Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Me Died Blue, Jan 18, 2005.

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  1. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Has anyone heard reviews of, or read excerpts from, Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology? It's a multi-volume work, and so far only three volumes have been released: Introduction & Bible, God & Creation and Sin & Salvation.

    It seems he's the first one to give an answer to the critical observation that Arminians have never really had a systematic theology. In light of that, I find it particularly interesting that his systematic is going to end up being so long, devoting each 600+ page volume to only two topics.

  2. ANT

    ANT Puritan Board Junior

    Ever since I read Geisler's book Chosen But Free I haven't been able to read anything else by him. I know he has some good material to learn from, but I was so put off by his views and definition of election that I just can't stomach giving the time to read anything else by him. (Unless it's for reference, to see what he is saying about it.)

    My brother-in-law has had Geisler stay at his house in Maryland before, when he was speaking at his church. He is anti-calvinistic (my brother-in-law), and thinks that Geisler's view on election in his book are the best. He said he's read it numerous times. (You can imagine what we discuss when we get together for the holidays.)
  3. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    It is the best thing next to the Bible itself or next to man choosing God !!



  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Geisler's first volume is on introductory matters relating to systematics. I do not agree with his apologetic approach (heavily emphasized in the book) but he has a great defense of the bible and a good, working bibliography. Other than that, I wouldn't recommend him.
  5. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

  6. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I stood up with the groom at the wedding of Norm's daughter and I have been acquainted with him for years. He was at Trinity Sem when I was at the college.

    Professor Murray Harris came to the Sem and he held to a view that Jesus did not rise bodily. Norm took a stand against that and unfortunately the Sem and eventually the whole Evang. Free Church denom backed Harris.

    A letter was circulated to every pastor in the Free Church that Norm was to be treated as a "gentile and a tax collector". It was at that time that Falwell called him up and invited him to come to his school.

    Norm is a great guy and a man of genuine love and conviction. He would not back down against the establishment though it cost him greatly.

    Theologically Norm can be called a Conservative but definitely not reformed. I was very disappointed with Chosen But Free. The book, for those who haven't read it says that the Arminian and the Calvinist can finally find agreement if the Calvinist is willing to become an arminian.

    He's a great man, father, husband and Christian thinker but the reformed would find a lot of tension with his systematics.:2cents:
  7. doulosChristou

    doulosChristou Puritan Board Freshman

    The book Geisler edited called Inerrancy has been profitable to my studies. The chapter Greg Bahnsen wrote on the autographs was excellent. I perused Geisler's three systematic volumes in a bookstore last year. They did not appear worth my time. Why read good books when you could be reading great ones?
  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I second his boook on Inerrancy. Top Notch essays.
  9. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore

    Has anyone read Geisler (and Ronald Brooks') intro to critical thinking Come, Let Us Reason ? IS it any good?
  10. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I have,
    He has this dinosauric commitment to Aristotle (Aquinas). As a result, we have much more space given to the Aristotelian syllogism as opposed to truth-tables. That is its major downfall. However, I have read it twice and it is useful as a handbook. Still, I doprefer Copi and Cohen. IF you can find it cheap, get it. He does a good job, on the Aristotelian syllogism, to be fair to him. A real good job, I might add. But you have to get past his Thomism and that can be irritating at times.
  11. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    Does this mean that the EFree Church does not believe in
    the bodily ressurection of Christ - or was there another problem for them? That's a :worms:

    [Edited on 19-1-2005 by turmeric]
  12. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Jacob.

    Being that None of the schools that I ever attended felt that it was necessary to learn critical thinking (which kind of ticks me off the more I think about it) I'm gonna have to do the independent study thing.
    I have actually found Copi and Cohen's book (10th ed.) for the low low price of $5.98...I want to get Bahnsen's tape series also but I don't have the dough right now.
  13. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Good thoughts, everyone. For those who have read Inerrancy, would you say it is consistent with the presuppositional mindset on defending the faith? Or does it take some secular thoughts for granted as do evidentialism and Classicism?

