Though this is not a typical book that I’ve review on Christianity Explained, I felt a need to write a review of this book. Don’t let the title fool you and scare you! I examined certain areas and can see that Wayne Grudem did not write Systematic Theology 2nd Edition to scare people. It’s written in plain ordinary English. Yet, you’ll be surprised at who this gentleman is.
Who is this guy? Here’s what I found on the book page on Amazon.
Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is distinguished research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books.Amazon’s About the Author
That is not all. I did some digging before following through on the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This man was a friend of John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Movement and a Charismatic theologian. You could say that this man has some things in common with Dr. Michael Brown. I found this out on a video interview that he did with Remnant Radio’s YouTube channel.
Who is this book really for? I, for one would not dump this 3,251-page book on a new Christian. I’ll be lucky if I can get out of firing range! Though the book is an interesting and easy read, Systematic Theology definitely contain a lot of meat. Who is it for, then? Why am I bothering with it?
On the surface, you may think it is a great book for students studying Biblical theology and Doctrines of the Bible. It’s certainly does fill that role. I suspect seminary students will appreciate a book that is easy on the eyes and not steeped in theological jargons that is not immediately understood. However, they are not the only target audience.
Here’s what Wayne Grudem created in writing Systematic Theology. It’s a virtual reference library. In my initial investigation, I found it easy to investigate a wide range of topics. I deliberately picked on Church government because of certain contemporary hot button issues. I appreciate the fact that Wayne covered both the traditional meaning of “Apostles” and the more contemporary use of “apostles”.
In my diving into this topic, I am gratified to see that Wayne does teach that the gifts of the Spirit are for today and points to both Scripture and history. Yes, he does believe that women should act in their role of prophets. What about women pastors, he would disagree but he’s not dogmatic. For him, it is not a primary issue.
I, for one am an egalitarian Christian and do appreciate his tact. If I was one of his students, I’m sure that it would have been enjoyable and not a contentious battle. I’m sure that I’d have appreciated the challenge to keep the whole Word of God central to my thinking.
I’ve no problem recommending this book to people called into the office of the pastors or teacher. Again, it is not meant to be dived in and get filled with head knowledge. Rather, you’re supposed to examine what is being said about a specific topic or range of topic.
Since some people are overly sensitive, the man is pro-women and hates the abuses done to Christian women because of what is said in the Bible. Wayne made that pretty clear in his discussion on women as pastors.
There is another target audience that should really buy this book. Are you called into an online Christian ministry? Such an online ministry is not limited to a Christian website like “Got Questions? – The Bible has Answers“. It’s a Bible Apologetic site dedicated to answering questions related to Christianity. How about Christian blog sites, Christian podcasters and Christian YouTubers.
God has called many Christians into starting a variety of online Christian ministry. Oddly enough, we are not all involved in Christian Apologetics. I, for one seldomly deal with that. My focus is on sharing the love of God; as expressed through the Son, Jesus. I know of a Christian YouTuber who focus on American culture.
Yet, there is a problem and it’s one I’ve had to deal with myself. We are not all trained Bible students and we have to struggle with how to answer certain questions. Some people have gotten into the bad habit of attacking other people. Yet, they never bother to provide solutions for those seeking answers to their own problems.
Do you know that Wayne Grudem is a professor who got off his butt and provided a solution to a community that he likely didn’t know needed his help. What am I talking about? Systematic Theology 2nd Edition is not just a treasure trove for the apologetic community. Wayne included a subject index that covers a wide range of topics.
What topics? I was hoping to see something related specifically to depression or inner healing. Though I couldn’t find it in the extensive subject index, my Kindle Fire tablet came to the rescue! I did a search and found some specific references to these topics. Thankfully, Wayne Grudem does point to additional resources that can help.
As I continue to scan through this wonderful book, I’m finding all kinds of useful nuggets. Some of it will surprise you. For instance, Wayne had no problem saying that John MacArthur was out of line in his Strange Fire book. Yet, he’ll thank John for pointing out the serious problems. His writing tone was both gracious and firm. Go Wayne!
Here’s another useful feature of this book and it’s the main reason that it is popular with seminary students. The purpose of a good Systematic Theology book is for you to learn what the whole Bible says about God, the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. You’ll also learn about other main areas that are core to the Christian faith.
As always, I strongly recommend that you talk to God about what you’re reading or hearing in this book or elsewhere. Wayne Grudem is a wonderfully insightful teacher and writer. However, Wayne is not the Holy Spirit. Wayne is simply a gifted servant doing his best to help you and me. For this reason, it is always a good idea to seek God and listen to what Jesus is saying.