Systematic Theology (Letham)

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9781433541308
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Crossway
Pages:
1072
Binding:
Hardcover
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This comprehensive systematic theology by a respected theologian covers the whole field of Reformed Christian doctrine from biblical, historical, and theological angles. It seeks to provide a clear and concise articulation of the Reformed faith rooted in the historic creeds while addressing current issues such as feminism, charismatic gifts, sexual ethics, environmentalism, other religions, the nature of truth, and civil liberties. Intended to be used as a textbook, this single-volume systematic theology is well-suited for our world today, interacting not only with the biblical text but also with the history of Christian doctrine, current cultural challenges to the Bible’s teaching, and the daily experiences of regular Christians.


Contents

Acknowledgements
Permissions
Abbreviations
Introduction

Part 1: The Triune God       

1. The Revelation of God    
2. The Trinity: Biblical Basis  
3. The Trinity: Church Formulation            
4. The Trinity: Ongoing Questions           
5. The Attributes of God  

Part 2: The Word of God

6. The Doctrine of Scripture             
7. Scripture and Tradition                      
8. The Interpretation of Scripture        

Part 3: The Works of God

9. Creation    
10. Providence                                        

Part 4: The Image of God

11. Humanity in Creation    
12. Humanity in Covenant    
13. Humanity in Sin   

Part 5: The Covenant of God

14. Election and the Counsel of Redemption    
15. The Covenant of Grace         

Part 6: Christ, the Son of God   

16. Incarnation: Biblical Teaching    
17. Incarnation: Church Formulations     
18. Incarnation: Ongoing Questions   
19. Christ Our Great High Priest   
20. Christ Our King   

Part 7: The Spirit of God and the People of God

21. Union with Christ    
22. Salvation and the Church                        
23. The Beginning of the Christian Life: Regeneration and Effectual Calling  
24. The Beginning of the Christian Life: Justification
25. The Progress of the Christian Life: Adoption, Assurance, Sanctification   
26. The Progress of the Christian Life: The Lord’s Supper and Theōsis
27. The Church and Its Offices       

Part 8: The Ultimate Purposes of God    

28. The Future
29. The Parousia and the Resurrection    
30. The Final Judgment and Hell      
31. The Life of the World to Come   

Appendix 1:Main Interpretations of Genesis 1
Appendix 2: Historic Creeds
Glossary
Bibliography
Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index

 

Author

Robert Letham (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of systematic and historical theology at Union School of Theology. A Presbyterian minister with twenty-five years of pastoral experience, he is the author of books such as The Work of Christ; The Holy Trinity; and Union with Christ, and a range of articles published in encyclopedias and journals.

 

Endorsements

“In this impressive systematic theology, Robert Letham sets before us the ripe fruit of a long career of devoted scholarship. He does so with clarity, confidence, and thoughtful judgment. The result is an elixir drawn from Scripture into which he has carefully stirred ingredients from Patristic orthodoxy, medieval theology, and Reformation and post-Reformation confessionalism. These are judiciously mixed by a theologian conscious that he is writing for the twenty-first century. Systematic Theology is Letham’s personal bequest to the church of Jesus Christ. A magnum opus indeed—which students, ministers, and scholars will find to be a real stimulation to their theological taste buds!”

-  Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries

“This is a first-class volume, impressively erudite, yet eminently readable. Scrupulously biblical, but at the same time recognizing the value of Christian tradition, it draws extensively, but judiciously, on the insights of the early church fathers, the Reformed confessions, and federal theology, while remaining in constant dialogue with the world of contemporary theological scholarship. The overall organization reflects Letham’s independence of judgment, and the end product is not only a Reformed systematic theology of enduring value but also an encyclopedic reference work for both historical and systematic theology. Unsurpassed in its field.”

-  Donald Macleod, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Edinburgh Theological Seminary; author, A Faith to Live By; The Person of Christ; and Christ Crucified

“Robert Letham has blessed us with a systematic theology that is sure to stimulate reflection, discussion, and deeper understanding of both the Holy Scriptures and the church’s interpretations of them to formulate its theology over the last two millennia. One does not need to agree with every detail of Letham’s magnum opus to realize that here is a treasure house of Christian wisdom on the whole counsel of God that will inform your mind and move your heart and affections to serve your Savior and Lord more single-mindedly and zealously than ever before.”

-  Joel R. Beeke, President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; Pastor, Heritage Reformed Congregation, Grand Rapids, Michigan; author, Reformed Preaching

“Robert Letham writes systematic theology as it should be written. His work is marked by a careful dialogue between the Bible and the great creedal and confessional traditions of the church, always aided and abetted by a panoply of great theologians from the past and the present. This work is marked by clarity of thought and ecumenicity of spirit. Here we have the full fruits of a lifetime of thinking theologically.”

