This introductory theology text explains key concepts in Christian doctrine and shows that doctrine is integrally linked to the practical realities of Christian life. In order to grow into more faithful practitioners of Christianity, we need to engage in the practice of learning doctrine and understanding how it shapes faithful lives. Beth Felker Jones helps students articulate basic Christian doctrines, think theologically so they can act Christianly in a diverse world, and connect Christian thought to their everyday life of faith.
Practicing Christian Doctrine, written from a solidly evangelical yet ecumenically aware perspective, models a way of doing theology that is generous and charitable. It attends to history and contemporary debates and features voices from the global church. Sidebars made up of illustrative quotations, key Scripture passages, classic hymn texts, and devotional poetry punctuate the chapters. The book will benefit professors and students in introductory theology courses as well as theologically interested laity and clergy.
Beth Felker Jones (PhD, Duke University) is associate professor of theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. She is the author of several books, including Touched by a Vampire and Marks of His Wounds: Gender Politics and Bodily Resurrection. She is also a regular columnist for The Christian Century.
Practicing Christian Doctrine is a timely and important reminder that doctrines are not merely ideas to be debated but truths to be done. Jones's evangelical and ecumenical approach to each doctrine is also most welcome: she does a good job balancing the centripetal force of evangelicals' focus on the gospel with the centrifugal force of the gospel's historical reception in many places and times. Practicing Christian Doctrine joins the short list of one-volume introductions to Christian theology that I am happy to recommend.
-Kevin J. Vanhoozer,
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Beth Felker Jones's Practicing Christian Doctrine is a wise, well-written introduction to the wonder and joy of Christian doctrine and to the importance of actually practicing what Christians affirm to be true. I can't think of a better text for introducing Christians to the riches of our theological heritage and to the call to live out that legacy well in the world today.
-Christopher A. Hall,
Beth Felker Jones has written an introductory theology for evangelical Christians that affirms what is praiseworthy about this distinctive movement within Christianity, while at the same time drawing on the rich tradition offered by other voices and movements in the global church to enrich and nurture their understanding of the gospel. Written in an accessible and winsome style, this book will be a valuable teaching tool for years to come.
A good theology text will outline the contours of doctrine with clarity and verve. Jones does an admirable job of this, introducing the rich tradition of Christian thought across the ages and around the globe. However, she goes beyond the 'what' of theology to draw the reader into the 'So what?' with lively reminders of the joy and gratitude that should permeate theological exploration. Perhaps the most helpful feature of this book, though, is that it never loses sight of the 'Now what?' question, as Jones embeds evocative indicators of how Christian thought is to be embodied and lived.
Azusa Pacific University
In Practicing Christian Doctrine, Beth Felker Jones presents a rich and engaging survey of Christian doctrine, showing how good theology is not merely to be believed but also lived. As she demonstrates in each chapter concerning every major doctrine of the faith, orthodox theology should nourish spiritual growth and inspire faithful Christian living. I highly recommend this book, whether as a classroom text or for personal use.
-James S. Spiegel,