Cover image for The story of Christian theology : twenty centuries of tradition & reform
The story of Christian theology : twenty centuries of tradition & reform
Olson, Roger E.
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Publication Information:
Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
652 pages ; 23 cm
Critics & cultists cause confusion -- The Apostolic fathers explain the way -- The Apologists defend the faith -- Irenaeus exposes heresies -- North African thinkers examine philosophy -- Origen of Alexandria leaves a troubling legacy -- Cyprian of Carthage promotes unity -- Christianity gets its act together -- Alexandrians argue about the Son of God -- The Church responds at the Council of Nicaea -- Athanasius stubbornly keeps the faith -- The Cappadocian fathers settle the issue.

The schools of Antioch & Alexandria clash over Christ -- Nestorius & Cyril bring the controversy to a head -- Chalcedon protects the mystery -- Fallout from the conflict continues -- Augustine confesses God's glory & human depravity -- The western church becomes Roman Catholic -- The eastern church becomes Eastern Orthodox -- The Great Schism creates two traditions out on one -- Anselm & Abelard speculate about God's way -- Thomas Aquinas summarizes Christian truth -- Nominalists, reformers & humanists challenge the scholastic synthesis.

Luther rediscovers the gospel & divides the church -- Zwingli & Calvin organize protestant thought -- Anabaptists go back to the roots of Christianity -- Rome & Canterbury go separate but parellel ways -- Arminians attempt to reform reformed theology -- Pietists seek to renew Lutheran theology -- Puritans & Methodists struggle to revive English theology -- Deists try to transform protestant theology -- Liberal theology accommodates to modern culture -- Conservative theology hardens traditional categories -- Neo-orthodoxy transcends the divide -- Contemporary theology struggles with diversity.
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BT21.2 .O57 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Voted a 2000 Book of the Year by Christianity Today!Winner of a year 2000 ECPA Gold Medallion Award!History is made up of stories--narratives that recount the events, movements, ideas and lives that have shaped religions and nations. Theologian Roger Olson believes that the history of Christian theology should be told as such a story, one replete with thick plots, exciting twists, interesting people and fascinating ideas.In this panoramic work of historical theology Olson vividly recounts the deeds and words of the cultists and apostolic fathers of the second century, the clash between the theological schools of Alexandria and Antioch, the epochal division between East and West, the revolutionary advent of the Reformation and much more, right on up to the dazzling, sometimes dismaying fallout that has continued to shake Christians through the twentieth century. Through it all Olson detects and traces a common thread: a concern for salvation--God's redemptive activity in forgiving and transforming sinful human beings.Evenhanded, refreshingly readable, impressive in its breadth and depth, The Story of Christian Theology is poised to become a standard historical theology text.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Olson (theology, Bethel Col., MN) provides an introductory overview of the development of Christian thought from the earliest days of Christianity to the present. The story is largely about Christian interaction with, or reaction to, Greek and Enlightenment philosophies in the development of Christian doctrines and denominations. The book is not, however, just another dry recitation of facts; it is a story of ideas, conflicts, and controversy--a story of the struggle between tradition and reform, between church and state. The drama includes elements not only of faith and conviction, but also of corruption, oppression, and raw displays of political power and force. While no history is entirely objective, Olson strives hard to be fair in his presentation, often pointing out the positive and misunderstood elements in groups that have traditionally been vilified. This book is fascinating and well written, and it shows evidence of serious scholarship. Highly recommended, especially for general readers and all student levels. D. Ingolfsland; Bryan College

Table of Contents

Abbreviations & General Information for Readers
Introduction: Christian Theology as Story
Part I The Opening Act: Conflicting Christian Visions in the Second Century
1 Critics & Cultists Cause Confusion
2 The Apostolic Fathers Explain the Way
3 The Apologists Defend the Faith
4 Irenaeus Exposes Heresies
Part II The Plot Thickens: Third-Century Tensions & Transformations
5 North African Thinkers Examine Philosophy
6 Origen of Alexandria Leaves a Troubling Legacy
7 Cyprian of Carthage Promotes Unity
8 Christianity Gets Its Act Together
Part III A Great Crisis Rocks the Church: The Controversy About the Trinity
9 Alexandrians Argue About the Son of God
10 The Church Responds at the Council of Nicea
11 Athanasius Stubbornly Keeps the Faith
12 The Cappadocian Fathers Settle the Issue
Part IV Another Crisis Shakes the Church: The Conflict Over the Person of Christ
13 The Schools of Antioch & Alexandria Clash over Christ
14 Nestorius & Cyril Bring the Controversy to a Head
15 Chalcedon Protects the Mystery
16 Fallout from the Conflict Continues
Part V A Tale of Two Churches: The Great Tradition Divides Between East & West
17 Augustine Confesses God's Glory & Human Depravity
18 The Western Church Becomes Roman Catholic
19 The Eastern Church Becomes Eastern Orthodox
20 The Great Schism Creates Two Traditions Out of One
Part VI The Saga of the Queen of Sciences: Scholastics Revive & Enthrone Theology
21 Anselm & Abelard Speculate About God's Ways
22 Thomas Aquinas Summarizes Christian Truth
23 Nominalists, Reformers & Humanists Challenge the Scholastic Synthesis
Part VII A New Twist in the Narratives: The Western Church Reforms & Divides
24 Luther Rediscovers the Gospel & Divides the Church
25 Zwingli & Calvin Organize Protestant Thought
26 Anabaptists Go Back to the Roots of Christianity
27 Rome & Canterbury Go Separate But Parallel Ways
Part VIII The Center of the Story Falls Apart: Protestants Follow Diverse Paths
28 Arminians Attempt to Reform Reformed Theology
29 Pietists Seek to Renew Lutheran Theology
30 Puritans & Methodists Struggle to Revive English Theology
31 Deists Try to Transform Protestant Theology
Part IX The Overall Plots Divides: Liberals & Conservatives Respond to Modernity
32 Liberal Theology Accommodates to Modern Culture
33 Conservative Theology Hardens Traditional Categories
34 Neo-Orthodoxy Transcends the Divide
35 Contemporary Theology Struggles with Diversity
Conclusion: The Unfinished Story & Its Future