The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform

by Roger E. Olson, professor of theology at Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
InterVarsity, 652 pp., $34.99

Olson delivers on his promise, telling the story of theology. He introduces us to the main characters, the setting, and the plot of each theological controversy through the ages, and then explains what difference it all makes. On top of that, the nonspecialist can actually understand this stuff. Christian publishers beware: readers may begin demanding more historical theology if writers like Olson are left in charge of communicating it.

Truth Aflame: A Balanced Theology for Evangelicals and Charismatics

by Larry D. Hart, professor of theology in the Graduate School of Theology and Missions at Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Thomas Nelson, 546 pp., $34.99

Here's another example of theology, this time systematic, written for the nonspecialist. Hart founds his insights on historical and biblical theology, trying to offer a theology that will bridge the evangelical and charismatic-Pentecostal divide. If you have to commit systematic theology, this is not a bad way to go.

A Royal "Waste" of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World

by Marva J. Dawn, theologian and author with Christians Equipped for Ministry, Vancouver, Washington.
Eerdmans, 377 pp., $18.00, paper

The blurbs on the back of this book suggest that Dawn has become a guru of the mainline, with such luminaries as William Willimon, Eugene Peterson, and Walter Brueggemann singing her praises.

This book continues a theme (begun in Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down) that we can reach out to an increasingly postmodern and Gen X world without ...

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