Defined systematic theology as that branch of theology which studies the whole of Scripture and presents the results on the basis of logical connection, detailing what the scriptures mean in our contemporary context. This is the greatest strength of Feinberg’s work on the Doctrine of God. This doctrine has been brushed over in my life and “No One Like Him” is the first serious discourse I have read about the Doctrine. It raises the question of why this doctrine is often taken for granted.
The question being asked
Feinberg’s task in the book is to give a constructive overview (understated) of who God is, in terms of our contemporary culture. Constructive and contemporary are key elements in the book as Feinberg takes on a unique approach. Instead of a flat-out rejection of any theological system that contradicts itself or his own system, Feinberg looks at what the issues of such systems are. Within process theology or the open view of God, the driving force, driven by contemporary culture, is a highly relational God. Feinberg brings out the value of such false systems, and then clarifies how a refined conservative approach fits the needs of contemporary culture. God is King, but He is the God who cares. While not purposely bringing a balance of two conflicting views, in each section Feinberg seeks to answer properly the questions being raised. This approach leads to a logical approach within the book.
Oddly, another strength of the book is its size. One reading is not adequate to review this book as its flow of thought builds a solid argument for God. While the spirit of communication is to state one’s point as briefly as possible, making a case for a God who cares and is King is not something that can be done in a theological journal or a Two hundred page, easy read. In a contemporary culture where people generalize, the need to give ‘exhaustive’ coverage is critical in developing a subject, especially in dealing with a infinite person such as God.
The main Point
The conclusion Fienberg reaches is one of both/and. God is king, and God cares. The conclusion, while the answer for contemporary society, does not fit with how society thinks today. It is today’s culture which polarizes issues, not seeing how they fit together as a whole, resulting in the growing popularity of process theology. God as sovereign and man as a free agent seem incompatible, unless one thinks in a both/and mindset. Great comfort comes from knowing that one need only to prove the possibility of something, not the logical necessity of something. Classical thought, while solid, is a system derived by men with inherent problems.
The bottom line
After reading this book, it begs the question of why there is not a class dealing with God exclusively. It seems that since the concept of God is so immense. As Christians we gloss over the topic and move onto more tangible things, like Christology. Perhaps it is this avoidance of focusing on God that is the root of church decline in North America. In listening to the testimonies of those brothers and sisters undergoing persecution, it would seem that they have a better grasp of who God is than we do. A solid look at God would do us all good, as there truly is no one like Him.