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Systematic Theology


What would you be willing to die for? Pastor Brett Peterson, CCBCU.EDU. 2 ... Truth is Spiritually discerned ... Lack of Spiritual Discernment (I Cor. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Systematic Theology

Systematic Theology
Pastor Brett Peterson Slide 34 Coastland
What do you believe?
  • What would you be willing to die for?

  • qeo,j, theos- God
  • lo,goj, logos- word, study, discourse,understandi
    ng, universal rational

What Is Theology?
Rational discussion respecting the
deity. Augustine
The study or science of God. Millard Erickson
The Science of God and of the relations between
God and the universe. A. H. Strong
Thinking about God and expressing those
thoughts in some way. Charles Ryrie
What Is Theology?
The science of God or of religion the science
which treats of the existence, character, and
attributes of God, his laws and government, the
doctrines we are to believe, and the duties we
are to practice divinity (as more commonly
understood) the knowledge derivable from the
Scriptures, the systematic exhibition of revealed
truth, the science of Christian faith and
life. Websters Dictionary
Who Is a Theologian?
  • Anyone who has asked the ultimate questions of
  • Why am I here?
  • What is life?
  • What happens after death?
  • What is the difference between right and wrong?
  • Why is there something instead of nothing?

Who Is a Theologian?
  • The question is not, Who is a theologian? but
    What kind of theologian am I going to be? Are
    you going to be a good theologian or a bad
    theologian? This is a more accurate question
    because, as one writer put it, not all
    theologies are equal.
  • -Source unknown

We live in what may be the most
anti-intellectual period in the history of
Western civilization. . . We must have
passionindeed hearts on fire for the things of
God. But that passion must resist with intensity
the anti-intellectual spirit of the world.   R.
C. Sproul
Who Is a Theologian?
  • There are basically five arenas in which we can
    do theology
  • Folk Theology
  • Lay Theology
  • Ministerial Theology
  • Professional Theology
  • Academic Theology

Who Is a Theologian
Who Is a Theologian
Describe this chart in relation to practicing
Who Is a Theologian
Now describe this chart in relation to practicing
Who Is a Theologian?
  • Folk Theology
  • Naïve
  • Traditionalistic
  • Dogmatic
  • Uninformed and unreflective
  • What are some examples?

Who Is a Theologian?
  • Folk theology examples
  • Views of eternity (clouds, harps)
  • Angels wings
  • Good works salvation
  • All people are good at heart

Who Is a Theologian?
  • Peters gate
  • Devils pitchfork
  • God helps those who help themselves
  • Demon possession (Hitler, Stalin, etc.)
  • Name-it-claim-it, health and wealth gospel

Some Pop Eschatology
  • Where will we spend eternity?
  • The Tribulation is a 7 year period of wrath on
  • The Time of Jacobs Trouble is the 7 year
  • The antichrist will arise from a 10 nation
  • The parable of the 10 bridesmaids (they wait for
    the groom in the brides house)

Pop Theology (cont.)
  • There are many sections of scripture in the New
    Testament that are not written to the Church.
  • The Church will NOT fulfill the great commission.
  • After the Rapture, a great multitude of people
    from every nation will get saved
  • And on we could go

The Trinity What is Truth? Who is God? How are
you saved?
Who Is a Theologian?
  • Lay Theology
  • More reflective upon learned theological concepts
  • Likely to formulate a doctrine of essentiality
  • More critical of unfounded traditions
  • More willing to use study tools

Who Is a Theologian?
  • Ministerial Theology
  • Reflection is more sophisticated
  • Educated in theological methodology
  • Uses tools and resources at a more effective
  • Working knowledge of the languages
  • Ability to openly critique personal theology
    against competing models
  • Devotes more time to reflection

Who Is a Theologian?
  • Professional Theology
  • Didactically purposed toward lay and pastoral
  • Works with pastoral and lay theologians
  • Conducts practical original research
  • Critically evaluates common theological trends
    and folk theology
  • Often accused of quenching the Spirit

Who Is a Theologian?
  • Academic Theology
  • Overly speculative
  • Overly critical
  • Dialogue can come only with other theologians
  • Ivory Tower theologians
  • Unspiritual theology
  • Follows the academic status quo

Who Is a Theologian?
Who Is a Theologian?
Acceptable range
Why Study Theology?
  • Because you are a theologian!

Why Study Theology?
Theology is for everyone. Indeed, everyone
needs to be a theologian. In reality, everyone is
a theologianof one sort or another. And
therein lies the problem. There is nothing wrong
with being an amateur theologian or a
professional theologian, but there is everything
wrong with being an ignorant or
sloppy theologian. Charles Ryrie
Why Study Theology?
  • How do we do theology everyday? In other
    words, how does our theology influence our daily

Why Study Theology?
  • When we think about God.
  • When we share the Gospel.
  • When we interpret the Bible.
  • When we get sick.
  • When we defend the faith.
  • When we plan for the future.
  • When we choose schooling for our children.

Why Study Theology?
  • When we vote.
  • When we attempt to deal with sin in our lives.
  • When we decide on who we marry.

What Is Theology?
  • Credo ut intelligam
  • faith seeking understanding.
  • Anselm of Canterbury

Types of theological study
  • Apologetics, Can you give an answer for the many
    questions people have about the Bible your
  • Exegetical Theology, What is the message God
    intended for the text?
  • Canononics
  • Textual Criticism
  • Biblical Languages
  • Biblical History/Archaeology
  • Hermeneutics
  • Exegesis Proper

Types of theological study continued
  • Biblical Theology, What does the Bible, in
    context, teach about the subject you are
  • Systematic Theology, Given all scripture, what
    is the expositional consistency/progressive
    revelation for the doctrine?
  • Historical Theology, What has the Church taught
    regarding the subject or doctrine you are
  • Practical Theology, What action must be taken in
    light of the doctrine or subject?

