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Practicing Christian Doctrine

An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically

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This introductory theology text explains key concepts in Christian doctrine and shows that doctrine is integrally linked to the practical realities of Christian life. In order to grow into more faithful practitioners of Christianity, we need to engage in the practice of learning doctrine and understanding how it shapes faithful lives. Beth Felker Jones helps students articulate basic Christian doctrines, think theologically so they can act Christianly in a diverse world, and connect Christian thought to their everyday life of faith.

Practicing Christian Doctrine, written from a solidly evangelical yet ecumenically aware perspective, models a way of doing theology that is generous and charitable. It attends to history and contemporary debates and features voices from the global church. Sidebars made up of illustrative quotations, key Scripture passages, classic hymn texts, and devotional poetry punctuate the chapters. The book will benefit professors and students in introductory theology courses as well as theologically interested laity and clergy.

Introduction: To Practice Doctrine
1. Speaking of God: Theology and the Christian Life
2. Knowing God: Doctrines of Revelation and Scripture
3. The God We Worship: Doctrine of the Trinity
4. A Delightful World: Doctrines of Creation and Providence
5. Reflecting God's Image: Theological Anthropology
6. The Personal Jesus: Christology
7. The Work of Jesus Christ: Soteriology
8. The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life: Pneumatology
9. Church in a Diverse World: Ecclesiology
10. Resurrection Hope: Eschatology
Benediction: A Prayer for the Practice of Christian Doctrine


"Practicing Christian Doctrine is a timely and important reminder that doctrines are not merely ideas to be debated but truths to be done. Jones's evangelical and ecumenical approach to each doctrine is also most welcome: she does a good job balancing the centripetal force of evangelicals' focus on the gospel with the centrifugal force of the gospel's historical reception in many places and times. Practicing Christian Doctrine joins the short list of one-volume introductions to Christian theology that I am happy to recommend."

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Beth Felker Jones's Practicing Christian Doctrine is a wise, well-written introduction to the wonder and joy of Christian doctrine and to the importance of actually practicing what Christians affirm to be true. I can't think of a better text for introducing Christians to the riches of our theological heritage and to the call to live out that legacy well in the world today."

Christopher A. Hall, president of Renovaré

"Beth Felker Jones has written an introductory theology for evangelical Christians that affirms what is praiseworthy about this distinctive movement within Christianity, while at the same time drawing on the rich tradition offered by other voices and movements in the global church to enrich and nurture their understanding of the gospel. Written in an accessible and winsome style, this book will be a valuable teaching tool for years to come."

Barry Harvey, professor of theology, Honors College and the Graduate Faculty in Religion, Baylor University

"A good theology text will outline the contours of doctrine with clarity and verve. Jones does an admirable job of this, introducing the rich tradition of Christian thought across the ages and around the globe. However, she goes beyond the 'what' of theology to draw the reader into the 'So what?' with lively reminders of the joy and gratitude that should permeate theological exploration. Perhaps the most helpful feature of this book, though, is that it never loses sight of the 'Now what?' question, as Jones embeds evocative indicators of how Christian thought is to be embodied and lived."

Steven Wilkens, professor of philosophy and ethics, Azusa Pacific University

"In Practicing Christian Doctrine, Beth Felker Jones presents a rich and engaging survey of Christian doctrine, showing how good theology is to be not merely believed but also lived. As she demonstrates in each chapter concerning every major doctrine of the faith, orthodox theology should nourish spiritual growth and inspire faithful Christian living. I highly recommend this book, whether as a classroom text or for personal use."

James S. Spiegel, Taylor University

The Author

  1. Beth Felker Jones

    Beth Felker Jones

    Beth Felker Jones (PhD, Duke University) is professor of theology at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois. She previously taught at Wheaton College. She is the author of numerous books, including Faithful: A Theology of Sex, God the Spirit:...

