Summary

Kelly Kapic’s book “A Little Book for New Theologians” aims to simplify the basics of theology for those beginning their personal journey through the study of God. In Chapter 6, Kapic explains the crucial roles of humility and repentance in theology. In explaining humility, Kapic writes, “pride has lost sight of the gap between the holy Creator and sinful humanity, producing self-absorption and contempt for others. Humility has a vision of God’s majesty, love and forgiveness in Christ, producing love for God and one’s neighbors.” (71). To define repentance, Kapic writes, “repentance occurs not only when we recognize the need to change our actions but also when we change our minds after discovering improper or weak thoughts regarding God. […] Revelation and repentance often come together, as God draws people to a deeper knowledge of himself.” (74-75). With these definitions in mind, Kapic goes on to instruct “new theologians” on how to practice humility and repentance in their lives, meanwhile interjecting his own thoughts on the importance and necessity of both. One point Kapic tends to stress throughout the chapter is that a person’s theological journey is constantly changing throughout his or her life. He goes as far as to state that, “anyone who stands at the end of his days and claims never to have changed his mind should not be praised for unwillingness to compromise but rather pitied for naive pride.”

Evaluation

As a person who has never attended seminary, or even taken a course in theology until recent years, I found this book to be both informative and instrumental in my quest for wisdom. I am an avid learner and love to have my thinking challenged, but I am also easily distracted and tend to take quite a long time to read a book because of my busy schedule. As a result, I found Kapic’s “little book” to be a perfect fit for my personality and lifestyle. I was able to pick it up and read an entire chapter in very little time, then come back to it a week later and not feel lost. Similarly, the block quotes throughout each chapter kept my attention and gave his teaching a sort of “life application” feel that reminded me of my study Bible. If I was feeling a bit distracted, I could jump to a quote, read it, then go back to where I was a moment before. However, to someone who enjoys a more focused reading time, these quotes could become a bit cumbersome and frustrating.

Having now finished the “little book,” I can say that I will quickly recommend it to anyone beginning to study theology. Kapic encourages readers to deepen their understanding of theology from the beginning, meanwhile referring to them as “theologians” through to the very end.

This book was provided free from IVP Academic with my promise to post an unbiased review.

Official Description

Whenever we think or hear or read or say anything about God, we are doing theology. In the tradition of Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, Kelly Kapic offers a concise introduction to the study of theology. He highlights its value and importance while explaining its unique nature as a serious discipline.

Not only concerned with content and method, Kapic explores the skills, attitudes and spiritual practices needed by those who take up the discipline. This brief, clear and vibrant primer draws out the relevance of theology for Christian life, worship, mission, witness and more. As Kapic says, “Theology is about life. It is not a conversation our souls can afford to avoid.”

Publication Information

A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology. By Kelly M. Kapic. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2012. 126 pages. ISBN 978-0-8308-3975-9. $8.00.

Endorsements

“To study with Kelly Kapic must be serious fun. His joy in teaching theology is infectious.” Sinclair B. Ferguson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Redeemer Seminary

“This is a great primer both for new students of theology and for those well practiced in the discipline.” Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School

“Deceitfully easy and highly accessible, this guide is based on the best of theological wisdom and tested classroom experience.” Veli-Matti Kärkkäïnen, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Kelly Kapic concisely states major characteristics of faithful theologians in this little book…. This is a very good beginning.” Thomas C. Oden, Professor of Theology, Drew University