Full disclosure: I do not publicly label myself an “apologist.” However, in some ways that’s what I am just by virtue of many of the things that I do and say, and there are others who refer to me that way. At times I defend the truth claims of Christianity against criticisms, and at times I offer reasons for thinking that those claims are true. That is what “apologetics” means here. I have my share of problems with the “apologetics culture,” if I can speak of any such thing. But I appreciate the fact that I can separate apologetics per se from the various cultural forms in which it is expressed.
Myron Penner quite openly does not have this appreciation, or indeed much regard at all for the practice of Christian apologetics. What follows is my review of his book where he explains himself. The review is not exhaustive, so there may well be times where somebody reading this review might note “but you didn’t note that Penner says….” I probably did not. But I have read it, and if I didn’t mention it here it’s because I think that what I do say here takes it into account.
Further disclosure: Given some of my reservations about certain aspects of the apologetics culture, I expected that I might find at least a considerable amount of agreement with this book. But I may as well honestly say that I did not. I disagreed with nearly all of it, and also found it disagreeable (those two reactions are quite different from each other).
It was a pleasure to be asked to review The Baker Academic Theological Studies Collection from Logos Software. The bottom line is that this is a tremendous collection to have at your fingertips if you’re a student or teacher of theology, a pastor – or if you’re someone who simply enjoys reading theology of course, we do exist! The works are somewhat academic in tone, but not at the inaccessible end of the scale by any means. The works are published by branches of Baker Books (Baker Academic and Brazos), and if you have experience with these publishing houses you’ll realise that this means they are published to be read by mere mortals.
There are fifteen titles in the collection here so my review I’ll just comment briefly on each book individually, but there’s little doubt (especially since they come as a bundle!) that this collection as a collection presents something of more value than simply a small collection of decent theology books (although it is that).
Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung (ed), A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative “Left Behind” Eschatology (8 authors)
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Christology: A Global Introduction: An Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective
Steven R. Guthrie, Creator Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, The Doctrine of God: A Global Introduction: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Survey
Bruce L. McCormack (ed), Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives (11 authors)
John G. Stackhouse Jr., Evangelical Ecclesiology: Reality or Illusion?
Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger, Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction
Jonathan R. Wilson, God so Loved the World: A Christology for Disciples
Timothy George (ed), God the Holy Trinity: Reflections on Christian Faith and Practice (10 authors)
Nonna Verna Harrison, God’s Many Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation
Bruce L. McCormack (ed), Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges (11 authors)
Kelly M. Kapic and Bruce L. McCormack (ed), Mapping Modern Theology: A Thematic and Historical Introduction (14 authors)
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective
Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine
Hans Boersma, Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition