Monday, 9 December 2013

Roger Olson on Molly Worthen's "Apostles of Reason"

I see that Roger Olson, Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics at Baylor University, has posted an overall favorable review of Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason on his blog. I commend Olson for looking past Worthen's comments about his "confusing" and "muddled" advice on pp. 258-59 of her book. I remember reading this passage in Worthen's book and wondering how he would react to her comments.

Let me also take this opportunity to recommend Olson's new book, The Journey of Modern Theology: From Reconstruction to Deconstruction. I picked up his book at the AAR/SBL conference in Baltimore last month and have been reading bits and pieces of it ever since.

Olson is an excellent writer, especially when it comes to writing for students and a lay audience. While I have benefited from the information in his co-authored book with Stanley Grenz, 20th-Century Theology, I would not feel comfortable using this text at a secular state university since it is obviously aimed at an evangelical audience. In The Journey of Modern Theology, Olson admits to having an agenda in 20th-Century Theology, and therefore wanted to rewrite an entirely new book that is more even-handed in its approach.

From what I have read so far, I could easily picture using The Journey of Modern Theology for my course on "Modern Christian Thought" at some point in the future. As I have written about in a past post on "Teaching Modern Christian Thought" at this blog, it is very difficult to find a textbook on modern Christian thought that is readable, contained in one volume, and not overly critical of traditional Christianity or unfair to Liberal Protestantism. I believe that Olson has written one of the best textbooks for courses on modern Christian thought that could be used at a variety of institutions.

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