Historical Theology for the Church, Edited by Duesing and Finn
Historical Theology is not a new field of study by any stretch. Almost ever since the beginning of the church pastors and leaders have been learning from those who came before them. In their new book to an old field, editors Jason Duesing and Nathan Finn make a substantial contribution to those who want to learn from the faithful before us. "Historical Theology for the Church" published by B&H Academic is a needed and helpful resource for church leaders of all types.
In each chapter a different author follows an area of study in theology, as it relates to that time and location. The book is broken up into four units, detailing different areas of theology in the Patristic Era, Medieval Era, Reformation Era, and the Modern Era. Within those era's the chapters focus on different areas like the Trinity, the Church, Salvation, and Scripture.
As a local church pastor, I found this book helpful as it traced the developments of different schools of thought in the church. Many church members assume that what their church believes has been handed down to them from the disciples. But this book shows that what the practices and even beliefs of the church are shaped by culture, government, tradition, and so much more. Understanding how views evolved in response to larger cultural events like Romanticism or the Great Awakening can help us make sure that our beliefs are grounded in Scripture and not just in tradition.
While there are many books that cover the views from the past, I am perhaps most appreciative for the way that they sought to cover the development of theology even into the modern era. In the chapter on the Church in the Modern Era, Jeremy Kimble addresses movement that affect the church today like The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel, and 9 Marks Ministries. The study on these current issues is a good reminder that the way the church addresses challenges today will affect the shape of the church tomorrow.
Nathan Finn makes this point clear in the conclusion where he writes "Today's theology is tomorrow's historical theology." It's important that we understand how the church overcame the challenges of the past while holding tightly to scripture in order that we can do the same today.