The book unfolds with some variation around the classical outline of systematic theology, beginning with the character of God the Father, his revelation, creation, and the fall of mankind. Moving to God the Son, attention centers on the incarnation, the life and death of Christ, his resurrection, and ascension. Then with the Holy Spirit in prominence, the focus is on the grace of God, conversion, the new life, sanctification, and eternal security. The study concludes with the church, Christ’s return, the providence of God, and the coming glory.
Each chapter begins with a biblical résumé of the doctrine. This leads to the theological rationale, which in some instances brings out conflicting evangelical interpretations. Where pertinent, distinctions are made between Reformed and Arminian positions, and on some doctrines, differences with Roman Catholic dogma. The next section treats popular misconceptions of the Gospel that adversely affect evangelism. Finally, each chapter ends with a practical application of the doctrine. These observations are not exhaustive, but they capsule important issues. All that goes before in the chapter gives the background for these conclusions. Obviously one cannot make applications until first the theological basis is understood.
Initially, the chapters were delivered as lectures to my students. In that setting, clarity, brevity, and simplicity were all-important, as well as the frequent use of illustrations. When the oral presentations were rewritten and revised for this book format, I tried to follow these guidelines even more closely.
Much cannot be covered in a work of this size, of course. However, something left out in one chapter may be treated in another. Theology rests on the total revelation of God, so it all tends to come together in the end.
― Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism