Today, Michael F. Bird’s highly anticipated “Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction” hits the shelves. I have been reading an advanced review copy and will be writing a thorough review within the next few weeks. I haven’t decided whether to write one “concise” (a very relative word) review or a series of reviews addressing each part, but at about halfway through, I emphatically recommend that everyone get this volume. If you don’t read new introductions to ST (I usually don’t), read this one. To whet your appetite and entice you to buy the book, below are a few interviews with Bird and sneak peeks from the volume.
The primary aspect that makes this title unique is reflected in the title: this is a systematic theology “that has its center and boundaries and interpretive glue determined by the gospel.” Bird develops this in the video below.
Another rather unique aspect of this systematic theology is that it is written by a biblical scholar, not a [trade] systematician. So why would a biblical scholar write a systematic theology? Because “just to repeat what the text says is not enough. You’ve got to ask the important questions: So what? What difference does this make? What can we take away from this?” Hear more from Bird in the video below.
Next, Bird explains why he “beefed-up” the ecclesiology section – it’s because he sees this as the most challenging area of Evangelical theology since evangelicals tend to be light on ecclesiology and negligent of the visible church.
The next two videos are not directly related to this new volume. The first addresses the question of why we should study theology, and the second is Bird’s advice to theological students.
I found the video below very helpful and highly recommend all students of theology, formal and informal, to watch it and “favorite” it. For those of us who love academic theology, we need to remind ourselves of the advice Bird gives in this video – to not neglect other things like our families and even our spirituality, to not allow theology to become an idol of the mind, and to not forget our first love (I laughed really hard at his story about being so Reformed when he started seminary that he put a sign on his door saying “no semi-Pelagians allowed). The following quote from the video is absolute gold:
You cannot have a relationship with your Christology; but you can have a relationship with Jesus. Your eschatology is not going to change the world; but the Lord Jesus will. No one will be saved by believing in your soteriology; but the Lord Jesus will save. And no matter how much you love your theology, it will never love you back.
Onto the sneak peeks from Michael Bird’s Blog:
The Evangel At the Helm: Evangelical Theology – Sneak Peek 1
The Drama of Gospelizing: Evangelical Theology – Sneak Peek 2
Evangelicals and Tradition: Evangelical Theology – Sneak Peek 3
And finally, Zondervan has made available a PDF file of the first 46 pages of the book.
Go buy this book. Whether you love theology or are indifferent, you need to read (and will enjoy) this volume.
*Update 11/2/13: since the original publishing of this post, Zondervan has added two additional interviews with Michael Bird in relation to this work. In the first, Bird reveals his theological position and describes himself as a “very happy, card-carrying Calvinist” He then dispels some common myths about Calvinism and describes what the system is to him, what perspective he brings to the book, and his desire therein to dialogue with a wide range of evangelical traditions. In the second new video, Bird talks about some parts of this book that might surprise readers.