Engaging Theology

A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Introduction

by Ben C. Blackwell, R.L. Hatchett

On Sale: 2019-10-29

Book Summary

Engaging Theology is an introductory theology textbook that grounds a treatment of standard systematic topics in the wider context of life and practice and shows the relevance of each doctrine to the church.

About the Book

Theology today is faced with increasing amounts of religious and theological pluralism. What is distinctive about Christian theology? Why do these ideas matter? And the biggest question of all: Who cares? Key aspects of orthodox theology are seen as speculative and irrelevant to "authentic" Christianity and to personal spirituality. While not succumbing to the pragmatism of the age, this book shows that key elements of Christian theology ground an integrated worldview and are essential for spiritual formation.

Engaging Theology is an introductory theology textbook that grounds a treatment of standard systematic topics in the wider context of life and practice and shows the relevance of each doctrine to the church. The book treats the essential doctrines of Christian orthodoxy by following the pattern of story, doctrinal exposition, theological relevance, and spiritual relevance:

  • Story: Each chapter begins with a brief and engaging account of the historical situation out of which the doctrine arose or where it played an essential role in the development of the church, showing students that orthodox theology matters and introducing them to most of the key theologians in the history of the church.
  • Doctrinal Exposition: The heart of the chapter is exposition of key elements of the doctrine, highlighting core and debated elements while clarifying heterodox perspectives. Integrated with the narrative account this section also models the contextualized nature of theology. Each chapter includes biblical, historical, and contemporary views on the issue and notes key figures in the debates and their influence.
  • Theological Relevance: While theological relevance is clear throughout each chapter, this section highlights relevance to the modern setting and concerns, including interaction with heterodox and non-Christian faiths. It identifies current theological problems besetting the church and shows how a proper understanding and integration of orthodox theology addresses these problems. It also points to other problems the church is facing for interesting discussion starters.
  • Spiritual Relevance: Since orthodox theology has a direct influence on one's own spiritual formation and practice, each chapter concludes with practical encouragements and discussions about how each doctrine can be integrated in one's personal and corporate life.

Engaging Theology is ideal for students and everyday people living in a post Christian era to help them seriously engage with the Christian faith.


“Ben Blackwell and Randy Hatchett have put together an eminently readable introduction to Christian theology for students. It contains a good balance of Bible, church history, and theological description, is ever mindful of contemporary application, and explains strange topics with simplicity and clarity. A valuable resource for anyone beginning theological studies.”

“This is the theology textbook that I wish I had been reading during my undergraduate and seminary theological education. It engages the Bible but is not simply the homogenized biblical- theological approach that I encountered. This work understands hermeneutics and presents theological method, yet it is practical. It points to the boundaries of orthodoxy and to questions that may be open. It understands that theology develops through history (and without quoting J. H. Newman). It opens the student up to dialogue with a variety of Christian perspectives and with other major religions, yet there is a firm core commitment. It is clearly Protestant, even Evangelical, but it is open to Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and other perspectives as well. I heartily recommend its use as a teaching text or as a work to learn how to present Christian theology clearly and how to dialogue without slipping into a relativistic approach.”

“Professors Blackwell and Hatchett have provided us with a thoughtful volume to introduce students to many of the wide-ranging topics, themes, and issues in the field of systematic the- ology. In these pages, readers will find helpful biographical portraits of significant Christian thinkers, interaction with various religious traditions, and insightful applications focused on spiritual formation and the life of the church. Though some readers will ponder the inclusion or exclusion of some topics or some of the authors’ conclusions, they will nevertheless be encouraged and helped by the authors’ commitments to Trinitarian orthodoxy, to the importance of key aspects of the Christian tradition, and to genuine theological engagement.”

“Engaging Theology is an excellent resource for the classroom. Blackwell and Hatchett ably summarize the fundamentals of the Christian faith, demonstrating the biblical warrant, historical development, dogmatic location, and cultural implications each of the major doctrines. While readers will inevitably quibble with certain modes of argument or specific theological conclusions, the authors’ judicious approach, ecumenical awareness, and charitable spirit are just as important for the classroom as the clarity of their doctrinal summaries.”

“Engaging Theology brings together Christian history, biography, spirituality, and the development of doctrine in a narrative at once coherent and comprehensive. It is inviting, accessible, irenic. I welcome this new book and recommend it highly!”

“Introductory theology textbooks are a dime a dozen. What separates Engaging Theology from the rest of the pack is that it is genuinely engaging in multiple ways: it engages the reader with lively prose and common-sense language, engages the Christian tradition in faithful and informed ways, engages the contemporary world beyond theology, and engages practice as it speaks into ministry, vocation, and praxis. Theology is on the move, and Blackwell and Hatchet realize this and help readers navigate the terrain in responsible and informative ways. This is the sort of introductory text students are now looking for and need.”

“The Christian pilgrimage involves pursuing knowledge of Christian theology---either intentionally or unintentionally. R. L. Hatchett and Ben Blackwell in Engaging Theology have provided a rich reading resource for beginning that part of the journey, either in the university or in a local church. Engaging Theology is an excellent primer for communities that need a theology book that is Trinitarian in structure; comprehensive, ecumenical, and nondogmatic in spirit; emphasizes the narrative nature of theological development; and interacts with the broader church and other religious traditions.”

“With historical breadth, doctrinal clarity, and pastoral acumen, Blackwell and Hatchett invite students into the study of Christian theology with a text that is comprehensive without being daunting. Written with the student in mind, their book provides a confessional and welcoming approach to the study of theology. This is a book for those who love Jesus but might be skeptical as to why we need clarity about who God is and what God has done.”

Product Details

  • Imprint: Zondervan Academic
  • On Sale: 2019-10-29
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Zondervan Academic
  • Publication Date: 2019-10-29
  • Trim Size: 190.000mm x 241.000mm x 23.000mm
  • Weight: 652.000gr
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Christian Theology / Systematic
  • Category 2 : RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Discipleship
  • Category 3 : RELIGION / Christian Theology / General
  • Category 4 : RELIGION / Christian Church / History