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Christian Theology, 3rd Edition

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Leading evangelical scholar Millard Erickson offers a new edition of his bestselling textbook, now substantially updated and revised throughout. This edition takes into account feedback from professors and students and reflects current theological conversations, with added material on the atonement, justification, and divine foreknowledge. Erickson's comprehensive introduction is biblical, contemporary, moderate, and fair to various positions, and it applies doctrine to Christian life and ministry.

Part 1: Studying God
1. What Is Theology?
2. The Possibility of Theology
3. The Method of Theology
4. Contextualizing Theology
5. Two Special Issues: Biblical Criticism and Theological Language
Part 2: Knowing God
6. God's Universal Revelation
7. God's Particular Revelation
8. The Preservation of the Revelation: Inspiration
9. The Dependability of God's Word: Inerrancy
10. The Power of God's Word: Authority
Part 3: What God Is Like
11. The Greatness of God
12. The Goodness of God
13. God's Nearness and Distance: Immanence and Transcendence
14. God's Three-in-Oneness: The Trinity
Part 4: What God Does
15. God's Plan
16. God's Originating Work: Creation
17. God's Continuing Work: Providence
18. Evil and God's World: A Special Problem
19. God's Special Agents: Angels
Part 5: Humanity
20. Introduction to the Doctrine of Humanity
21. The Origin of Humanity
22. The Image of God in the Human
23. The Constitutional Nature of the Human
24. The Universality of Humanity
Part 6: Sin
25. The Nature of Sin
26. The Source of Sin
27. The Results of Sin
28. The Magnitude of Sin
29. The Social Dimension of Sin
Part 7: The Person of Christ
30. Contemporary Issues in Christological Method
31. The Deity of Christ
32. The Humanity of Christ
33. The Unity of the Person of Christ
34. The Virgin Birth
Part 8: The Work of Christ
35. Introduction to the Work of Christ
36. Theories of the Atonement
37. The Central Theme of the Atonement
38. The Extent of the Atonement
Part 9: The Holy Spirit
39. The Person of the Holy Spirit
40. The Work of the Holy Spirit
41. Recent Issues Regarding the Holy Spirit
Part 10: Salvation
42. Conceptions of Salvation
43. The Antecedent to Salvation: Predestination
44. The Beginning of Salvation: Subjective Aspects
45. The Beginning of Salvation: Objective Aspects
46. The Continuation of Salvation
47. The Completion of Salvation
48. The Means and Extent of Salvation
Part 11: The Church
49. The Nature of the Church
50. The Role of the Church
51. The Government and Unity of the Church
52. The Initiatory Rite of the Church: Baptism
53. The Continuing Rite of the Church: The Lord's Supper
Part 12: The Last Things
54. Introduction to Eschatology
55. Individual Eschatology
56. The Second Coming and Its Consequents
57. Millennial and Tribulational Views
58. Final States
Closing Thoughts


"Millard Erickson's Christian Theology is irenic in tone while incisive in critique, readable in format while substantial in content, and always faithful to Scripture and to the service of God's church. The third edition will guide another generation through the ever-changing context in which theology must be done."

Gerry Breshears, professor of theology, Western Seminary, Portland

"Erickson has again given the church a clear-minded, well-stated, comprehensive expression of evangelical orthodoxy that is thoroughly informed for ministry in the twenty-first century. We are surely in his debt."

John D. Morrison, professor of theological studies, Liberty University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Praise for previous editions:

"This book is a very learned presentation of Christian doctrine on the basis of Scripture but in continuing conversation with the tradition of the church as well as with modern philosophical and theological contributions. While affirming the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, its form of argument is not fundamentalist but open and available to everyone interested in the issues of Christian doctrine. The author takes account of critical historical exegesis. His book constitutes an excellent example of the evangelical outlook on the Christian faith and a basis for dialogue with other theological positions."

Wolfhart Pannenberg†, University of Munich

"Millard Erickson's Christian Theology has established itself as the most widely used and most generally useful of modern Protestant surveys of Christian truth. Robustly evangelical, essentially conservative, thoroughly contemporary, firmly Baptist, gently Calvinistic, and cautiously post-tribulationist premillennial, its fair-minded breadth and meticulous analysis of options have won it consistent praise. Now updated, augmented, and provided with study aids, its usefulness as a text for students and a resource for pastors and lay leaders will be even greater. It is altogether a masterly piece of work."

