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Kelly Kapic: A Little Book for New Theologians


Kelly M. Kapic, A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2012), 126 pages.

Kelly Kapic, Professor of Theological Studies at Covenant College, instructs the student of theology and offers a perspective of wisdom. As the name implies, it is a little book; my first leisurely reading took less than two hours, which is a welcome sign for any novice of theological studies. However, while it is small in size and pages, it is rich and understandable in content. Kapic drops the names of more than fifty theologians and includes a very brief quote from each; quotes that generally emphasize the heart-changing aspect of theology, rather than the intellectual-enrichment or argument-building aspects of theology.

“One of the great dangers of theology is making our faith something we discuss, rather than something that moves us.” –Kelly Kapic

I write this review as a Pentecostal Bible College professor who is always looking for textbooks for his students and I think I have found one here. This is one textbook that should be required reading for the first week of any first college theology course, because it sets the stage with wise advice. Kapic writes, “One of the great dangers of theology is making our faith something we discuss, rather than something that moves us” (64). He counsels the reader to keep faith, reason, and lived experience braided together in order that the student might not become arrogant, argumentative, or disassociated from how authentic theological ideas should inform our lived-out faith. The overarching theme Kapic presents can be viewed as a philosophical how-to approach to the study of theology. He emphasizes the importance of humility, as the principle prerequisite for the study of God, because our understanding will always be less than perfect. In this regard, he urges the student-reader to stretch the boundaries of the understanding to make room for the theological tensions that suspend theological ideas, often times frustrating our human desire to know in full; he challenges us to humbly make room for the mystery of God. Likewise, he also challenges the freshman theologian to be careful to not take their head-filled knowledge back home to sit in judgment of the their lowly church or Sunday school classrooms, as if they now have gained a much superior intellectual vantage point in one short semester. He challenges us all that genuine theology is found more in virtue than in knowledge.

Genuine theology is found more in virtue than in knowledge.

Reviewed by John R. Miller


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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2014

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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