-  Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College

“Robert Letham’s Systematic Theology is located within the great tradition of Christian theology, drawing upon Patristic, medieval, Reformational, and contemporary sources. Letham keeps his focus where it belongs—upon the unfathomable richness of the triune God in his being and works. He expounds difficult topics in simple, concise prose, yet without being simplistic. Where Letham occasionally offers fresh formulations of doctrinal topics, he invariably does so in a way that is respectful toward more traditional treatments. Theologians, students of theology, and church members alike will find Letham’s work a wonderful gift to the church.”

-  Cornelis P. Venema, President and Professor of Doctrinal Studies, Mid-America Reformed Seminary; author, The Promise of the Future; Accepted and Renewed in Christ; and Chosen in Christ

“A systematic theology written from a classical Reformed perspective that takes a fresh approach and aims to reach an audience not schooled in the technical terminology of the discipline—it is a tall order, but Robert Letham has triumphed with a text that is both readable and reliable. Not only pastors and students but also ordinary churchgoers will grow in their faith as they study a book with such depth and clarity of vision. A masterpiece.”

-  Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, History, and Doctrine, Beeson Divinity School; author, God Is Love and God Has Spoken

“Robert Letham has produced a substantial Reformed systematic theology which is not so much multum in parvo as multum in magno. He starts with the doctrine of God and the Holy Trinity rather than with the necessity and sufficiency of special revelation. In this sense it may be said that he stresses the catholicity of Reformed doctrine and does justice to the place of natural theology in it, reflecting his own Trinitarian expertise. Letham’s style is not only clear but also fair-minded, giving space to alternative views. Letham is good at the big doctrinal pictures and sensitive to the need to drill down at particular points. He judges between central and peripheral issues. He is to be warmly congratulated on this new book.”

-  Paul Helm, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies Emeritus, King’s College, London

“Robert Letham writes as no novitiate but as one who has given his life to understanding and explaining the Christian faith, addressing not only theologians and pastors but also the intelligent man and woman in the pew. I appreciate his contextualized treatment of topics, particularly his appropriation of historical figures often absent in confessionally Reformed approaches to theology. One may differ with him here or there, but I appreciate what he brings to many difficult matters, offering correctives to certain tendencies that even good Reformed thinkers might indulge. It is good to have one so thoroughly conversant with the history of the church, as well as the Bible, to write a systematic theology that resonates for our times as does this one. I heartily commend this new work to all. Tolle lege!

-  Alan D. Strange, Professor of Church History, Mid-America Reformed Seminary; author, The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge and The Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ in the Westminster Standards

“Robert Letham’s Systematic Theology is the fruit of demanding exegetical work wrapped in a deep appreciation for all the great theology that God has provided for his people through ecumenical creeds and doctrinal standards. It is meant to be faithful to the past and grandly succeeds in that intention. While Letham clearly embeds his theology in properly understood church tradition, he is not afraid to address current theological trends. The text is exceptionally well written, easily comprehended, massively researched, and a drink of cool water for those thirsting for more of God and his word.”

-  Richard C. Gamble, Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Systematic Theology tells the story of the gospel and brings it to bear on Christian faith and life. This fresh approach is catholic in its scope and distinctly Reformed in its teaching. It is refreshingly nonpolemic, taking the best of the entire Christian tradition with great charity and deep discernment. The fact that I do not agree with everything in the book is part of what makes studying a systematic theology like this so humbling. We are pilgrims on the path to glory, walking in communion with the triune God and longing to see Christ as he is. Letham’s work persuasively and winsomely helps us along this path.”

-  Ryan M. McGraw, Morton H. Smith Professor of Systematic Theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

“I enthusiastically welcome the publication of this volume by Robert Letham. Keenly informed by the richness of his own Reformed tradition, Systematic Theology engages the best of Christian thought—Patristic, medieval, Reformation, modern, and contemporary—on a deep and fruitful level. There is nothing parochial about this book; reading it will be a joyous education for students and pastors. It deserves a wide audience among Reformed Christians and beyond.”

-  William B. Evans, Younts Professor of Bible and Religion, Erskine College; author, Imputation and Impartation and A Companion to the Mercersburg Theology

“Robert Letham writes with a teacher’s knack for illustration, a preacher’s liveliness and warmth, and a scholar’s breadth—all of these in exemplary service to what certain Reformers called ‘prophecy’: the powerful conveyance of the word of God that enlivens and purifies the saints’ worship. Extended throughout these chapters is the doctrine of union with Christ. Letham’s Protestant account of theosis near the end of the volume, articulated as a perfecting of this union, not only culminates his book-long engagement with Eastern Orthodox authors and traditions but also goes a long way in addressing the need felt by many young evangelicals for thicker connection to early-church formulations and writings. Avoiding easy answers at every turn, Letham’s contagious enthusiasm for the simple genius of the Christian tradition will inspire readers to live, believe, and preach Scripture more earnestly and fully.”

-  Andrew Keuer, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Greek Bible College