Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times  -     Edited By: Nathan D. Holsteen, Michael J. Svigel
    By: Edited by Nathan D. Holsteen & Michael J. Svigel
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Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times

Bethany House / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

Theology does not have to be complicated. In this book, trusted Dallas Seminary professors write with the lay person in mind as they present a concise systematic theology that distills the essential spiritual truths in a way that makes sense. Here are introductions, overviews, and reviews of key tenets of orthodox protestant evangelical doctrines. The book is one of three volumes and includes an annotated list of key applicable Bible texts, a quick-paced story of doctrine throughout church history, heresies or distortions to be aware of, and a glossary of words.

Exploring Christian Theology is useful for discipleship, catechism, membership training, preview or review of doctrine, or quick personal reference. It can also be used by ministry training programs, Bible colleges, or seminaries as an introductory primer to orient students in preparation for a more in-depth study of theology.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0764211293
ISBN-13: 9780764211294
Availability: In Stock

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Author Bio

Nathan D. Holsteen, ThM, PhD, is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he teaches all areas of systematic theology. Trained as an engineer, he is awed by systems of theology that exhibit internal coherence. He and his wife, Janice, have two children and live in Fort Worth, Texas.

Michael J. Svigel,
ThM, PhD, is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written numerous Bible study guides, articles, and papers, and is the author of RetroChristianity. He lives in Garland, Texas, with his wife, Stephanie, and their three children. Learn more at www.retrochristianity.com.


There has never been a more urgent need, because of the times in which we live, to have a biblically based statement of Christian theology. Holsteen and Svigel are both qualified to write such an exploration since their lives have been shaped by biblical teaching, and it is this teaching that prompts others to the hope only God through His Word can provide.
-Mark L. Bailey,
President, Dallas Theological Seminary

Exploring Christian Theology is a wonderful doctrinal primer that teaches theology in a way that will engage you and cause you to reflect. . . A great way to get acquainted with key biblical theological themes.
-Darrell Bock,
Dallas Theological Seminary

The church is always in need of mature, faithful, biblical theology. And that's exactly what you should expect to find in this volume. This new book is a very important consideration of the church, the Christian life, and the end times. And Christians in all walks of life will find this book to be particularly helpful.
-Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.,
President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Exploring Christian Theology series provides a wonderfully helpful tour of basic Christian beliefs. Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel have put together a unique way of teaching theology that is thoroughly biblical but also highly engaging. A good resource for pursuing Christian discipleship.
-Michael F. Bird,
Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College

Most theological texts seem to use doctrine as a sleep aid. Dull and dry, these books hide the truth behind the reader's yawn. How refreshing to read Exploring Christian Theology! With an appropriate balance of readability, clarity, and humor, Drs. Holsteen and Svigel have made the key doctrines of our Christian faith accessible--without compromising orthodoxy. Truth should never leave us yawning. This book makes me want more.
-Dr. Wayne Stiles,
Executive Vice President, Insight for Living

Product Reviews

3.9 Stars Out Of 5
3.9 out of 5
3.9 out Of 5
(3.9 out of 5)
4 out Of 5
(4 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3.8 out Of 5
(3.8 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 5
Page 1 of 1
  1. David Shaw
    Tecumseh, OK
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Review - Exploring Christian Theology
    April 29, 2014
    David Shaw
    Tecumseh, OK
    Quality: 3
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 2
    I haven't been more torn reading a book as I have reading Exploring Christian Theology by Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel. There were many times when I was the author was diving into some deep theological truth only to be interrupted us with Dr. Seuss. And as the author would being to probe the depth of that theological truth they would move onto another point. So I'm torn, torn between enjoying this book and really enjoying this book. To make myself clear I enjoyed this book, just not as much as I felt I wanted to or should have.

    The book is in two parts. The first part, written by Holdsteen, is titled "Created in Christ Jesus: Church, Churches, and the Christian Life." The topics are wide ranging, encouraging, challenging and interrupted. As I said earlier you will come across your fair share of Dr. Seuss references (amongst other pop-culture references). Holdsteen uses these references as illustrations. Now I appreciate a good illustration it's just that these didn't seem to fit. Sure in some way they concerned the topic but they were distracting. Holdsteen writes in a clear way. He makes the topic easy to understand without any reference to Thing One and Thing Two.

    The second part is written by Svigel and is titled "When He Returns: Resurrection, Judgment and the Restoration." To compare it to part one, Svigel uses illustrations concerning his family or experiences. To me these are more impactful and help better clarify the point. Like Holsteen he writes deeply but clearly.

    Both authors show all views of controversial topics and leave it to the reader to decide on their view. But as I mentioned earlier I wish they would have taken us deeper into those topics.

    What I enjoyed most was how they took us throughout church history on certain topics. I always enjoy seeing how the church in her history has viewed the truths found in Scripture. The shortness of the discussion is an effect of their goal. They are trying to give us a "concise" talk on each of the topics. My frustration with the brevity is in a way good, overall I enjoyed what I was reading and wanted to keep reading their thoughts on those topics.

    Disclaimer- I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review. All that was required of me is that I review it, positively or negatively, on my site.
  2. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Unusual book on Christian theology
    January 27, 2014
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This is the first release of what will be three volumes. This volume covers the church, spiritual growth, and the end times.

