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To Know and Love God: Method for Theology (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) [Paperback]

By David K. Clark (Author) & John S. Feinberg (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   464
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.99" Width: 6.12" Height: 1.16"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2003
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1581344848  
EAN  9781581344844  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...

It is the job of all believers, not just theologians, to serve God by discerning what is true about the crucial issues of life. Our task is to learn more about God. Our privilege is to love God passionately with our minds. Clearly then, spiritual life must have theology as one of its ingredients, but this, by itself, will not guarantee a vibrant spiritual life. Rather, evangelicals must link a theological experience and an experiential theology. Knowing and loving God are both necessary.

David Clark explains how evangelical systematic theology is structured and how this discipline assists believers in understanding God more fully and worshipping him more completely. To do so, he uses strategies of analytical philosophy to reveal the nature, purposes, methods, and limits of evangelical systematic theology. He attempts to speak both to and for evangelicals, with the goal of showing how a reasonable, articulate, and credible evangelical theology can proceed.

Other questions are raised while trying to define evangelical systematic theology: Is systematic theology a legitimate intellectual enterprise? How does theology build upon the teachings of the Bible? How can evangelical theologians in different cultures assist each other? How does theology contribute to transforming society? What does the existence of other religions mean for evangelical theology? How does systematic theology relate to other intellectual disciplines? How does it connect with the life of the church? What are the purposes and the final goal of systematic theology? The answers to these questions are not ends in themselves, but assist believers in attaining the goal of knowing and loving God.

Asserting that evangelical systematic theology is the science by which evangelical believers learn of God, Clark claims that the insights of apparently contradictory viewpoints can and should be drawn together. He works past the false dilemmas, imprecision, overstatement, inferences, and generalizations that often cloud theological discussion and arrives at clear definitions, precise distinctions, careful analysis, and modest conclusions.

Clark argues that evangelical systematic theology is rooted in the Bible and focused on Christ. Good theology provides vision, fosters wisdom, and nurtures covenantal relationship with God. Good theology leads to knowing and loving God.

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More About David K. Clark & John S. Feinberg

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David K. Clark (PhD, Northwestern University) is vice president and dean at Bethel Seminary. He has served as a pastor and taught theology and philosophy for many years. David has written numerous journal articles, essays, and books.

John S. Feinberg (PhD, University of Chicago) is department chair and professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of Ethics for a Brave New World (with Paul D. Feinberg) and is general editor of Crossway's Foundations of Evangelical Theology series.

David K. Clark currently resides in St. Paul, in the state of Minnesota.

David K. Clark has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Foundations of Evangelical Theology
  2. Readings in Christian Ethics

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology   [1535  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Clark provides the foundation for doing evangelical systematic theolgy  Dec 15, 2006
In this book Dr. Clark gives what I think he means to be a tool for developing an evangelical systematic theology. He describes how theology should interact with culture, literary criticism, science, theology, spirituality, etc. The underlying message in all of this is twofold. First, there is the idea that theology has to do with the real world. It is not something that operates within a separate sphere of knowledge from science or literary criticism. It makes claims both about the way the world is, and it makes claims about the way we are, our spirituality and our rationality. This not because theology transcends the barrier between faith and reason, but because there is no barrier between faith and reason. In other words, Clark repudiates claims by those like Karl Barth who say that we have the real world, and then we have the faith world. In Clark's theology, there is but one world, a fully integrated world.

The second underlying idea, perhaps the more noticeable of the two (as this one is explicitly stated, while the first lies latent in his work) is that goal of theology is not simply to gain knowledge, but to gain wisdom. Dr. Clark says that "evangelical theology us not merely scientia. More fundamentally, it is scientia directed towards the purposes of sapientia." But what exactly is wisdom? Dr. Clark informs us that wisdom is "knowledge directed towards knowing and loving God personally. It is information applied for the purpose of transformation."

So then, we have come to the main point of the book. Theology exists and should be pursued so that we may know and love God, hence the title of the book. Dr. Clark is not especially kind towards those theologians who live in their ivory towers and who approach theology as if it were another science. He wants to see results, not because he is a pragmatist, but because theology without application is useless, just as faith without deeds is useless. If we are not going to apply to our own lives the theological knowledge we gain, then all we have done is in vain, for it does us no good. Simply having knowledge about God and His ways is not going to sanctify us if we are not loving God more as a result of our knowledge.

Again, Dr. Clark's view of a unified realm of knowledge can be seen in his idea of the application of theology. Theology, usually looked upon as belonging to the faith realm, is expected to be applied to what many (most?) people would call the fact realm, the realm in which we actually live. This idea of an unified real of knowledge can be seen by looking at any one of Dr. Clark's chapters on theology and some other area of life.

Take for example his chapter on theology and the sciences. In this chapter he discussed the rationality of doing Christian theology as opposed to the rationality of doing scientific investigations. He notes that people usually suppose that the sciences come to definite, undeniable conclusions as a result of logical reasoning, while the Christian faith is not only a-logical, but often is viewed as illogical because people assume that it goes against reason. In fact, Christians are usually looked upon as being opposed to science, and even going so far as attempting to suppress scientific discovery. This is, unfortunately, often true in today's churches, but it was not true at the time of Galileo, nor is it a position supported either by the Bible or by sound theology.

Dr. Clark goes on to refute the claim that science and theology are at war, as well as the claim that science and theology have nothing to do with each other. He concludes that theology is neither irrational nor a-rational, but rather it is a rational discipline, though not rationalistic. Science, far from simply giving us undeniable theories, is often hijacked by opposing worldviews, who manipulate its theories through a desire for science to conform to their presuppositions. True science, then, gives us knowledge of the same realm of knowledge as theology does. They are not at war, nor separated from each other, but rather they are complimentary. They aid each other in the quest for knowledge, with science seeking knowledge of the physical world, and theology seeking to know the implications of the physical world upon its ideas of God and His ways. Science should be contributing to our theology, not take away from it. Studying the wonders of God's creation only heightens both our knowledge and love of Him.

In conclusion, Dr. Clark's book is incredibly helpful in understanding the foundations of theology (how scripture informs our theology), how theology interacts with other areas of life (both mental and spiritual), and, most importantly, it emphasizes the true goal of theology as being to know and love God. Without this as one's goal in doing theology, it is likely that one's theology will end up dead and lifeless, like the theology of the classical liberalists.

Overall grade: A

P.S. I would like to mention that Dr. Clark seems to be a bit of a Calvinist, and this shows up in a few areas when he discusses the rational foundations for faith. I disagree with him sometimes when he gets into this, but it is an excellent book nonetheless.
A great service for educated laypeople!  May 30, 2004
David Clark provides a comprehensive framework for integrating orthodox theology with other sources of knowledge. A roadmap for developing an integrated Christian worldview, with theology at the heart.

Non-theologians will find Clark's respect for other disciplines refreshing. General and special revelation cannot conflict. Thus, Clark's philosophy of theology responds to the questions raised by the natural sciences. Yet the book maintains the quiet confidence that Scripture provides superior knowledge of God, and that Biblical theology will always be the Queen of the Sciences.

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