Introduction to Theology

Article excerpt

Introduction to Theology. By Owen C. Thomas and Ellen K. Wondra. Third edition. Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse, 2002. vii + 371 pp. $25.95 (paper).

The third edition of this introductory textbook serves its stated purpose well: it provides a useful resource for seminary students and those who teach them (p. vii). In twenty chapters, Thomas and Wondra provide competent, often illuminating instruction about the major topics (loci) investigated by Christian systematic theology. I have some quibbles about the topics that they choose and the order in which they discuss them (why are there separate chapters on Trinity and God, and why do the chapters on revelation and authority precede those about almost every other topic, including Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the church?). Generally, the authors follow a pattern that will be familiar to readers of earlier editions, which is based on Hookers triad (Scripture, tradition, reason). For each topic, they first survey the testimony of Scripture and tradition. They then discuss contemporary theology, in order to ground a constructive "reinterpretation" of the relevant doctrines. Without sacrificing ecumenical breadth, they highlight doctrines and figures that will be of special interest to Anglicans, such as Temple and Hooker. Additional resources for students and teachers include discussion questions for each chapter and a select bibliography, organized by topic.

Despite some omissions (for example, no mention of Rowan Williams and only a single reference to David Tracy), this new edition is admirable for its attempt to take account of more recent theological work. …