My first thought as I began to read the opening pages of Phillip Cary’s book “The Meaning of Protestant Theology” was that I had picked up a boring, poorly written book that would be difficult to recommend for an average reader.
That was my impression of the introduction – I thought I was looking at a book written for the very intelligent, scholarly reader, a class into which I do not place myself. I read all the introduction and my opinion did not change. It did not seem fair, however, to judge a book solely by its introduction, so I began chapter 1. I found a readable, interesting essay discussing the work of Plato as assimilated by early Christian writers. This sets the foundation for the book which is designed to follow the thoughts of Plato to Augustine to Luther and the Reformation.
The book is readable and interesting, unlike the introduction. The book will be of interest to those interested in the development of Protestant (Lutheran) theology through history – though the writer clearly states that he has no desire of leaving the reader a devotee of Luther’s teaching; the author clearly states that he is Episcopalian. Not a systematic theology, but clearly rooted in the discipline of historical theology.
Though not knowledgeable in this field, I found the book interesting and relatively easy to read as, to me, an introduction to historical theology. The book probably would not find a home in most local church libraries, though individual pastors with an interest in pre-Christian philosophy, early Christian theology, and the development of early Protestant thought may find it of interest. Most seminaries, both Protestant and Catholic, would find a place for this book in their collections as it begins by exploring the connection between Platonism and Augustine and ends by exploring the connection between Plato, Augustine, and Luther.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.