The Problem with Evangelical Theology
Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Wesleyanism, and Pentecostalism, Revised and Expanded Edition
Imprint: Baylor University Press
Sales Date: 2020-12-15
There is no doubting the legacy of Protestant Reformers and their successors. Luther, Calvin, and Wesley not only spawned specific denominational traditions, but their writings have been instrumental in forging a broadly embraced evangelical theology as well. Ben Witherington wrestles with some of the big ideas of these major traditional theological systems (sin, God’s sovereignty, prophecy, grace, and the Holy Spirit), asking tough questions about their biblical foundations. Advocating a return to Protestantism’s sola scriptura roots, Witherington argues that evangelicalism sometimes wrongly assumes a biblical warrant for some of its more popular beliefs.
Witherington pushes the reader to engage the larger story and plot of the Bible in order to understand the crucial theological elements of Protestant belief. The Problem with Evangelical Theology casts today’s evangelical belief and practice—be it Calvinistic, Wesleyan, Dispensational, or Pentecostal—in the light of its scriptural origins. Witherington offers a comprehensive description of evangelical theology while concurrently providing an insistent corrective to its departures from both tradition and text.
Overture: The Legacy of the Reformers
Augustine’s Children: The Problems with Reformed Theology
1. Oh Adam, Where Art Thou?
2. Squinting at the Pauline "I" Chart
3. Laying Down the Law with Luther
4. Awaiting the Election Results
5. Complementarianism is no Compliment
On Dispensing with Dispensationalism
6. Enraptured but not Uplifted: The Origins of Dispensationalism and Prophecy
7. What Goes Up, Must Come Down: The Problem with Rapture Theology
8. Will the Real Israel of God Please Stand Up?
Mr. Wesley Heading West
9. Jesus, Paul, and John: Keeping Company in the Kingdom
10. New Birth or New Creatures?
11. Amazing Prevenient Grace and Entire Sanctification
The Cost of Pentecostalism
12. The People of Pentecost
13. The Second Blessing of Pentecostalism
The Long Journey Home—Where Do We Go from Here?
14. Reimagining the Mystery
15. And So?
Coda: Rebirth of Orthodoxy or Return to Fundamentalism?
This volume has given me a renewed appreciation for our Restoration Plea and its great hermeneutical and ecclesiastical potential. And it has chastened me to not only champion the authority of Scripture alone but continually to allow that holy book to reform my theology.~Robert C. Kurka, Professor of Bible and Theology, Lincoln Christian College and Seminary, Stone Campbell Review
Ben Witherington reminds us that being Reformed is a continual process. He calls Evangelical Christians to a fresh look at their claim to take Scripture seriously. Few scholars are better placed to do so. Witherington is authoritative and writes here with his usual compelling style.~Trevor Hart, Principal of St Mary's College and Head of the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews
Evangelicals of all stripes need to take account of Witherington's contentions here—to make us exegetically honest and theologically responsible. He takes on the three streams of evangelicalism: Reformed, Wesleyan, and Dispensationalist views to examine their exegetical foundations and theological structures. The result is critique, but also a call for biblical orthodoxy and proclamation of biblical truth in postmodern society. His perspectives should gain a wide hearing.~Donald K. McKim, Editor, Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith
For Baptist ministers and lay people who are willing to be challenged, however, this book would be a lively read. Witherington identifies biblical illiteracy as a serious problem among evangelicals today.~Warren McWilliams, Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry
Witherington has much to commend in his new edition. He interweaves an illustrious career of technical exegesis with humorous and serious exhortations to scholars and laypeople alike.~Benjamin B. De Van, Wesley and Methodist Studies