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Retrieving Eternal Generation

Zondervan (Author) , Fred Sanders (Editor) , Scott R. Swain (Editor)
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Although the doctrine of eternal generation has been affirmed by theologians of nearly every ecclesiastical tradition since the fourth century, it has fallen on hard times among evangelical theologians since the nineteenth century. The doctrine has been a structural element in two larger doctrinal complexes: Christology and the Trinity. The neglect of the doctrine of eternal generation represents a great loss for constructive evangelical Trinitarian theology.

Retrieving the doctrine of eternal generation for contemporary evangelical theology calls for a multifaceted approach. Retrieving Eternal Generation addresses (1) the hermeneutical logic and biblical bases of the doctrine of eternal generation; (2) key historical figures and moments in the development of the doctrine of eternal generation; and (3) the broad dogmatic significance of the doctrine of eternal generation for theology. The book addresses both the common modern objections to the doctrine of eternal generation and presents the productive import of the doctrine for twenty-first century evangelical theology. Contributors include Michael Allen, Lewis Ayres, D. A. Carson, Oliver Crisp, and more.


The creedal doctrine that the Son of God was 'begotten of the Fatherbefore all worlds' is a notion that is often misunderstood or else malignedby many contemporary theologians. In this context, Swain and Sanders havebrought together an impressive collection of essays from across the theologicaldisciplines in order to elucidate and defend this linchpin Trinitariandoctrine. The book's coherence lies not only in the sum of its parts but alsoin the synthetic nature of its individual chapters. This is retrieval theologyat its best--carefulin its treatment of the historical sources and relevant inits theological import. -- R. Lucas Stamps, assistant professor of Christian studies, Anderson University

Retrieval is an important part of the task systematic theology faces today.In Retrieving Eternal Generation, Scott Swain and Fred Sanders, along withtheir fellow contributors, render a great service to the church and theology.In the midst of a fierce and sometimes confused debate over the doctrineof the Trinity, this excellent collection of essays provides a careful biblical,historical, and conceptual analysis that helps uncover the profound richnessof the classic understanding of the Son's eternal generation from the Father.Retrieving Eternal Generation brings together some of the best of biblical,patristic, and doctrinal theology in a convincing case for a doctrine thatis unjustly accused of being overly metaphysical or Greek, among otherdeprecating terms. It shows that, to the contrary, this doctrine is vital forproper confession of the triune God. -- Dolf te Velde, assistant professor of systematic theology, Theological University Kampen

In contemporary Trinitarian theology, conservative Christians have alltoo often been moving in one of two directions: either inadvertentlyundermining the full divinity of the Son--therebyturning Christianityinto a unitarianism--orinadvertently distinguishing the divine persons inways that are logically tritheistic. In response, Swain and Sanders have puttogether an important and profound volume whose timing simply couldnot be better. -- Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

The Christian teaching of the eternal generation of the Son has from thebeginning engendered detailed scrutiny and fierce opposition, and again inthe present, the doctrine is causing great controversy. By way of response,Swain and Sanders have gathered together for this volume a range of expertsfrom the fields of biblical exegesis, church history, and systematic theologyto consider this teaching in detail. The result is a powerful and dynamicdefence of the doctrine, insisting vigorously upon its scriptural, traditional,and dogmatic importance. At a time of much doctrinal diversity and uncertainty,this book lucidly sets out a salutary and welcome account of thisvenerable teaching and of its central significance for faithful Christian belief. -- Paul T Nimmo, King’s Chair of Systematic Theology, University of Aberdeen

Retrieving Eternal Generation is a vital gift to evangelical theology. The variousauthors provide stimulating biblical exegesis, hermeneutical breadth,historical expertise, and theological depth. Respectfully but courageouslyengaging the challengers of this classic doctrine, they transcend polemicsto contribute fresh dogmatic insight. I will be referring to several of theseessays again and again. -- Daniel J. Treier, Knoedler Professor of Theology, Wheaton College Graduate School

Retrieving Eternal Generation is an encouraging display of how biblical studies,church history, and systematic theology can work together to the glory ofGod, recovering from the past and commending for today the confessionof Jesus Christ as the 'only begotten' Son of the Father, Light from Light,very God from very God. -- Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

It is essential to our true understanding of the triune God that we be clearabout the biblical and dogmatic basis for our confession. This book bringstogether an impressive array of world-class theologians whose Scholarshipis matched by their godliness addressing one of the key components of thattask; the basis of our knowledge of relations in God. -- Dr. Liam Goligher, senior minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA

  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 304
  • Format: Softcover
  • ISBN: 9780310537878
  • Release: November 21, 2017