Stubbornly Keeps the Faith
12. The Cappadocian Fathers Settle the Issue

Part IV: Another Crisis Shakes the Church: The Conflict Over the Person of Christ

13. The Schools of Antioch & Alexandria Clash over Christ
14. Nestorius & Cyril Bring the Controversy to a Head
15. Chalcedon Protects the Mystery
16. Fallout from the Conflict Continues

Part V: A Tale of Two Churches: The Great Tradition Divides Between East & West

17. Augustine Confesses God's Glory & Human Depravity
18. The Western Church Becomes Roman Catholic
19. The Eastern Church Becomes Eastern Orthodox
20. The Great Schism Creates Two Traditions Out of One

Part VI: The Saga of the Queen of Sciences: Scholastics Revive & Enthrone Theology

21. Anselm & Abelard Speculate About God's Ways
22. Thomas Aquinas Summarizes Christian Truth
23. Nominalists, Reformers & Humanists Challenge the Scholastic Synthesis

Part VII: A New Twist in the Narratives: The Western Church Reforms & Divides

24. Luther Rediscovers the Gospel & Divides the Church
25. Zwingli & Calvin Organize Protestant Thought
26. Anabaptists Go Back to the Roots of Christianity
27. Rome & Canterbury Go Separate But Parallel Ways

Part VIII: The Center of the Story Falls Apart: Protestants Follow Diverse Paths

28. Arminians Attempt to Reform Reformed Theology
29. Pietists Seek to Renew Lutheran Theology
30. Puritans & Methodists Struggle to Revive English Theology
31. Deists Try to Transform Protestant Theology

Part IX: The Overall Plots Divides: Liberals & Conservatives Respond to Modernity

32. Liberal Theology Accommodates to Modern Culture
33. Conservative Theology Hardens Traditional Categories
34. Neo-Orthodoxy Transcends the Divide
35. Contemporary Theology Struggles with Diversity

Conclusion: The Unfinished Story & Its Future