    This is probably the most unusual book on theology I have ever read. As the authors themselves say, "This book provides central themes, essential passages, and a basic orientation to major Christian doctrines from a broadly orthodox protestant evangelical perspective." (119) And they do exactly that. A variety of viewpoints are given as are the essential truths. One comes away with a good understanding of why there are so many different beliefs on the subject but also with an understanding of the underlying truth that ties them all together.

    There are a few factors that make this such an unusual book on theology. One is the odd inclusion of pages and pages of quotations from people and confessions through the centuries. The authors have written on these subjects, I think, at the level of new Christians. The information is basic, well laid out, and not technical. Then to have the pages of quotes just seems so out of place.

    Another factor is the difference between the two authors in their writing style. Holsteen writes on the church and spiritual growth. He uses lots of stories from modern films (from Star Wars to Mrs. Doubtfire) and books (from Robert Ludlum to Dr. Seuss). He draws an analogy between the Dallas Cowboys under the Jerry Jones administration and developments in the patristic era of church history. (57) It seemed like Holsteen was trying desperately to be relevant to current culture. I just did not appreciate that style of writing about theology.

    Contrasting to Holsteen's work is Svigel's on the end times. It was well presented and written without any references to modern culture. While I was put off by Holsteen's section, I really liked Svigel's. He did a great job of showing how various beliefs about the end times rose and fell over the centuries.

    Another factor that makes this book unusual is that it includes principles to put into action. The authors don't just give you relevant information about the church, spiritual growth and the end times, they tell you how these truths affect your Christian walk - how you are to live your life in light of them.

    The authors have included an extensive reading list for further study. They've added annotations to book references so this would be a good jumping off point for further study. There is also a great glossary included so new Christians won't be confused by the terms used.

    So I have mixed feelings about this book. It would be good for new Christians as it provides a great overview of the topics included. There are just some odd aspects to it that make it less than perfect.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
  3. Docmeister7
    Horseshoe Bend, AR
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    They've Taken Dry And Dusty Out Of The Study Of Th
    January 8, 2014
    Horseshoe Bend, AR
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    I want to RE-SEND this review, and extend my apologies to Bethany House, and to the authors for the previous post. I misunderstood the situation, and did not realize that this was part of a three-book set. My previous concerns were with the brevity of the book, and the material that had been "left out" of this volume of systematic theology. Having said that . . .

    What the authors of this book do, they do well. With references and illustrations drawn from current technology and quotations from recent movies and books, this is a very readable book that engages the reader from page one. Other welcome aspects of this book include tight outlines that provide a summary of the doctrine at hand, a brief history of that doctrine throughout the ages, distortions to be aware of and avoid, reading lists for further study, and a glossary of theological terms. The authors have taken "dry and dusty" out of the study of theology, and have not only shown the relevance of a systematic study of the church, spiritual growth, and the end times . . . they have provided numerous examples for how it works out in real life . . . "where the rubber meets the road," so to speak.

    I'm looking forward to the finished set.

    5 stars for a systematic theology that motivates the reader to do something about it!
  4. GiniB
    Dallas, PA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Exploring Christian Theology
    January 7, 2014
    Dallas, PA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The strength of this book was identified by the endorsement written by Darrell Bock where he says that this book "combines biblical texts, what people have said across history, and that alludes to contemporary culture_" Bock's description is quite accurate. With the help of a glossary the person just coming to theology can obtain a helpful overview a range of topics that involve the church, spiritual growth and end times information.

    The presentation of material is even handed when different positions exist. The positions are not debated happily, and the information supplied helps to differentiate the various opinions. A very good and concise church history that points up some of the major doctrinal decisions from the earliest times forward is the best I have read. The section on end times is equally as thorough and complete. It too has a history of the development of thought on the end times that is well written. Both sections are generously supplied with charts to compare or summarize the information given. Endnotes are available, too.

    While this book does not cover all of Christian theology, it does give the reader a starting point to sample some of the topic. Additional recommended reading lists compiled by topic are included for those that wish to dig deeper. The entries are designated beginner through advanced reading to assist those not familiar with the works---like me.

    Readability? Not a textbook, so relax, but not fluff either. Neither is it dry or boring. And as mentioned there is a glossary for those us who haven't a clue what full preterism is or who the Church Fathers were. The editors included brief entries from many of them for the reader, by the way.

    Overall, I do recommend this book for those wanting a taste of Christian theology in the areas mentioned above.

    This book was provided by the publishers in exchange for this review.
  5. mojo
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Great resource for laymen
    January 2, 2014
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Editors Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel have written a very concise and easy to digest systematic theology book. What is systematic theology? Glad you asked! Systematic theology is a scholarship of Christianity that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs. In other words it's "what we believe about what we believe." When I took Systematic Theology in seminary it was 3 semesters of my education. The text book I have on my bookshelf is easy over a thousand pages and is fatter than most of my bibles.

    This book barely breaks 200 pages.

    I think if you're looking for a good "starter" - you found it.

    For once, understanding theology doesn't have to be boring and over your head. Exploring Christian Theology is a "to the point" text that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a refresher, an over view - or perhaps as a "model" for teaching a class in church or school.

    Thank you to Bethany House for this advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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