Two Weeks with Dr. Millard Erickson

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of spending the last two weeks being taught theology by Dr. Millard J. Erickson.  Dr. Erickson has been teaching theology at the graduate level for nearly fifty years.  He has authored many books and is considered by many to be Carl F. H. Henry’s successor as “the dean of evangelical theologians.”

Dr. Erickson is perhaps known best for his volume of systematic theology, Christian Theology, a work which I’ve used in various courses at three different seminaries now.

The course I’ve been sitting in for four hours a day every day for the last two weeks is titled, “The Last 100 Years of Theology.”  Our course textbook was, A New Handbook of Christian Theologians.

For those interested, a perusal of the notes I managed to type during Dr. Erickson’s lectures will give you a good idea of what I’ve learned.

Dr. Erickson administered a final exam in class today.  It covered quite a bit of material! We were asked about each of the following theological topics from the 20th century:

  • Social Gospel
  • Fundamentalist movement
  • Karl Barth’s view of revelation
  • Paul Tillich’s theological method of correlation and his idea of God as the ground of being
  • Rudolph Bultmann’s employment of the distinction between historie and geschichte and his notion of God as the ground of all being
  • Wolfhart Pannenberg’s notion of revelation as history
  • Jürgen Moltmann and theology as eschatology
  • Process theology’s concept of God as dipolar
  • Liberation theology’s nature of theology
  • African theology and indigenization
  • Death of God theology
  • Communicational role of narrative theology
  • Vatican II and degrees of church membership
  • George Lindbeck’s postliberal thoughts about the nature of doctrine
  • Inclusivism and implicit faith
  • Open theism
  • Annihilationism

The test was no walk in the park, but all of the questions were addressed in both our lectures and assigned reading.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to take a class with Dr. Erickson.  He was a very kind, professional, and sharp theological instructor.  He told our class that we would likely be the last class he ever taught.  What a blessing!

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