Norman Geisler on Theology

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Plain Old Bill, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    I'm very close with my money so before I spend any I would like some input on Giesler's books on Theology.I have heard some vague critism of this set but nothing serious.What do you think?Also please let me know if your opinion is based on an amill,pre-mill or post tribulation point of view.

    [ September 12, 2005, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: DHK ]
     
  2. church mouse guy

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    I think that Norman Giesler is very good but I do not know what his eschatology is. He probably is a dispensationalist.
     
  3. Humblesmith

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    I can speak as a student of Dr. Geisler's. I am currently in one of his Systematic Theology classes, via extention. Here's an overview.

    Norman Geisler is one of the few true "classical" theologians today, in the sense that he has read and digested and evaluated every single theologian, philosopher, and major teacher in history. Therefore, he takes a view that tries to be extremely comprehensive. He covers much more ground than almost any other theologian.

    His speciality in life has been apologetics, in a very broad sense......in his life, he has defended orthodox Christianity from every conceivable attack, from both outside and inside the church. Therefore for each point of his theology, he not only says what is true, but also says WHY it is true, what the major disagreements and heresies have been over the centuries, why their views are false, and what the major orthodox theologians have said. I know of no other work that has done this.

    Further, since he is a student of philosophy, he knows that most heresies start with poor philosophy. He therefore deals with the philosophical issues in theology. Besides the formal philosophical foundations, he also covers such as issues as hermeneutics, linguistics, methodology, proofs for God, etc.

    In theology proper, he attempts to create an exhaustive list of every attribute of God, a total of about 2 dozen attributes of God. And again, for each, he deals with biblical support, major disagreements, and historical perspective.

    In short, I know of no other theology that has the breadth and depth of his. Geisler deals with every major issue that has ever arisen in theology. He's human, and it's not perfect.....on a few points I'm not sure I agree. As for readability, you'll find some portions easy to read and others difficult. The philosophical and apologetic parts will be unusual to you if you're not accustomed to such things. Overall, I'd say it's a very, very good work. I highly recommend it.

    As for eschatology, he is dispensational. However, I've read the first two volumes, and skimmed the third, and off the top of my head I can't remember anywhere that he deals with this in the first three volumes. All the end times stuff is in Vol. 4, which was the last to be published, and was supposed to be available only just in the last few weeks. So whether you disagree with his eschatology or not, I promise you the rest will be beneficial. And regardless, if Vol. 4 follows the pattern of the first three, it will include an exhaustive list of end times views and an evaluation of each.

    In general, people who criticize Norman Geisler often do not realize the significance of his classical theology and philosophical perspectives. He does not always approach issues using the same terms and systems that theologians have used in the last 100 to 300 years. Further, much of what he's fighting is the theological battle that will arise in the next decade, based on trends he sees in cutting edge thinkers.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Humblesmith

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    Oh, yeah. He's also not a hyper-dispensationalist, and does not hold to many of the more unusual teachings from that camp. He said he wrote a critique of hyper-dispensationalism for Vol. 4.
     
  5. Marcia

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    I am also a student of Dr. Geisler's. He is a clear thinker and great teacher. I highly recommend his books.
     
  6. ChurchBoy

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    Does Geisler offer online courses? If so I would be interested.
     
  7. JackRUS

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    Ditto on Dr. Geisler.

    I might recommend his Apologetis Library on CD-ROM.

    http://www.logos.com/products/details/1756
    I have this and it can be cut & pasted from, and this is a great buy at 50 bucks. I paid more two years ago.

    I also have his Baker Encyclopedia on Christian Apologetics & his Roman Catholics and Evangelicals in book form.

    For those that may be wondering I would say that his theology is pretty classic Baptist. He is not a Calvinist.
     
  8. JackRUS

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  9. paidagogos

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    It largely depends on how you are planning to use the books. Giesler’s approach seems to be slanted toward apologetics, his specialty. He is not devotional and he is not highly technical—a balanced act. At times, he may lean too much toward philosophical theology for my taste even though I read philosophy—I just like to keep my philosophy and theology separate (It’s rather like mixing together your corn and peas on your plate instead of eating and tasting them separately). IMHO, he is orthodox and sound. As with anyone, you will find points of disagreement. To the best of my knowledge, Norm is dispensational. He is, I think, close to Charles Ryrie in his eschatological views.

    One thing that I do appreciate is his strong stand against Open Theology. He was courageous and forthright even when it cost him some opposition and criticism. Also, he has stood up to James White. Giesler is not overly Calvinistic.

    Giesler is sound on the matter of creationism and he doesn’t buy into this intelligent design bit or theistic evolution unless he has changed recently.

    He espouses good evangelical theology. I would favorably compare him to Evans with a more apologetic flavor. He writes well and read easily which is something positive to say when reading theology that is usually pedantic and dull.