    Continue reading about Beth Felker Jones


"Amongst the plethora of introductory texts on Christian theology, this volume stands out as one that explicitly attempts to re-unify the knowing and practicing of Christian doctrine. . . . This work is a much-needed introductory text, as it succeeds in demonstrating that Christian doctrine and the practice thereof is not only possible but also necessary. . . . Felker Jones is to be commended for writing an accessible, but not simplistic, introduction to Christian doctrine that provides the reader with right belief and right practice, all the while situating herself in, and writing from, the Evangelical tradition, drawing upon ecumenical resources as needed. . . . This work would make an excellent introductory text for undergraduate studies in Christian theology or even in an ecclesial setting amongst educated laity."

Bradley M. Penner,

Expository Times

"Jones has offered a well structured, clearly articulated, and accessible introduction to doctrinal theology that leans toward the ecumenical church while pivoting on her own evangelical tradition. She introduces and explains complex theological conversations in an inviting way, often using texts from hymnody, poetry, and prayers to demonstrate connections between doctrine and the everyday practice of faith. Practicing Christian Doctrine is a lively introduction to an important and ongoing conversation. . . . There is much to commend in Practicing Christian Doctrine. It is accessible enough to be used in congregations to introduce doctrinal theology and generate discussions about it. It is also deep enough to be used as a supplementary text in an introductory course on theology, as it is on my campus this semester."

Benjamin T. Conner,


"Texts on Christian doctrine have a reputation for being an unfortunate combination of dry, argumentative, and pretentious. Beth Felker Jones' introduction to theology and doctrine for practical ministry is happily none of those things. Her book navigates sometimes complex and difficult territory adeptly and her writing style is clear and interesting. . . . As a foundational textbook for the process of thinking theologically this book shines. . . . The book would work very well as an introductory text for theology and doctrine, and would serve as a solid launching point into more practical material. . . . I enjoyed this book very much, and very well may adopt it for an upper-level practical theology course. The text is an accessible, clear, balanced, and gracious introduction to theological thinking and the joy of doctrine."

Brian Baldwin,

Journal of Youth Ministry

"Jones has written one of the most concise, reader-friendly, and innovative introductions to theology in recent scholarship. . . . Jones's book succeeds on numerous levels. She offers the church a well-rounded, engaging, and highly informative introduction to theology. . . . Jones establishes herself as a first-rate evangelical theologian who actively incorporates ecumenical and global perspectives into a robust and informative systematic theology. . . . Jones breathes new life into an old genre and this reviewer highly recommends it. This book will be of benefit to students of theology, pastors seeking a theological refresher, laypeople interested in attaining a basic but thorough understanding of Christian doctrine, and professors of theology searching for a new introductory text for their students."

Benjamin D. Espinoza,

Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

"It is always nice to come across an ecumenical work that highlights points of similarity and unity over-against hostile differences. This work is unashamedly evangelical. Yet, Beth Jones is content on leaving the door as wide open to interpretation as historical Christian Orthodoxy will allow. She accomplishes this task by repeatedly pulling from Christian history as well as current global thought in nearly every section. . . . This text is a valuable work that should have a home in undergrad and graduate classrooms as well as in the hands of seasoned ministers and laity alike. All who are in search of a helpful introductory theological text that will require response have found it in Practicing Christian Doctrine."

Logan Patriquin,

Asbury Journal

"Jones's book accomplishes two ends. First, it introduces central Christian doctrines for a Protestant evangelical audience. Second, she rehabilitates an historic view of doctrine that connects beliefs with practices. . . . Jones uses helpful apparatuses throughout, including excerpts from key biblical passages, notable Christian figures, and even quotations from poets and hymns to support and illustrate theological arguments. It is reasonable in length (240 pgs.), charitable in tone, nuanced when needed, and accessible to many. It would be ideal for first or second-year college students, the training of church leaders (particularly those in teaching roles), and believers entering into Protestant evangelical churches from non-evangelical backgrounds."

Jackson Watts,

Helwys Society Forum

"Jones's book can serve as a helpful introduction to Christian theology for undergraduate students or for a Sunday School class."

Shaun C. Brown,

Stone-Campbell Journal