J. I. Packer†, Regent College

The Author

  1. Millard J. Erickson

    Millard J. Erickson

    Millard J. Erickson (PhD, Northwestern University) has served as a pastor and seminary dean and has taught at several schools, including Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Western Seminary (Portland and San Jose), and Baylor University. He has also...

    Continue reading about Millard J. Erickson


"Christian Theology is not a work of 'constructive' theology; it is, in the best sense of the term, an introduction to theology. . . . Erickson shaped the work in order to be used well in a classroom setting, complete with helpful chapter outlines, summaries, objectives, and study questions. . . . A number of updates strengthen this third edition, many in response to professors and students who offered the author feedback from their use of the second edition. . . . Erickson has added new content in the form of chapters, sections, paragraphs, and footnotes to important areas of theology, reflecting the continued work he has done in the past fifteen years since the second edition. . . . One of the most valuable characteristics of the book is the author's desire to give students real tools and processes to use in life and ministry. While other systematic theologies include a section on process, Erickson's is not brief or simplistic but detailed and rigorous enough that the theological student is guided more thoroughly in her pursuit. . . . From a design perspective, the third edition is a dramatic improvement in its readability. . . . Christian Theology remains an excellent choice for professors to introduce their students to Christian theology and to love and serve the Triune God more deeply. This updated edition is only an improvement upon the second edition."

Matt Crutchmer,


"[Erickson] has formed his theology in conversation with the key voices of greater Christendom (including in this edition more voices from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia). . . . Moreover, he has kept his finger on the pulse of current cultural trends and developments in the humanities and social sciences with which Christian theology remains in dialog. . . . Of particular value is Erickson's ability to articulate clearly, accurately, and fairly often complex theological subjects without being dismissive or combative. . . . For those interested in a one-volume work that is current in the discipline, biblically focused, conversant with ancient and contemporary voices, and fair, I highly recommend Erickson for seminarians, pastors, and inquisitive lay persons. In many ways this excellent work offers more than an 'introduction' to Christian Theology."

Robert W. Canoy,

Review and Expositor

"This work is [Erickson's] magnum opus, and one that has been well received and widely used for several decades. . . . It [is] student and teacher friendly. . . . Throughout the work, Erickson has updated the sources cited and interacted with current literature. These changes are beneficial. The strengths of Erickson's work remain in this edition. He presents alternative views fairly and accurately. His theological conclusions are well supported from Scripture and the Christian tradition. His writing is understandable and clear, accessible to those without theological training, and also helpful to those who do have such education. He deals with the doctrines of the Christian faith with significant breadth and depth. If a student, pastor, teacher, or educated layperson does not own a single-volume evangelical systematic theology text (and everyone should), this is the one to buy. It is comprehensive, clear, and encompassing of the essential doctrines of Christianity."

Glenn R. Kreider,

Bibliotheca Sacra

Praise for Previous Editions

"This may well be the best systematic theology available."

L. Russ Bush,

Southwestern Journal of Theology

"Belongs in the personal library of every evangelical pastor, teacher, and student."

David Dockery,

Grace Theological Journal

"Destined to be the major beginning text in systematic theology for evangelicals in the twenty-first century."

Charles Chaney,

Review and Expositor

"This is a good place to look for a concise statement of varying theological positions from one who affirms the inerrancy of the Bible."

Alan D. Strange,

New Horizons

"Erickson has produced a work that will benefit both pastors and laypeople looking for a contemporary, thorough, and accessible summary of historic Christian teachings."

Presbyterian Layman

"There is more than enough to appreciate and agree with in the book to make it worthwhile to own. It is more for a seminary level than undergraduate, and more for the person who is interested in a variety of views instead of just one. But most anyone who reads the book will benefit from the scholarship and insights to be gained."

Richard A. Fordyce

Stone-Campbell Journal

"Easily recognized as the most popular modern evangelical textbook for seminary-level systematic theology."

Robert D. Bell

Biblical Viewpoint