Michael Horton's The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, has to be the most highly anticipated book in a long time. It is also the most important theological text (from a Reformed perspective) to come along in some time.
Mike has kept us (the White Horse Inn crew; me, Ken, Rod and Shane) informed of its progress as the months went by. Mike's explained and lamented the long and arduous process of completing it, and then going through the much longer than anticipated editorial process (never fun for an author).
While I await my hardcopy version, I downloaded the Kindle edition. I've been able to make my way through much of The Christian Faith this past week. Let me just say, I am blown away.
I can say without embarrassment that I am one of Mike's biggest fans. I know him well, and I've worked with him a long time (since 1984 to be exact). His four volume "Covenant" series (a theological prolegomena published by Westminster/John Knox) is absolutely stellar and groundbreaking in many ways. But that series doesn't come close to The Christian Faith in terms of importance and value to Christ's church.
Barring some unexpected turn of events, my guess is that this will be Michael's magnum opus, that one theological work for which he will be forever known. It is that good.
The Christian Faith is everything I hoped for, and then some. It is not a replacement for Berkhof, as I had hoped. It is better than that. This is a completely new statement of the Christian faith from a Reformed perspective written for Christians living in the 21st century. It has an "apologetics" feel to it, without any smugness or lack of charity toward those with whom Horton disagrees.
It is very crisply written and concise, it covers an amazing amount of ground, and it demonstrates a thorough grasp of pretty much the entire contemporary theological landscape. Imagine Calvin, Turretin, and the Heidelberg Catechism, being utilized in a running dialogue with virtually every contemporary theologian and movement of any significance you can name. Horton pulls it off.
The sections are biblically rich (the right texts, used in the right way), Mike capably summarizes the history of debate on each topic, and then offers wise and thoughtful solutions to a host of theological challenges. This book will stimulate both mind and heart. No dead orthodoxy here!
Well, if you haven't gotten the point by now, let me just say "buy it!"
This is a text we'll be using for years to come! Much of any future Reformed theological reflection, debate, and discussion, will be conducted in the light of this book.
Mike, you did it! And I for one am proud of you.