If I were to suggest a book that should be read by every Christian, this would be one of the first ones. The book covers a broad range of topics on theology in a scholarly manner. Concerning Systematic Theology, the Spiritual Sword gave the following review:
...this book is a survey of significant biblical themes. Beginning with a discussion of inspiration of the Bible, it proceeds through a study of authorship of the first five books of the Old Testament, the supposed priority of the gospel of Mark, the attributes of God, the doctrine of Satan, the nature of man, the virgin birth, the death and sufferings of Christ, the nature of the church, and numerous other topics of vital concern. It is one of the most valuable books available for a serious study of biblical truth.[i]
One of my concerns is that some in the church fail to understand that “educated” men make mistakes. There are numerous instances when you have two highly degreed men on the opposite sides of an issue. Some do not have an understanding of the implications of certain “facts” that they read. For example, if someone says “Scholars believe that Mark was written before the other gospels.” Would we question that? Is it even important? Some may teach that Mark was written first and have no other implication in mind; however, there is a large group of religious scholars that do not respect the inspiration of the Bible and the dates of the completion of the gospel is one of their places of attack. Rex Turner explains the liberals attack on the inspiration of the gospels:
One chief holding of the liberals of the New Testament field of study is the doctrine of the priority of Mark with respect to the synoptic [same common view] gospel records. The liberals hold that the gospel of Mark was written earlier than the gospels of Matthew and Luke; that Mark copied from a source which they labeled Marcus Q; that the gospels of Mathew and Luke were copied from Mark together with the compilation of numerous other sources; and that the two gospels [Matthew and Luke] were completed in the second half of the first century. The findings of those liberals falls under the heading styled, the “Synoptic Problem.”[ii]
There is strong evidence that Matthew was the first gospel written. The order in which the gospels were written is not the issue per se. The issue is whether Matthew had to borrow from Q and Mark to write his gospel or did he write with his own experiences guided by the Holy Spirit? This is an out right attack on the inspiration of the New Testament writers. Can you honestly believe that Matthew, an apostle of Jesus, would have to borrow from Mark (who was not an apostle) and some other documents to write his account?
The book is very well written and the author is eminently qualified to write such a work. Dr. Turner holds a B.A. in history and English from Samford University, an LL.B. from Jones Law School, M.S. degree and Ed.D. from Auburn University. He served as the first president of Faulkner University for 31 years and Southern Christian University for 15 years. He is currently Chancellor of Southern Christian University and Professor of Old Testament. The Gospel Advocate published an issue in honor of his 80+ years of life and service.[iii] He is a great scholar and a kind Christian gentleman.
[i] Allen E. Highers, Editor. Spiritual Sword, Memphis, TN: Getwell Church of Christ, October 1993, Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 48.
[ii] Rex A. Turner, Sr., Systematic Theology, Montgomery, AL: Alabama Christian School of Religion, 1989, pp. 39-40.
[iii] F. Furman Kearley, Editor, Gospel Advocate, Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company, September 1993, Vol. 85, No. 9.
Originally printed in West Virginia Christian, Vol. 7, No. 6, June 2000, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.