Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by bookslover, Mar 15, 2017.

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  1. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Does anyone have an opinion, one way or another, on Norman L. Geisler's Systematic Theology? I've read that he considers himself to be a moderate Calvinist. I think he's basically a philosopher and comes at some theological topics from that standpoint.

    What says the PB?
  2. Moses Costigan

    Moses Costigan Puritan Board Freshman

    By "moderate Calvinist" Geisler means actually not a Calvinist at all..... His theology is not Reformed, functionally he is a semi-Pelagian despite identifying himself as a "4 point Calvinist".

    Geisler denies the doctrine of Limited Atonement very explicitly and implicitly denies the doctrine of unconditional election.

    I have only read "chosen but free" which is his perspective on the doctrines of grace which is pretty bad but havent heard or read anything either way re his systematic theology which may be good aside from the points mentioned above.

    Others may be able to comment further though

    Sent from my SM-G920I using Tapatalk
  3. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have it in hardcover, the "all in one volume" version.

    I really enjoyed briefing through it, if only for its philosophical approach.
    I'll have another crack at it, its been ages since I picked it up.
  4. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    He claims to be a moderate Calvinist, but his position on salvation places him right into Arminian theology circles, as he really has a hard time accepting full sovereignty of God, as he thinks that only "hyper-Calvinist" hold to all 5 points of grace! But is good to use to read through varying position held in christian theology, but he really misunderstands Calvinism!
  5. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    A bright man. Geisler is by all accounts a respectable scholar save his futile desire to identify as a kind of Calvinist. He would have served the Body much better than he notably has if would have never adopted that pretense.
  6. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    He is also a massive fan of Aquinas and his philosophical theology...
  7. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

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  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    He has written very nice in regards to biblical inerrancy, as he does provide great support to that doctrine, but on he views regarding both Sotierology and Calvinism, not so much!
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Do you like natural theology? His section on God and Creation is interesting. His eschatology section is probably one of the last robust, old-school style dispensational defenses.
  10. Moses Costigan

    Moses Costigan Puritan Board Freshman

  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    His main problem to me was that he made a straw man up for what Calvinists really teach and believe, as what he considers to be Hyper version of it is actually one holding to all 5 points of Grace! His work apart from this area seemed to be well done, and he did show much effort in his viewpoint regarding end time events...
  12. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Geisler is valuable on bibliology and natural theology, and he is philosophically robust. His views on soteriology, however, are quite misguided indeed.

    That being said, he does aim his work apologetically, and we may be thankful for his faithfulness to demonstrating and defending salvation as being found in Christ alone.

    A little beyond the scope of the OP, but still relevant as to his theological writings: I have to say that while I didn't take his every point, I enjoyed and was helped by his books I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Who Made God?, and Reasons for Faith.
  13. Paul1976

    Paul1976 Puritan Board Freshman

    Several years ago (before becoming reformed), I listened to some of sermons on Calvinism. Several aspects trouble me. He insists on calling standard, historic Calvinists "hypercalvinists" despite knowing better. He also (as mentioned above) confuses the issues between the two sides when he knows better.

    The most troubling thing I heard from him in mis-characterizing Calvinism was comparing humanities rebellion against God as "young boys trespassing into a farmer's pond." In his "analogy," the boys are about to drown and the mean old farmer elects to only save some of them and let the others drown. Anyone who compares humanities treasonous rebellion against a Holy creator to relatively innocent childhood mischief either completely misunderstands the Bible, or (worse) intentionally mis-characterizes it to fit their agenda.

    There are more than enough quality scholars out there who may have imperfect theology, but are at least intellectually honest. Personally, I would not consult anyone as intellectually dishonest as Dr. Geisler.
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I understand, but that's par for the course when you start reading non-Reformed texts.
  15. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Freshman

    You took the words right out of my mouth. If he does not have the scholarship to see something so obvious as the difference between Calvinism and the heresy of hyper-Calvinism (which, if what has been said above is true, he offensively ascribes to all of us "five-pointers," thus labeling us heretics), then I question whether the rest of his scholarship if worth my time.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    That is a g
    That is a good observation, but I have also read theology from non-Reformed/Calvinists who at least were able to properly state just what Calvinists do really believe, and able to show the difference between Calvinists and Hyper ones!
  17. Silas22

    Silas22 Puritan Board Freshman

    His defense on scriptures inerrancy is commendable. I hate to hear about the strawmen and deliberate mischaracterizations.
  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    He has done a commendable work with defending biblical truths of inerrancy/inspiration, but just too bad that he misunderstands Calvinism so badly!
  19. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    The typical Dallas Seminary redefinition of the "P" aside, Geisler is much closer to a 4 point Arminian than he is to any form of Calvinism. (And Roger Olson and others say that you can be an Arminian and hold to eternal security, the protests of Southern Baptist "traditionalists" notwithstanding.)

    The following (which was published in 1980, long predating "Chosen but Free") isn't monergistic at all, which is why Lutzer wrote that Geisler was defending Arminianism:

    Men associated with DTS who can more properly be called "Moderate Calvinists" include Chafer, Ryrie and Lightner.

    The late Robert Duncan Culver was evidently well acquainted with Geisler. In a footnote in his Systematic Theology, (p. 702) Culver writes that "He asked me to review the manuscript [of "Chosen But Free"] before publication privately, which I did, seeking to dissuade the author from publishing it. Dr Geisler is not 'easily entreated' on this issue."

    As for Geisler's Systematic Theology, I think the 4 volume edition is out of print but the one volume edition is still in print. Never having really looked at it, it might be worth picking up if you can get it at a good price. (Given the recent publication of the MacArthur/Mayhue ST volume, it wouldn't be accurate to say that Geisler's is the last (or more recent) defense of dispensationalism in a ST unless he goes into a lot of detail on the 7 (+/-) dispensations, which isn't a dispensational distinctive anyway.)

    So as mentioned above, the value in Geisler's ST may be in the philosophical and apologetical portions of it.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  20. Berean by Grace

    Berean by Grace Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't want to insult Norm Geisler (he is a very intelligent man), but if you read Dr. James R. White's book entitled "The Potter's Freedom" you will see that Dr. Geisler didn't do a very good job in writing his book "Chosen, but Free." Dr. Geisler basically redefined what it was to be a Calvinist. Dr. Geisler is a classic Arminian, not a Calvinist in any form of the definition.
  21. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    that is where the big concern is coming from, as he sets himself up as the being a moderate calvinist, but when I read his theology seems to be pretty much a classic Arminian!
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