Recommendation: Alister McGrath’s Glossary of Theological Terms

One of the fun things about teaching church history is introducing my students to all kinds of technical theological terms that they should never (ever!!!) use in a sermon, but nevertheless probably need to know. I require students in all of my classes to purchase a copy of the Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms and bring it with them to class. They are not allowed to ask me to define a term in class unless they have first consulted the Pocket Dictionary to see if it is included therein.

I recently discovered that Alister McGrath has a glossary of theological terms on his Wiley-Blackwell author’s page. For those of you who haven’t heard of McGrath, he is arguably one of the two or three best-known evangelical theologians in the English-speaking world. He has written dozens of book on systematic theology, historical theology, spirituality, the Reformation, C. S. Lewis, and the relationship between theology and science. He is a sharp cookie. If you want to learn more about McGrath’s thoughts on some of these topics, check out my colleague Jamie Dew’s book Science and Theology: An Assessment of Alister McGrath’s Critical Realist Perspective and SEBTS alum Larry McDonald’s book The Merging of Theology and Spirituality: An Examination of the Life and Work of Alister E. McGrath.

Even if you don’t want to learn more about McGrath’s thought, avail yourself of his super-helpful glossary of theological terms. Your friends will be impressed when you tell them that Hesychasm is “A tradition, especially associated with the eastern church, which places considerable emphasis upon the idea of “inner quietness” (Greek: hesychia) as a means of achieving a vision of God. It is particularly associated with writers such as Simeon the New Theologian and Gregory Palamas.” Don’t you feel more theologically astute already?

 

J. D. Greear on Not Being a Fundamentalist

Every Thursday afternoon at BtT we highlight the writing of J. D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011). This week J. D. writes about why it’s bad to be a fundamentalist (calvinist or otherwise). 

Here’s an excerpt:

Don’t hear me encouraging some kind of doctrinal reductionism. We should think deeply about election, as with all great biblical truths, and form deep convictions about it. Everything in the Bible is important, especially things that relate to salvation and evangelism. I have my own convictions. But we must learn to be comfortable with certain scriptural tensions, and live with grace and freedom in some places God has not bestowed clarity to the degree we’d prefer. As Alister McGrath says, the ability to live within scriptural tensions is a sign of maturity, not immaturity.

Read the full post here.

In Case You Missed It

1) Over at Canon and Culture, SEBTS Provost Bruce Ashford evaluates the two false religions often at work in environmental ethics.

2) Do you need a mentor or do not know how to find one? SEBTS Dean of Graduate Studies Chuck Lawless provides some help.

3) Thinking about an academic ministry? Consider the advice of Alister McGrath over at bethinking.org.

4) Some really good advice from Thomas Kidd on how to survive graduate school.

5) Michael Kruger describes how the earliest Christians distinguished themselves from the surrounding culture.

6) Finally, over at The Gospel Coalition, Gavin Ortlund reminds us that Jesus did more to save us than die.