Relationship of Categories
Why study Theology in a SYSTEMATIC way?
  • God created our minds to Systematize truth
  • We construct lists of ideas
  • We compare what is experienced with previous
    ideas and teachings
  • God is a God of order, and therefore reveals
    Himself in a systematic way
  • It gives us a clear view of the truth we are
    studying from Genesis to Revelation.

Systematic Theology will
  • Bring to light the truths of God and how He
    relates to mankind
  • It gives us an opportunity to experience Gods
    revelation of Himself
  • It helps us maintain a balance between
    emotionalism and Intellectualism
  • It allows us to analyze Biblical Theology is a
    all inclusive way.

Understanding God systematically helps us
  • Establish absolute truth on a given doctrine and
    teach that truth to others
  • We allow Gods revelation of Himself to teach us
    His truth
  • We are then prepared to teach that truth to
  • This gives the Church protection against false

The Goal of Theology
  • To bring individuals into a right understanding
    of God and how He works in their lives
  • To proclaim the absolute truth of scripture in a
    contemporary yet Uncompromised way
  • To give the Church the meat of Gods Word
  • To equip the saints
  • To make the gospel relevant and rational

Cautions as we study theology
  • Apriori Finitum non capax infiniti. That is
    to say, the finite is not capable of the
  • Truth is Spiritually discerned
  • Preconceived Ideas Church tradition, mans
    ideas rather than Bible based truth.
  • ExampleThe Trinity man is unable to
    comprehend the triune nature of God Where does
    the Bible say that?!
  • I was always taught _________________
  • Thats not what Pastor _________ says
  • If the church holds this truth, it must be

Cautions continued
  • 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

How can we grasp theological truth?
  • We filter everything through our experience
  • The academic study of Theology must lead us to
    Spiritual and emotional change it is then we
    begin to experience God in creation.
  • F. D.W. Schleiermacher 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.

The study of Theology impacts who we are
  • In understanding the author of creation, we begin
    to understand our place in creation.
  • 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.
  • In our section on science, we will find many
    scientists who came to faith by their discovery
    of an author of creation.

The consequence of Theology
  • It brings us into a right relationship with God
  • Truth a right understanding of God

Theology is Gods revelation of Himself
  • It comes down to Gods desire to have a
    relationship with mankind
  • God want a relationship with YOU!
  • WOW!

What are the sources of our study of Theology?
  • The Wesleyan Quadrilateral
  • Scripture (Supreme Authority)
  • Reason
  • Tradition
  • Experience
  • All four of these areas are important to discover
    truth however, the last two need to be used
    with caution.

Sources of Theological study
  • The Multiple Source View
  • B.B. Warfield
  • Nature (What God has created would include
  • Providence (What God has done in history, in the
  • Experience (What God has done in your life)
  • Scripture (What God has said)
  • The revelation of God in his written Word is
    easily shown not only to be incomparably superior
    to all other manifestations of him in the
    fullness, richness and clearness of its
    communications, but also to contain the sole
    discovery of much that is most important for the
    soul to know as to its state and destiny.
    Warfield, Studies in Theology, 60-1.

The Bible is our canon
  • Scripture is the unifying authority
  • How does scripture relate to our experience?
  • Scripture, as the unique source of revelation,
  • Other sources as subordinate to Scripture
  • The Latin terms norma normans and norma normativa
    provide help
  • Scripture is norma normans, a rule that rules
  • All other revelatory media (Experience,
    Tradition, Providence, Reason) are norma
    normativa, a rule that is governed- by Scripture,
    in this instance

Our apriori
  • Theological Presuppositions
  • Expositional consistency
  • There is Unity in the Scriptures by virtue of
    their ultimate author, God himself
  • Sola scriptura Scripture is our sole source for
    faith and practice
  • You must be born again to understand scripture
  • The Holy Spirit ultimately must illuminate your
    mind and heart to the truth in scripture -

Absolute truth
  • Premise there is absolute truth and it does not
    change with personality or culture
  • Since the Scriptures, ultimately, are Gods
    revelation to all of mankind, there will be a
    unity of truth even in the midst of diverse
    cultural emphases and contextualized language
  • We have tended to view theology as
    transcultural or culturally neutral. and have
    typically championed biblical authority by
    claiming that there is only one horizon in
    theology- the biblical text itself. Richard
    Lints, The Fabric of Theology, 102

Theology gives us truth that is not bound by
space or time
  • There is a transcultural aspect to the doing of
    theology Ought we to give our western creeds to
    the Oriental mind? . . . Of course those Western
    creeds ought to be given to the Oriental mind.
    But that ought to be done only on one condition-
    that those western creeds are true. If they are
    not true, they ought not to be given to the
    Oriental mind or to any other kind of mind but
    if they are true, they are just as true in China
    as they are in the United States. Machen,
    Christian Faith in the Modern World, 93

The result of studying theology
  • Our practice of studying and applying theological
    truth will impact our culture Contemporary
    theologians must also seek to challenge the
    contemporary mind to think more critically about
    its own culturally accepted values. Lints,
    Fabric, 113
  • Even in the post-modern world, we must be salt
    and light. As we study theology, we must

Truth Jesus Christ The Word of God
Then Jesus said to those Jewish people who had
believed him, If you continue to follow my
teaching, you are really my disciples and you
will know the truth, and the truth will set you
free. John 831-32
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves
to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of
teaching you were entrusted to. Romans 617
Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for
teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for
training in righteousness, that the person
dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for
every good work. 2 Timothy 316-17
Matthew 2237
  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your
    heart, with all your soul, and with all your
  • Jesus Christ

Next weekRead Thiessen Chapters 3-4