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Introduction to Systematic Theology

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Title: Introduction to Systematic Theology


1
Introduction to Systematic Theology
2
DEFINITION
  •  THEOLOGY
  • qeo,j, theos- God
  • lo,goj, logos- word, study, discourse
  •  SYSTEMATIC
  • suni,sthmi, sunista,nw-- Synistemi, Synistano-
    comprehend, put together, organize
  • Systematic Theology is that department or
    section of theology which is concerned with
    setting forth systematically, that is to say, as
    a concatenated whole, what is known concerning
    God. Warfield, Studies in Theology, 91.

3
THEOLOGICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA
  • Apologetics, How can we know Christianity is
    right?
  • Exegetical Theology, What does the text say?
  • Canonics
  • Textual Criticism
  • Biblical Languages
  • Biblical History/Archaeology
  • Hermeneutics
  • Exegesis Proper

4
THEOLOGICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA
  • Biblical Theology, What does the Bible teach
    about ______?
  • Systematic Theology, What is true about ______?
  • Historical Theology, What has the Church
    believed about ______?
  • Practical Theology, How does the Church live
  • its belief about ______?
  • Pastoral Care/Counseling
  • Christian Education
  • Homiletics/Liturgics
  • Evangelism/Missions
  • Church Administration

5
VALUES OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
  • We are individuals who think systematically
  • Is there a relationship between fact A and fact B
    or fact C?
  • Since our minds think systematically, we must
    reflect on the data of scripture systematically
  • Cornelius Van Til reminds us, it's with our
    God-created minds which are systematic that we
    think and inevitably rework the content of
    revelation.

6
VALUES OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
  • Systematic Theology holds before us the full
    panoply of scriptural truth
  • This helps us to maintain a proper balance
    theologically and biblically
  • It also helps us to avoid tendencies toward
    emotionalism or intellectualism

7
VALUES OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
  • What is beneficial for the minister, for the
    trained theologian, is also beneficial for the
    individual believer and the church as a whole
  • As we study, we come to certain conclusions about
    truth
  • We are able to convey those conclusions to others
    within the Church
  • They, in turn, are fortified against false
    doctrine and heresy. So the studied conclusions
    of Systematic Theology enable us to strengthen
    our parishioners

8
VALUES OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
  • Those who study the scriptures systematically
    will inevitably preach theologically i.e., the
    whole counsel of god- thus attaining a balance in
    ministry
  • Systematic Theology leads to accuracy and
    precision
  • Machen, What is Faith?, 163, In religion, as
    well as in other spheres a precise terminology is
    mentally economical in the end it repays amply
    the slight effort required for the mastery of
    it.

9
VALUES OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
  • It provides the Best Defense of the Faith
  • Cornelius Van Til The best apologetic defense
    will be made by him who knows the truth in the
    Scriptures best. For the fight between
    Christianity and non-Christianity is, in modern
    times, no piecemeal affair. It is a life and
    death struggle between two mutually opposed world
    and life views.
  • Those outside the Christian faith are themselves
    systematic in the development of their dogmas
  • Those who engage in Systematic Theology are
    better able to provide a consistent Christian
    world and life view to answer the question, What
    does it mean for Jesus Christ to be Lord of all?

10
VALUES OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
  • Benjamin B. Warfield, in The Indispensableness of
    Systematic Theology to the Preacher, said, It
    has been argued that the business of the preacher
    is to make Christians not theologians and that
    for this he needs not a thorough systematic
    knowledge of the whole circle that is called
    Christian doctrine but chiefly a firm faith in
    Jesus Christ as savior and a warm love towards
    him as Lord. But, Warfield said, We cannot
    preach at all without preaching doctrine and the
    type of religious life which grows up under our
    preaching will be determined by the nature of the
    doctrines which we preach.

11
LIMITATIONS OF THEOLOGY
  • Presupposition Finitum non capax infiniti.
    That is to say, the finite is not capable of the
    infinite.
  • Theology deals with mystery at every hand
  • Limitations (A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology,
    I, 34ff)
  • Necessary Mysteries The Trinity, by definition,
    is beyond our comprehension and not subject to
    the laws of logic
  • Accidental Mysteries Sometimes there are
    insufficient facts, so that we do not have access
    to all the data we might need to answer all the
    questions that arise. The opening chapters of
    Genesis are sufficient for their purpose, but do
    not provide all the data we might find desirable
  • Inadequacy of Language The terms, Substance,
    Person, Eternity all tell us something about
    significant theological debates. But, in spite of
    all they tell us, there are many shortcomings due
    to the limitations of words and their ability to
    reflect concepts that defy comprehension

12
LIMITATIONS OF THEOLOGY
  • Limitations (A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology,
    I, 34ff), cont.
  • Incomplete Knowledge of Scripture We do not know
    all parts of Scripture and the parts we know we
    do not know equally well
  • Silence of Revelation (Deut. 2929) There is
    much that God has not seen fit to reveal there
    is much we are incapable of receiving
  • Lack of Spiritual Discernment (I Cor. 214) A
    theologian is not fitted for his undertaking
    unless he knows the power of the redemptive
    provision of which Scripture is the revelation.
    John Murray, Systematic Theology, Collected
    Writings, IV, 4

13
SUBJECT MATTER OF THEOLOGY
  • CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGIANS
  • The proper subject matter of theology is the
    experience of the individual believer.
  • F. D.W. Schleiermacher He says, . . . the
    doctrines in all their forms have their ultimate
    ground so exclusively in the emotions of the
    religious self-consciousness, that where these do
    not exist the doctrines cannot arise. The
    Christian Faith, E.T., 78.

14
SUBJECT MATTER OF THEOLOGY
  • Albrecht Ritschl The proper subject matter of
    theology is Jesus Christ as experienced by the
    Church
  • Two characteristics are perceptible in religious
    conceptions which must be stated at the very
    outset. They are always the possession of a
    community and they express not merely a relations
    between God and man, but always at the same time
    a relations toward the world on the part of God
    and those who believe in Him. A. Ritschl,
    Justification and Reconciliation, E.T., 27.
  • If, therefore, justification and reconciliation
    of sinners are the leading features of the
    Christian religion, they can be correctly
    examined and explained in the case of the
    individual only when at the same time we take
    note of his place in the Christian community. J
    R, 28.

15
SUBJECT MATTER OF THEOLOGY
  • REFORMED THEOLOGIANS
  • Benjamin B. Warfield, of Old Princeton Seminary
    the proper subject matter of theology is God in
    his nature and in his relations to his
    creatures, or the facts concerning God and his
    relations to his creatures. Warfield, Studies
    in Theology, 58. Cf. Shorter Catechism Q. 3.
    What do the Scriptures principally teach? A.
    The Scriptures principally teach what man is to
    believe concerning God and what duty God requires
    of him.

16
SUBJECT MATTER OF THEOLOGY
  • REFORMED THEOLOGIANS
  • Donald Bloesch, retired professor of theology at
    Dubuque, Its i.e., theologys norm is
    Scripture, but its field or arena of action is
    the cultural context in which we find ourselves.
    It is engaged in reflection not on abstract
    divinity or on concrete humanity but on the Word
    made flesh, the divine in the human. Bloesch,
    Word and Spirit, 114.
  • Gordon Spykman, retired professor of theology at
    Calvin Seminary says, The key position in a
    three-factor view of reality belongs to the Word
    of God. It is the religious bond, the unbreakable
    link which binds the Creator and his creatures
    together in covenant partnership. Gordon
    Spykman, Reformational Theology, 76.

17
Introduction to Systematic Theology
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