    In sum, Giesler is worth reading. However, do not read him exclusively. Read the books of other good men too for balance.
     
  10. Humblesmith

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    Two possible sources:
    Dr. Geisler is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary & Bible College. The schools offer classes that you can take from home, using DVDs of class lectures and email and telephone. They also offer one week "modules" where you can take a whole class in a week. Go to www.ses.edu

    Also, you can get the audio portion of a few of his classes at www.impactapologetics.com
     
  11. ChurchBoy

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    Two possible sources:
    Dr. Geisler is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary & Bible College. The schools offer classes that you can take from home, using DVDs of class lectures and email and telephone. They also offer one week "modules" where you can take a whole class in a week. Go to www.ses.edu

    Also, you can get the audio portion of a few of his classes at www.impactapologetics.com
    </font>[/QUOTE]Thanks!

    I checked out his SES college website. Their goal is to have true online coures by 2006. One can get a Bcachelor of Arts degree from SES through their External Studies program. I am definitely interested! [​IMG]
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

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    I wish to thank everyone who has responded.It would be far to late for me to read Giesler exclsively.Years ago I read Hodge and some Strong,more recently I have read some Calvin(Institutes),Stanley Derickson,Erickson,& Understanding Christian Theology with Swindoll & Zuck as general editors.Also read Ryrie,Evans,Chafer/Walvoord,Wilmington, and Lockyer for doctrinal studies.
    My thought was whether to go with Grudem or Giesler as my next study.I think you have convinced me to go with Giesler.Thankyou.
     
  13. Paul33

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    What is the name of the Giesler text that come so highly recommended?
     
  14. ituttut

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    He will stand up and be counted with the faithful. A couple or so years ago he withdrew from The Evangelical Theological Society. He still actually believes the Bible is the Word of God. There are fewer and fewer men today that will “stand against man” and their never ending quest to have the Bible reduced to a composite of compromises of what “mighty man” thinks the Bible should say.

    This is evidently a man that is more interested in the Word of God than staying in the good graces of those departing from the doctrine of a God inspired book, and the only one, The Bible.

    As to your request to identify myself in regards to millennium, I'm preMil and believe in the dispensational gospel that Christ Jesus gave to Paul from heaven. For further identification on what I believe, what ever you label the heavenly appointed Apostle Paul, you are free to call me what ever you call Paul. Of course, I believe that description in a word is known as "Christian". Christian faith, ituttut
     
  15. Plain Old Bill

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    It's a set of 4 volumes on Theology.You can find it in your local Christian bookstore or online.You may purchase the set one volume at a time.
     
  16. Paul33

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    Thanks POB.
     
  17. Deacon

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    I'm not overly impressed with Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology (2002).

    He covers many topics well; only a few of them well.

    His introduction covers the philosophical foundations of our beliefs very well but it's quite dry reading.

    His participation in developing "The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy" would have me believe that the section on the Bible would be enthralling but the book he edited (titled "Inerrancy" -1980) is much more dynamic and readable.

    He devotes a few pages to confronting the errors commonly found in extreme fundamentalist circles; the KJVO view and anti-intellectualism; only touching upon the root cause and the effects associated with the beliefs.

    My special interest is in the Creation/origins debates. Although one volume is entitled, “God/Creation”, he writes only about 250 pages on the creation topic and the controversies revolving about it. None of it is very eye-opening.
    Geisler appears to support Old-Earth creationism but fails to integrate the belief into a full biblical cosmology, waffling on the world-wide flood.
    Unfortunately I find that the common problem with many pastors and theologians is a poor comprehension of the issues associated with the controversy. Sadly here, he seems to have read only the most simple of explanations and dropped any serious interaction with the dilemmas involved in each world-view.

    In four thick volumes, I'm not sure Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology is worth all the space it takes up on the book-shelf.

    Rob
     
  18. Humblesmith

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    Indeed, you can find specialized books that dive deeper into specific topics. But the four volumes cover about 2700 pages.....one could always expect more, I suppose. And it is titled "Systematic Theology", not something else, such as a creation evidence text. In my view, 250 pages of creation is more than adequate, especially when he summarizes the best arguments for and against young earth and old earth. Further, you won't find another text that summarizes such a wide variety of related topics, including creation, logic, hermeneutics, KJVO, innerancy, linguistics, etc.

    And I may be mistaken, but I think Geisler provides the first ever hermeneutic system for interpreting General Revelation.

    But you are correct......you can pick any single topic and probably find more exhaustive info on that topic somewhere. But no other systematic theology has what this one has.
     
  19. Deacon

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    Correction to my post above:
    One line should read: "He covers many topics well; only a few of them very well." I missed a superlative.
    I must have missed that, I'll have to re-read that part.
    Interesting, verrry interesting....

    Rob
     

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