Systematic Theology Workshop

This is an electronic workshop space for Systematic Theology. It offers a limited collection of texts and articles which are designed to accomplish two goals. First, they help to solidify an understanding of the core theological loci. Secondly, they provide resources on how one might work with these within various cultural contexts.

Most links connect you to scanned, published books and articles made available by Google Books (often 75% of content). Importantly, Google Books allows you to search within a volume and also across volumes (rather than across the entire WWW). The Google Book Project also makes hard to find and expensive monographs readily accessible to researchers. This Reading Room collects those relevant materials on one page.

NB: For screen snapshots, bibliographic management and notetaking while reading this page, Zotero is highly recommended ("a free, easy-to-use Mozilla Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources")


Grenz, Stanley. Theology for the Community of God
Grenz's work provides an excellent discussion of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. It was chosen for inclusion in this workshop because it is one of the few works of this nature to attempt to engage theology in a postmodern world.

Grenz, Stanley and John Franke. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context

McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Third edition. Blackwell, 2001; A good overview of the core Christian doctrines deeply rooted in the larger history of the Church.

McGrath, Alister. The Christian Theology Reader; 2nd edition. Blackwell, 2001;
McGrath provides a collection of primary source readings on all of the core doctrines. The readings for each doctrine cover the span of the Church's reflections over the centuries. We recommend that you use this as a companion to Grenz as well as McGrath's Christian Theology. Read a doctrine in Grenz or McGrath and then supplement that with these historical source readings. So while Grenz engages the current world, the McGrath readings will keep us rooted in the larger story of the Church.

Gunton, Colin. The Practice of Theology: A Reader
A reliable complement to both Theology for the Community and Beyond Foundationalism, Gunton provides a good cross-section of primary source readings from across the history of the Church. While the focus of the Reader is limited, looking at such questions as authority, epistemology and hermeneutics, when carefully used to supplement and root the other two books, it helps prepare the student to be an effective theologian in our current pluralistic world.

Gunton, Colin. The Promise of Trinitarian Theology
Engaging the question of God is central to how we see the self, the nature and mission of the Church and spiritual formation. Gunton provides us with a rich, rooted understanding of this question. While a challenging read, this work has the potential to open us up to a a whole new way of life and worship. Without a solid understanding of who God is, mission lacks a foundation.

Volf, Miroslav. After Our Likeness. The Church as the Image of the Trinity.
Volf's work offers a very helpful discussion of the relationship of God and the nature and mission of the Church. Framing the work within the context of a postmodern world adds to its richness. Read with Grenz, Gunton and the sections of the McGrath Reader, this book will raise significant questions and stimulate with engagement.

Background Reading for New Theologians

Olson, Roger and Adam English. Pocket History of Theology
A good, concise book which helps the reader place people and ideas in their context. For someone new to studying theology this would be a good starting point.

Olson, Roger and Christopher Hall. The Trinity
This book is a basic introduction to this foundational doctrine. It provides a good survey to how the theology has developed as it has encountered new questions and contexts. For those with little theological background, it serves as a good starting point.

The following three reference books are essential starting points for any serious research.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology Walter Ellwell, ed. Baker, 1996 (Full text available on-line).

Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology, T. Larsonm, ed. 2007; This is one volume of an excellent series.

Westiminster Dictionary of Christian Theology. Alan Richardson and John Bowden, ed. Westminster, 1983 (very good; check mirror edition A New Dictionary of Christian Theology. SCM-Canterbury, 1983; full-text available as Tyndale eBook - NetLibrary).

Selected Readings

Gunton, Colin. "Historical and Systematic Theology," in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, pp. 3-20.

Gunton, Colin. "The Doctrine of Creation," in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine pp. 141-157

Migliore, Daniel. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. Chapter 3 "The Authority of Scripture"

Placher, William. The Domestication of Transcendence: How Modern Thinking about God Went Wrong, Chapter 2: "Aquinas on the Unknowable God,"

Nazianzen, Gregory Oration 28: 3-4