    Also, beyond thoughts on Geisler's systematic itself, what do you think of the fact that it is basically the first systematic theology written by an Arminian, and a popular one at that. The absence of such a thing has been one notable thing about Arminian Christianity for a time, so do you think Geisler's doctrinal teaching itself in the systematic will have more of an impact on the Church, or do you think the fact that Arminians now have a systematic theology text will have more of an impact? What do you see this change as doing in the Church in the immediate years to come and as reflecting in the recent past years?
  14. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore

    Didn't Finney have a Systematic Theology?
  15. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Ahh, yes. Even so, they are so much more scarce among Arminians it isn't even funny. So Geisler's is still a very big occurrence for the modern Arminian camp.
  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I do think it will have an influence upon Evanjelly Land--they are in love wiht classical apologetics and are looking for a cop-out iwht respect to electoin. Inerrancy is a mixed bag of essays, apologetically speaking. Oddly enough, Geisler's essay is on The Philosophical Presuppositions of Errancy, or something like that. Bahnsen wrote one on the Autographa of the MSS, I haven't read it yet. Gerstner's essay is good, but I just like Gerstner as a teacher, even if I disagree with his methodology.
  17. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    That's the weird part. Each church in the Free Church is autonomic though there is a loose central leadership and regional directors and such.

    The denom basically tried to stay above the fray. The admin at Trinity Sem were adamant in endorsing Harris' teaching as orthodox. The details were never really argued, it was just a matter of Trinity standing by their man.

    Norm was called 'a liar', 'a rat' and 'mentally ill'. He was not allowed to confront Harris but they did write a couple books back and forth.

    Eventually, and I think it was just to quiet the storm, the EFCA leadership (Meyer - Sem pres, Paul Cedar - pres of EFCA, Ken Kantzer and the entire TEDS alumni board backed Harris and get this, so did Packer and Boice. I still can't figure that out.

    Norm defended his reason for leaving the EFCA with a quote that should be an inspiration to we puritans and in fact is one of the maxims of this board.

    "This is precisely how denominations go liberal, namely, when their doctrinal statements are stretched beyond their original meaning to accommodate new doctrinal deviations. We cannot allow critical doctrine to be watered down by accommodating deviant views, no matter how much we personally like those who hold these positions. The simple truth is that brotherly charity should not be used as an excuse to neglect doctrinal purity."

    [Edited on 19-1-2005 by maxdetail]

    [Edited on 19-1-2005 by maxdetail]
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I think I know the reason, and I will look this up when I get back to my room. It is my knowledge that Harris didn't deny the resurrection in the way they think he did. Wayne Grudem, who disagreed with Harris's conclusion, includes this story in his Systematics. I will have to go to my room and find it out.
  19. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Thanks Jacob, if you find the time I would look forward to getting that information.
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Concernign Murray Harris on The Resurrection Wayne Grudem writes:
    Murray Harris has recently propoosed an alternative interpretation to the verses quoted above (Acts 12:10)...he says that these verses show that while Jesus could sometimes materilaize into a physical body, his customary existence was in a nonphysical or nonfleshly form of his "spiritual body." Murray Harris elsewhere statesthat he affirms teh physical, bodily resurrection of the dead (From Grave to Glory: Resurrection in the New Testament, pp.142-143).
    For the record I do not hold to Harris's view, but isn't it more likely that Geisler misrepresented him? Geisler is on the record for misrepresenting Van Til and Calvinism for that matter.
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    THat was on pp.610-612 of Grudem.
  22. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    It's a good point Jacob. At the time it was all going on my allegiance was to Geisler simply because of our acquaintance and my friendship with his son-in-law.

    Since my mind has been transformed I've never taken the time or even wanted to go back and weigh all the writings regarding that controversy. Hence, I hesitate to pass any judgment one way or another. I will stand by my conclusion that Norm is a good and loving servant who loves the Word but I believe that he, like the rest of us, let's his theological bias steer his biblical exogesis. We are all this side of heaven.

    Thanks again for finding that quote Jacob. God bless you today!
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