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Systematic Theology (Volume 1)
Grounded in Holy Scripture and understood in light of the Church
"I have written this first volume, thinking of my heritage as both Reformed and Catholic; gladly appropriating crucial insights of the whole people of God over the last two thousand years - Eastern Orthodox, Western Catholic, and Reformation Protestant - as they sought to live out the foundational truths of the inspired Word of God." Doug Kelly
Douglas F. Kelly is the Richard Jordan Professor of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina.
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If this first installment is any indication, Douglas Kelly's three-volume Systematic Theology is sure to set a new standard. Harvesting decades of steady scholarship and equally steady engagement in all facets of the church's life and ministry, Kelly displays the richness of the Christian Faith, particularly in its Reformed expression. Christians of all traditions will benefit greatly from the catholic breadth, appropriate but not bewildering depth, and exegetical insight of this remarkable work.
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, California
"This is the fruit of decades of research, thought and teaching. Kelly's procedure is entirely sound; Scripture is his basis, the primary authority, but he engages throughout the past teaching of the church.. In this he follows in the footsteps of Calvin and the Westminster and the Westminster Assembly. His breadth of coverage is wide."
I just now completed reading through the entire book you wrote Systematic Theology, vol. 1. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the quality work you have done. You show that you know ancient languages (Hebrew, Greek and Latin) as well as modern languages (French and German). You delve into the Christian fathers of the first few centuries and are familiar with the works of the Reformers and the latest books and articles on Systematic Theology. This is eminent scholarship that lies back of numerous years of study. You have done the Church a favor by writing this book and I personally thank you for this contribution. Excellent work!
Simon Kistemaker, Professor of New Testament Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida
"Douglas F. Kelly is one of the English-speaking world's leading Reformed theologians. Here we begin to enjoy the fruits of his labors. What a feast it is. Few Protestant theologians in our day know the terrain of the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Person of Christ, as well as Professor Kelly... He is at his best when opening up to us the unrealized importance and glory of these foundational truths about our Savior God. For those who yearn for an orthodox Reformed catholicity, Kelly shows the way forward."
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary
I bought this book by way of an exploration into the subject of the Trinity; we have a ministry to the cults, and I'm writing a Christian response to the Jehovah's Witnesses publication, "Should You Believe in the Trinity". I found this book to be an excellent resource on the subject of the Triune God. I would recommend this book, without reservation, specifically on the nature of God and the attendant issues surrounding the Trinity.
Posted by Dr Thaddeus Irvine, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. at 22:37 on Monday 16 November 2009
Where can one find a treatise on the Truine God that is without question faithfully and confessional Reformed and profoundly aware of the broad reach of historical reflection from the wider Church? Professor Kelly's achievement has put a mark in the 21st century that will force all serious students of theology to consider a conservative Reformed viewpoint with due diligence. Here is a theology that serves the church, displays the majesty of God and humbles the heart of all who contemplate Him. I am using this for my class on theology and look forward to his forthcoming work.
Posted by Todd Baucum, Enterprise, AL at 02:53 on Tuesday 03 November 2009
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is very interesting to read as Kelly quotes a lot from those I would not normally read e.g. Church Fathers, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic. Some of the quotes are excellent. On the other hand, there are times when it feels like I was simply reading a lot of quotes, which were often difficult to understand. This made the book feel a little like a digest of Christian thought. Kelly quotes liberally from French theologians and cultural historians - something I am obviously not able to do. So in some ways I am thankful for the 'digest' nature of the book. However, as an experiment I briefly tried to read portions of the book by just reading Kelly's own words. It seems to me that Kelly could have put much of the thought of the quotes in his own words and simply foot noted them. I think this would have made a better book.
Also, the placement of appendices after each chapter disrupts the flow of the book. Much better to have them at the end.
Also, Kelly's chapter in the influence of Enlightenment thought had loads of quotes but only a little discussion of 'influence'. The balance seemed a little off.
But - his chapter on God revealing himself through the Covenant of Grace was amazing.
Given that Prof Kelly is writing two more volumes I would suggest that perhaps an abridgment could be made into a 1 volume ST with many of the quotes summarized.
All to say, I have mixed feelings. Some portions (when Prof Kelly himself writes) had my mind and heart praising God. Some portions (many of the Appendices and long quotes) had me thinking "why am I reading this"?
In short, I think this book needs to be read along side other ST's such as Robert Reymond's and/or Wayne Grudem's. However, if I was to recommend an ST to the man or woman in the pew it would not be Douglas Kelly's ST Vol. 1 - better wait for the abridged version of his 3 volume work.
Posted by Phil Taylor, Belfast at 13:53 on Tuesday 25 August 2009