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John Piper on the newly released book The Trials of Theology, edited by Andrew Cameron and Brian Rosner (Christian Focus, 2010):

When I began my theological studies in 1968 I devoured Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians.

If I were starting today I would devour The Trials of Theology.

Here is counsel from the proven dead and the wise living.

“Do we need theology”?

We may as well ask, “Do we need to know God?” Ten thousand times yes.

“Is studying theology perilous?”

Yes. But less perilous than ignorance.

“Will it be costly?”

Let the Bible answer: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Ps. 119:71).

Without the “trials of theology” we remain on the surface of the statutes of God.

May the Spirit of truth make this book a means of true thinking about God, deep affections for God, and beautiful obedience to God, through Jesus Christ who is God.

Here’s the table of contents:

Foreword: “Lost Among Words”

Part One: Voices Past

1. Augustine, “Time out to Pray, Read and Weep”

2. Martin Luther, “Experience Makes the Theologian”

3. C.H. Spurgeon, “Frailty and the Grace of God”

4. B.B. Warfield, “The Spiritual Life of Theological Students”

5. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Becoming Real Theologians”

6. C.S. Lewis, “Inner Circles and True Inclusion”

Part Two: Voices Present

7. John W. Woodhouse, “The Trials of Theological College”

8. D.A. Carson, “The Trials of Biblical Studies”

9. Carl R. Trueman, “The Trials of Church History”

10. Gerald L. Bray, “The Trials of Systematic Theology”

11. Dennis P. Hollinger, “The Trials of Christian Ethics”

Afterword: “Lost for Words”


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4 thoughts on “The Trials of Theology”

  1. justin says:

    Helmut Thielicke’s book was required reading for my first systematic class with Dr. Greg Allison at SBTS. I keep it close :)

    I can’t wait to pick up this gem.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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