This is one of the first systematic theologies written from a believer's church--chiefly an Anabaptist-Mennonite--perspective. Dr. Finger develops his themes throughout the volume in careful dialogue with Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and other historic approaches.
The eschatological approach taken by Finger does not represent a fixation on future events. Rather, it represents a method of inquiry based on the early Christian conviction that the 'last things' had already occurred through Jesus, even though their effects were not yet fully realized. Chief among these were the resurrection of the dead, the outpouring of the Spirit, the coming of God's kingdom, and the defeat of the powers of evil.
After outlining this vantage point, Volume I considered eschatology, revelation, and the work of Christ in its light. Volume II begins with anthropology. Jesus' human work provides the norm for authentic human being. Justification comes next and is considered as the eschatological revelation and actualization of God's righteousness through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
After treating the dynamics of personal sanctification, Dr. Finger explores the context within which it is pursued: the church. His ecclesiology begins with mission, including its approach to non-Christian religions and the sociopolitical realm.
Volume II ends where most systematic theologies begin: with God, including the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ.
"Thomas N. Finger has undertaken an important task that is rarely attempted: the production of a constructive systematic theology informed by judicious dialogue with current biblical scholarship. Finger's methodological decision to adopt an 'eschatological approach' enables him to work formally as well as materially from within a perspective shaped by the NT writers; his innovative organization of the loci of Christian doctrine--with its emphasis on the church as a community of believers living out the tensions between Christ's resurrection and Parousia--is a direct result of taking the NT seriously.
"Particularly noteworthy is his exposition of the doctrine of justification in the light of recent paradigm shifts in Pauline studies. Finger's book is a productive and edifying work for all who care about the ongoing conversation between Scripture and systematics."
--Richard Hays, Duke Divinity School
"Thomas N. Finger has chosen an approach to the systematic presentation of Christian Theology which I also have taken since the publication of my Theology of Hope in 1964. He begins with the goal: with eschatology. With that goal in mind, a new light is cast on every single doctrine of Christian theology--the light of redemption--and the work of the theologian becomes a labor of hope. This is a "theology of the way." With the kingdom of God kept steadily in view, it becomes an invitation to walk the way of Jesus.
"Tom Finger's theological prospectus makes a brilliant contribution to ecumenical theological dialogue from the Anabaptist tradition. He offers an eschatologically oriented theology for which I can only congratulate him."
--Jurgen Moltmann, Professor of Theology, University of Tubingen
"This volume is not only a contribution to the contemporary discussions in systematic theology. It is also an important ecumenical breakthrough. The Anabaptist tradition stands as an important dialogue partner in the quest for a common ground in the Christian faith. Finger approaches the biblical faith from an eschatological viewpoint that is faithful to the Anabaptist tradition, but in dialogue with Roman Catholic, classical Protestant, and contemporary scholars in both of these traditions. He has begun a substantive conversation that will be important into the twenty-first century."
--Jeffrey Gros, Former Director of the Commission on Faith & Order, National Council of Christian Churches, USA