Bret James Stewart's Reviews > Christian Theology

Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson
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Erickson has done a reasonably good job with this book. It is an introductory survey of the major topics of systematic theology. On the positive side, he has done a phenomenal job in structuring this book so that it is easy to find information. He has reading questions at the beginning of each section that tell you what you are going to encounter, and he uses headings and sub-heading effectively to break up information into logical groups. His writing style is also approachable and is able to take sometimes highly esoteric matters and refine them so they make sense in the allotted space. As this is a survey, he can only skim the surface. It is difficult to balance the correct depth of information in a survey textbook.

On the negative side, Erickson, although he seems conservative most of the time, sometimes imposes some inaccurate information or conclusions onto the text. The primary issue is he seems to have swallowed the lie that there are two "branches" of Christianity--a conclusion I vehemently oppose. The information is there that the Roman Catholic Church began as an amalgam of various forms of paganism with Christian trappings. Yet, either because he's been taught it and never questioned it or, perhaps, he wants to be PC, Erickson treats the Catholic Church as if it were a viable, legitimate "branch" or form of Christianity. In a similar manner, he also refers to other religions with Christian trappings such as the Mormons, thereby implying their doctrine valid from a Christian perspective. Both the Mormons and Roman Catholics have internally consistent (and sometimes ingenius) doctrines and dogmas. However, these are so far removed from biblical Christianity that they should be (and generally are, at least in the case with the Mormons) considered separate religions. I would not have expected this from Erickson, and it is somewhat disappointing. Such things "poison the well" for me because it makes me think that, if he is wrong in one area, might not he be wrong in others, maybe things I will not recognize. This shatters my trust and makes me feel I should question everything he says.

I give him a so-so rating. The book is not throwaway, but should be read more critically than you would expect for a Christian survey.
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October 31, 2013 – Shelved

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message 1: by Diana (new) - added it

Diana Zan What is Erickson thought you disagree?

Bret James Stewart Diana wrote: "What is Erickson thought you disagree?"

Hi, Diana,

Thank you for the response. Unfortunately, I am not sure what you are asking. If you would restate the question, I will be happy to respond. I am leaving for work, so I cannot reply immediately.

Bret James Stewart

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