Monday, December 17, 2007

Top 10 Systematic Theology Books We Read in 2007 by Matt Stephan and Katie Byron

10. Theology for the Community of God—Stanley Grenz: A great and exhaustive overview of Evangelical systematic theology, based on the premise that the Kingdom of God is manifested through community. Everyone should own a copy of this book.

9. In Our Image—Miroslav Volf: A free church ecclesiology developed over and against Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology (Zizouilas) and Catholic ecclesiology (Ratzinger), and in dialogue with feminist ecclesiology that seeks to give proper place to both individual and community, thus reflecting the trinity.

8. Jesus and Judas—Ray Anderson: An imaginary conversation between Jesus and Judas in the time after the resurrection when, according to Matthew, many of the saints rose from the dead, which demonstrates that Jesus' selection of us as disciples is stronger than our rejection of him as Lord.

7. The Mediation of Christ—Thomas Torrance: In assuming the role of Israel, argues Torrance, Jesus performed the divine role(s) of revelation and reconciliation through a two-fold movement of bringing God to earth and humanity to heaven.

6. God of the Oppressed—James Cone: In arguably Cone's most influential work, he continues to develop his thesis of what it means to be black and Christian, culminating in the theodic argument that God is on the side of the oppressed.

5. Most Moved Mover—Clark Pinnock: This book outlines openness theology, the view developed against a Calvinist view, here painted as representing our Heavenly dictator, that the gift of free will is a prerequisite for a loving relationship between humanity and God. Therefore, because God no longer holds all the power (he has granted some to us: free will) he can be influenced by our intercession.

4. She Who Is—Elizabeth Johnson: A feminist discourse on the study of God, Johnson argues that a female image for God is just as appropriate (and inappropriate) a metaphor for the Holy One.

3. The Return of the Prodigal Son—Henri Nouwen: This book is life transforming, focusing on each character in Luke's Prodigal Son parable. Nouwen details the ways in which we are like each character and most importantly, need to become more like the Father.

2. Resident Aliens—Hauerwas & Willimon: A more communal recapitulation of Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship set in late 20th century America.

1. Becoming Human—Jean Vanier: This is an amazing book, explaining the struggles every human being faces, such as loneliness and rejection, which compel us to exclude others. Vanier describes the ways we are called to become truly human, as was Christ, by overcoming our fears and living in community. It is a beautiful book in which we discover our common humanity.


Paul said...

Ambitious list. I spent a summer arguing against open-theism when researching for Dr. Highfield, but I'm not there anymore (doctrinally speaking).

it's me, katiejo said...

ah, yes, i remember this. glad you aren't there doctrinally speaking anymore. :) although in the end, it is probably more of some balance of the two views, as are most things.

you should read god of the oppressed--i think you would like it, considering your view that everything is cooler when it's done by a black person--james cone = really cool.

Michelle said...

Katie and Matt, impressive list, but you two need to get back to reality and read some fiction.

katie and matt said...

after michelle's comment, we thought we'd post a best of the fiction we read this year, but then we realized we only read six books collectively and didn't even love all of are our six, in no particular order:

1 after dark (murakami)
2 catcher in the rye (salinger)
3 kafka on the shore (murakami)
4 the book of lost things (can't remember...john something)
5 the sun also rises (hemingway)
6 extremely loud and incredibly close (foer)

Thom said...

This is certainly the most intellectual list that the Jamboree has ever seen. Well done, Katie and Matt.

I spent a summer day running a marathon with Dr. Highfield, but I'm not there anymore (cardiovascularly speaking).