Evangelical Theology. By Michael F. Bird. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. 912 pages. Hardback, $49.99.
In his latest theological contribution, Evangelical Theology, Michael F. Bird attempts to redefine the manner in which theologians approach systematic theology. His approach intentionally places the gospel at the center, using this evangel as the lens through which he views theology, and as the unifying factor which binds the various systematic categories together. He writes that, “the gospel permeates all other doctrines, it defines the church’s mission, and it constitutes our identity as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ” (21).
The strength of this work, then, hinges upon the herculean task of defining the substance, width, and breadth of the gospel by this self-described, “ex-Baptist post-Presbyterian Anglican” (23). Whatever strengths or weaknesses exist in this work will be derived primarily from this definition and the manner in which it frames the discussion throughout.
The gospel is the announcement that God’s kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah, in fulfillment of Israel’s Scriptures. The gospel evokes faith, repentance, and discipleship; its accompanying effects include salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit (52).
This, then, is the gospel that drives Bird’s Evangelical Theology.
I cannot provide comment on the majority of his work, this review is wholly based upon the Prolegomena, yet it is clear that this is not merely just another entry into systematic theology. With his distinct and unique perspective and methodology, Bird’s contribution should generate significant and helpful conversations throughout the evangelical world.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Zondervan Koinonia Blog. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.