Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Giants' Shoulders (Mike Reeves)

On Giants' Shoulders is Mike Reeves' sequel to his The Breeze of the Centuries. The first took us on a tour of great theologians from the early church fathers through to the prospect of the reformation. This picks up where the former left off with Luther and Calvin, Edwards and Owen, Schleiermacher and Barth.

If you think theologians and history are dead places to go - these are the books that can shake your assumptions and open up whole new vistas in your understanding and heart.

Mike tells the story of each theologian and then walks us through their major works. These are accessible guides to those who have gone before us who will keep us fresh and on whose shoulders we do stand. I've heard about half of these books taught at our annual Staff conference and they've opened my eyes to see the gospel freshly, humbled me to learn from others, and corrected several glitches and errors in my theology.

The subjects are chosen for their influence and you can hear the alarm bells in some chapters and the applause in others, though Mike is fairly even handed in his treatments. Particularly refreshing is the insight of how Trinitarian our forefathers were (except perhaps Schleiermacher!), and how clearly they saw the Scriptures testifying to the gospel of Christ.

You can listen to Mike teaching this material on the apostolic church fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards (soon) and Owen at Theology Network. The Breeze of the Centuries and On Giants' Shoulders are roughly the scripts of these talks. I'd start with Athanasius.