(Warning: Beware the used or library textbook with highlighting. Do the human race a favor and don't highlight your books.)
Rodney Clapp, A Peculiar People, IVP, 1996. degree of difficulty:
Curtis Chang, Engaging Unbelief, IVP, 2000.
Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism, Eerdmans, 1943.
Vincent Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered, Orbis, 1982.
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Eerdmans, 1990.
James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Witness: Systematic Theology Volume 3, Abingdon, 2001.
We begin with Rodney Clapp, because Clapp's A Peculiar People begins with the (American) Church, whose identity as the Church of Jesus Christ centers the course. Next we move historically to two dramatic episodes in the Church's confrontation with the world, with Curtis Chang's Engaging Unbelief. These two episodes are the demise of cultured antiquity and the rise of cultured Islam. A third episode is the Reformation, in which European Christendom rethought its fusion of Church and world. One mature expression of Reformation and modern theology is Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism. The Reformation era also bore fruit in missions (primarily undertaken by Catholics), opening a long conversation between European Christianity and worlds new to it. We will view it through Vincent Donovan's narrative Christianity Rediscovered. The rise of global Christianity and demise of modern European Christianity set the stage for Lesslie Newbigin's The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, which rethinks the contemporary relations between gospel and Western world. Time permitting, we will conclude with a mature systematic reflection on the gospel's relation to American culture, James Wm. McClendon, Jr.'s Witness.
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