Systematic Theology: In One Volume
Overall good book
While I buy books from authors I donÃ¢ÂÂt necessarily agree with, I do like to know where an author stands before buying. It would be helpful if all sellersÃ¢ÂÂ descriptions of books revealed this, but they donÃ¢ÂÂt want to turn off a potential buyer by giving too much information. I look to reviews to fill the gap. So, FYI for those not familiar with Geisler, here is a summary of his position on a few key topics.
Biblically he holds firmly to inerrancy.
He is generally dispensational in a broad sense, but not usually overly dogmatically so.
With regard to the gifts of the Holy Spirit he is a cessationist.
Though he classifies himself as a Ã¢ÂÂmoderate CalvinistÃ¢ÂÂ on soteriology, he is really a classical Arminian (not Wesleyan) who believes in eternal security.
On creation he holds to the basic theistic view of creation, ands discusses the issues of theistic evolution and young-earth v. old-earth, but doesnÃ¢ÂÂt come down to a firm position, other than that man must be a special creation.
With regard to eschatology, he leans toward the dispensational pre-trib position, but leaves a lot of room for other views.
The book is organized into eight parts covering major areas of theology. Within each part are chapters deals with subtopics. Within the chapters will be found philosophical discussion, the positions of the church fathers, an analysis of the different views on a subject (including non-orthodox views), Biblical passages which deal with the topic.
Generally Geisler fairly presents all views on a subject and then presents his own conclusions. This can be uneven as he may sometimes oversimplify or misrepresent a view, but he does as well as can be expected given our humanity. His arguments are generally well reasoned regardless of whether you agree with him or not. He is a clear writer. The nature of the work is technical, but it is still readable. Charts and tables are helpfully used to summarize comparisons of positions.
While the work is definitely a systematic theology, as noted above, it also contains helpful elements of philosophical theology, historical theology, biblical theology, and comparative theology.
In the section on God (theology proper), you will not find the expected sections on Christology or Pneumatology. Also many topics under these headings wonÃ¢ÂÂt even show up in the index. ItÃ¢ÂÂs not that Geisler doesnÃ¢ÂÂt discuss these topics. The information is in there, but itÃ¢ÂÂs hard to find. For example, I tried to find his discussion of the hypostatic union of the natures of Christ and I just canÃ¢ÂÂt find it, even though I am pretty sure it is in there someplace.
As a philosopher, metaphysics is GeislerÃ¢ÂÂs strong suite, but it can also be his weakness. He sometimes tends to put more emphasis and weight on metaphysical arguments than may be warranted. Just as math breaks down when we perform operations that involve infinite values (e.g. dividing by 0 or comparing infinity with infinity plus 1), so metaphysical logic can go astray when applied to the infinite and eternal. I believe occasionally Geisler falls into this trap. He also can make metaphysical assumptions that create blind spots when dealing with opposing views.
Perhaps my biggest issue with Geisler is around topics that involve the Calvinist/Arminian debate. He defines Arminianism as everything that isnÃ¢ÂÂt Calvinism, including many views which are distinctly contrary to classical Arminianism. He also includes within Ã¢ÂÂCalvinismÃ¢ÂÂ every position found the Articles of Remonstrance, except the doubt regarding eternal security of the believer. This may be a popular misunderstanding of the two systems, but it should be inexcusable for a graduate of two year Bible school, let alone a recognized scholar in the fields of metaphysics and theology. Both Arminians and Calvinists will find this extremely frustrating, and it detracts from what is otherwise an extremely good analysis of the actual questions involved.
That being said, I gained a number of extremely useful insights from this book, and I will continue to refer to it and recommend it.
November 4, 2013
This product is excellent for Theological Studies
I think this piece of work should be in every bible teacher's (and student) library as an excellent reference on the cardinal doctrines of the faith.
May 27, 2013
Don't Agree with everything, but a great Resource
This is a great resource to own. I come from a moderate pentecostal viewpoint, so I disagree strongly with his cessationist view; but this book provides a well argued opinion in that direction to compare with. I also strongly disagree with is conclusions on creation and slightly on soteriology, but I use this book frequently for papers and would highly recommend it. (quality wise it had stiff and slightly distorted pages suggesting light water damage to its entirety)
July 27, 2012
Geisler's Systematic Theology One Vol - Excellent
Geisler's Systematic Theology in One Volume is a terrific resource and deserves a respectable space in the library of students and teachers of the Scripture and Theology. This volume is worthy of accolades for three reasons. First, the content is satisfyingly substantial. While not unduly technical, it is unquestionably rich in scholarly depth and historical breadth. Second, the presentation and style, being vintage Geisler, makes the weighty content highly accessible and very usable! Few have the ability to order such complex concepts and truths in such logical and understandable ways as Geisler. Third, the quality and workmanship of the book itself is arguably the highest available. The affordability of this product is surprising considering the rich quality of the materials used and excellent printing employed. Indeed, the substantial content, the accessible layout and usability of the material, and the level of excellence in this product all make it a deserving resource for Bible students and teachers everywhere!
July 11, 2012