Theology as Discipleship

Theology as Discipleship

by Keith L. Johnson


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  • First Things' Year in Books

For many people, the word "theology" evokes something dry, academic, irrelevant and disconnected from the everyday concerns of life. We surely would not say that about God, so why is our talk about God any different?
In this engaging and accessible introduction, Keith Johnson takes a fresh look at theology. He presents the discipline of theology as one of the ways we participate in the life of the triune God. Without suggesting it should be removed from the academy, Johnson argues that theology has to be integrally connected to the traditions and practices of the church. If academic theology is to be genuinely theological, then it has to be carried out in obedience to Jesus Christ and in service to the church.
Unlike other introductions, Theology as Discipleship avoids the usual overview of doctrines according to the creed, which traditionally move from the Trinity to eschatology. Johnson instead explains the content of theology by describing the Christian life—being in Christ, hearing God's Word, sharing the mind of Christ. Theology not only leads to discipleship, but is itself a way of following after Christ in faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830840342
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 11/09/2015
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,207,513
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Keith L. Johnson (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of theology at Wheaton College. He is the author of Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis.

Table of Contents



1. Recovering Theology

Concerns with Theology

What Went Wrong?

Rebuilding the Discipline

2. Being in Christ

Reframing Reality

God's Eternal Plan

Theology by Participation

3. Partnership with Christ

The Pattern of Partnership

Life with Christ

Theology with Christ

4. The Word of God

God and Human Words

God and Written Words

Christ and Scripture

Test Case: Jesus and the Pharisees

Reading with Christ

5. Hearing the Word of God

Reading in Love

Hearing with the Church

Test Case: Circumcision

Theology of the Word

6. The Mind of Christ

The Pattern of Christ's Mind

Imitating Christ

Thinking After Christ

7. Theology in Christ

Subject Index

Scripture Index

What People are Saying About This

J. Todd Billings

"In Theology as Discipleship, Keith Johnson invites readers to inhabit a rich theological landscape as followers of Christ. Johnson's book overflows with wisdom and joy as he shows how Christians of all vocations are called to live in union with Christ, being reshaped by God's Word through the Spirit. This refreshing book is a wonderful theological companion for disciples of Jesus Christ."

Kelly M. Kapic

"Keith Johnson rightly understands that the practices of theology and discipleship are woven together; here he offers wise reflections on how to go about the task under the Word and Spirit and for the sake of the other. He ably points us in the right direction."

Thomas H. McCall

"This is theology that is saturated with Scripture, humbly centered on Christ and the gospel, and earnestly intended for God's people. This is theology for discipleship, and it is truly theology as discipleship. I learned much from reading it, and I was edified and challenged by it. It is a gift to us all."

Roger E. Olson

"This book is the prescription for all Christians who doubt theology's relevance for Christian living—and for all Christians who wonder what theology is about and how it works. Keith Johnson has 'nailed it' with this fine introductory work on the practical relevance of theology for Christian discipleship. Readers with an appreciation for theology will benefit from reading it as well. The chapters on Scripture express an enlightened evangelical approach to the Bible as the living Word of God."

Kimlyn J. Bender

"Keith Johnson has done a great service not only for the academic study of theology but for the church. In a time when the church's proclamation of its faith and the academy's reflection upon faith seem to be deeply divided, Johnson builds a bridge across the chasm. He shows not only why theology is necessary for the church but also why it can only find its true meaning when joined to the church's life as a form of Christian discipleship. Drawing upon the riches of the church's past yet grounded solidly in Scripture, this book expounds and reflects upon the gospel as the mystery of God's will that was foreordained in Christ and does so in a way that is not only deeply learned and careful, but also caring and clear. For those wondering why they should bother with theology at all, they will find here a wise and compassionate answer. For those who turn theology into a practice of intellectual theatrics or point of pride, they will find here an incisive and needed corrective. This book is, in short, a wonderful and exemplary primer to the task of theology that deserves many readers."

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