For Christians, it is key we do two things: follow Christ and read our Bibles. In doing these two things, we learn not only God’s will for our lives, but we learn what it means to be a Christian. For some Christians, the word “theology” conjures mixed emotions and reactions.
Graeme Goldsworthy’s book, “Christ-Centered Theology” helps remove some of these emotions and reactions by essentially writing a “how-to” for students of theology and the Bible. It bears mentioning that there are different categories of theology and this book would be placed in the category of biblical theology (that is, taking our theology from the whole of the Bible).
This book can essentially be broken into three sections. The first is Goldsworthy’s development into his own biblical theology. He also talks about the necessity of biblical theology in Evangelical thought (in which he includes the lack of consensus amongst Evangelicals). I appreciated this section because it gives the reader an idea of how this book’s content came to be. I also appreciated that before Goldsworthy takes the reader into the main portion of the book, he talks about “Salvation and History” and “Differing Approaches” to biblical theology. I appreciated the salvation and history chapter because it helps the reader establish an undergirding theme in biblical theology; that is, God’s redemptive purpose in the whole story of Scripture.
The sixth through eighth chapters of the book deal with the biblical story itself and how we construct our theology from the Bible. In his dealings with the Old Testament, he provides the reader a chapter with an overview of Old Testament history (Creation, Fall, Flood, Abraham, etc. through the Exile and Return). The seventh chapter compounds on the previous chapter in that it discusses “Prophetic Eschatology”. Goldsworthy uses prophetic eschatology to continue the thought process of salvation history in all of the Bible (especially the Old Testament) and to show the true and complete fulfillment of salvation (for example, Goldsworthy talks about king David in Israel’s history, but in the prophets, there will be a “new King David” one whose kingdom shall never pass away). This section concludes with chapter eight which is “Allowing the New Testament to Speak”. Here Goldsworthy recapitulates the Old Testament’s history in light of the New Testament and how the two relate. My one critique of Goldsworthy here is the lack of discussion of women in the New Testament (and, to that end, in the Old Testament as well). In an era of the church’s history when women are serving in ministerial roles from children’s minister to the senior pastor (of which I am a supporter), I think a discussion on the role of women would greatly influence this work and construction of our own theology.
Finally, Goldsworthy concludes with two chapters devoted to an influential scholar in his own life, Donald Robinson, and the last chapter being a “How-To” for biblical theology. The last chapter is the essence of this book and Goldsworthy’s biblical theology. I think you will enjoy this book and I hope you pick it up and learn.