Great Review of Doug Kelly’s New Systematic Theology (Vol. 2)

Michael J. Kruger

Posted on

October 21, 2014

Doug Kelly, the Richard Jordan Professor of Theology here at RTS Charlotte, has just released the second volume of his fantastic systematic theology series: Systematic Theology (Vol. 2): The Beauty of Christ–a Trinitarian Vision (Mentor, 2014).  Although one might think there are enough systematic theologies out there, this volume (and its predecessor) are genuinely unique.  In particular, Dr. Kelly engages the patristic writings with a level of detail that is unmatched by other volumes.  Thus, Kelly roots his theological discussion deeply within the context of church history.

This very point was made by Robert Letham in a great view of Kelly’s book that just came out on The Gospel Coalition.  He observes:

The eagerly awaited second volume of Douglas Kelly’s Systematic Theology does not disappoint. Carrying on from his earlier volume on the Trinity, the professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte approaches the person of Christ from an explicitly trinitarian foundation, focusing on the beauty of God and of Christ. This is a rich and wonderful perspective that is rooted in Scripture yet often overlooked.

Kelly’s overall approach in his project is hugely welcome. He follows the Reformers and Puritans in recognizing the Bible to be the supreme authority but also the past work of the church—in its creeds and confessions, and in its leading and recognized representatives—to be the grid through which Scripture is to be interpreted. This is greatly needed. While Rome has held tradition in equal reverence with the Bible, evangelicalism has largely ignored or rejected tradition. . . By assuming that all truth is limited to a narrow strand of evangelicalism beginning in 1517 or restricted to a small cadre of biblical scholars, evangelical theology has been at best greatly impoverished. Kelly focuses on this point in an important appendix (491–99).

In addition, Letham notes:

Reading this book is stimulating theologically and enriching spiritually. Preachers, teachers, and students alike—besides the proverbial intelligent layperson—cannot fail to benefit from it. Kelly is not only committed to biblical exegesis and an appreciative attitude to the theology of the church in all ages and across denominational barriers—Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox—but he also brings to his task a vast range of reading across disciplinary boundaries. Above all, he writes as a disciple of Christ.

You can check out the whole review here.  Also, don’t forget about Kelly’s prior volume: Systematic Theology (vol. 1): The God Who Is: The Holy Trinity (Mentor, 2008).


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