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Introduction to Systematic Theology

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Note the differences in tone and style of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian ... have direct knowledge of God in himself through 'scientific' (pure reason) means ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Systematic Theology


1
Introduction to Systematic Theology
2
REFORMATION THEOLOGY
  • The three Key Principles of Reformation Theology
  • Sola Scriptura Scripture Alone
  • Sola Fide By faith alone
  • Sola Gratia By grace alone

3
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Luther
  • Upheld right of the individual conscience under
    the authority of Scripture
  • Maintained a strict antithesis between the Law
    and Gospel
  • the message of condemnation and
  • the message of forgiveness
  • Championed Justification by Grace through Faith
    alone against Roman Catholic notions of human
    merit
  • Upheld a firm Augustinian notion of double
    Predestination
  • Cf. his The Bondage of the Will
  • Later modifications during the period of Lutheran
    Orthodoxy weakened the official Lutheran position
  • Affirmed the enslavement of will even more
    vigorously than did Calvin

4
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Luther
  • Luther had a strict view on the inspiration of
    Scripture however
  • he also maintained a loose view on the Canon
  • he did not like the book of James
  • He taught the physical presence of the body of
    Christ during Holy Communion
  • This is often described by non-Lutherans as
    Consubstantiation
  • Taught a view of the Communicatio Idiomatum in
    which the human body of Christ was granted
    ubiquity as part of its exaltation
  • A necessary implication of his view of the
    Eucharist

5
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Luther
  • Offered a poorly developed ecclesiology, largely
    due to the uncertain and fluid political
    circumstances in which he lived
  • Melanchthon, Luthers companion, produced several
    helpful editions of the Loci Communes, the first
    Protestant (evangelische) systematic theology
    text
  • Lutheranism, to many,
  • a conservative, even incomplete reformation
  • whatever is not forbidden is allowed

6
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Luther
  • Lutheran accomplishments
  • Appeal to Scripture is highly commendable,
  • As is the emphasis on justification by grace
    through faith
  • Finally, Luthers theology was colored by his own
    experiences,
  • His struggles and temptations
  • Defined his experience of grace and the way in
    which he framed his theology

7
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Luther
  • Methodological considerations
  • System of dualisms- but no real use of covenant
  • Law and Gospel
  • Two Kingdoms
  • Just and yet a sinner (simul iustus et peccator)
  • A theology of the cross- the cross is all
  • No obvious use of philosophy
  • Underlying reliance on late medieval nominalism
  • Not systematic- reason the devils whore
  • Biblicist and Augustinian

8
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Calvin
  • Doctrinal developments that went beyond Luther
  • Made much use of the Threefold Office of Christ
  • Prophet/Priest/King
  • The notion of munus triplex existed before
    Calvin, but was only developed thoroughly at the
    time of the Reformation by Calvin. See G.C.
    Berkouwer, Work of Christ, 61 Calvin, ICR, 2.15
  • The Doctrine of Holy Spirit
  • Calvin emphasized that the Spirit always leads in
    accordance with the Word. ICR, 1.9
  • Called the theologian of the Holy Spirit
    because of the role of the Spirit in all his
    theology
  • Calvin provided extensive discussion of the
    doctrines of Election and Reprobation. ICR,
    3.21-24

9
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Calvin
  • Linked Sanctification most closely to
    Justification
  • Spoke of them as twin graces. ICR, 3.1ff
    especially 3.16.1
  • Maintained the Normative use of the Law for the
    regenerate, ICR, 2.7.12
  • He calls it the principal use
  • Taught that every believer is a recipient of
    Gods call, (Doctrine of Vocation) on his life,
    ICR, 3.10.6
  • Developed a thorough Doctrine of Church, with a
    well-thought out system of Church Government,
    ICR, 4.1.7-10 4.3
  • Argued for the election of God
  • Working itself out in terms of covenant, ICR,
    3.21
  • Maintaining the unity of the covenant through Old
    and New Testaments, ICR, 2.11.1ff

10
REFORMATION THEOLOGY Calvin
  • Methodological Considerations
  • He listened attentively to Scripture,
  • Rejected the meteoric speculation of the
    schoolmen,
  • Asserted that God is to be adored, not
    investigated,
  • Abandoned the use of the Church Fathers as a
    final source of appeal
  • For Calvin, theology was to be practical- not to
    be divorced from application
  • Perhaps the Key Thought was this- Confirming
    people in Christ, ICR, 3.6.1
  • Covenantal relationship a central theme, ICR, 3.22

11
POST-REFORMATION THEOLOGY
  • Protestant Scholasticism
  • Continuity with the Reformation
  • Orientation to the Reformation principle of Sola
    Scriptura
  • Not a new period Reformed doctrines were
    believed and taught- a vital and productive
    period of evangelical theology
  • Above all, a period of Confessional development
  • Scots Confession 1560
  • Belgic Confession 1561
  • Heidelburg Catechism 1563
  • II Helvetic Confession 1566
  • Irish Articles 1615
  • Canons of Dordt 1619
  • Westminster Confession and Catechisms 1643-7

12
POST-REFORMATION THEOLOGY
  • Protestant Orthodoxy
  • Discontinuity with the Reformation
  • Note the differences in tone and style of
    Calvins Institutes of the Christian Religion and
    Turretins Institutes of Elenctic Theology
  • While Calvins work betrays its catechetical
    origins
  • Turrettins betrays its technical character and
    polemical stance
  • This is true in general, with earlier Reformation
    writings being more catechetical, while later
    writings were more scientific in structure and
    apologetic (i.e., contra Roman Catholicism,
    Lutheranism, etc.)
  • The use of Aristotle was reintroduced by some
    theologians
  • This is often described as a period of Protestant
    Scholasticism

13
POST-REFORMATION THEOLOGY
  • Protestant Orthodoxy
  • There was an impressive amount of work
  • Characterized by a desire to define truth more
    distinctly
  • An extensive and scientific theological
    vocabulary was further developed (e.g., the term
    Regeneration See Turretin, Institutes, 15.5).
  • There was an Intellectualizing of the Faith
  • A. Schweitzer The Reformers confessed their
    beliefs, but the later theologians believed their
    confessions.
  • There was extensive reliance on prooftexting,
    with Cocceius being a notable exception!
  • Reason prior to revelation
  • High Federalism extensive use of covenant
    structure, but not uniformly

14
POST-REFORMATION REACTIONS
  • Rationalism
  • Sufficiency of Reason I will believe nothing I
    cannot understand
  • Reason supersedes Revelation All is interpreted
    by the criterion of reason. Man is the measure
    of all things.
  • Emphasis on Nature The universe is an orderly
    realm which adheres to the law of nature
  • Nature the arbiter of what is true, the final
    court of appeals
  • What is real is discernible in nature, hence rise
    of Deism
  • Deism is the religion discernible in natures
    laws and reason
  • Contrasted to revealed religion as taught in
    Scripture and by the Church
  • All dogma was to be judged by its
    reasonableness
  •  Autonomy The individual became the final
    determiner of truth (Not revelation, not the
    Church)

15
POST-REFORMATION REACTIONS
  • Pietism
  • Made extensive use of Collegia Pietatis, small
    groups
  • Does not introduce a new type of theology
  • Although it has within its principles the seeds
    of a new emphasis in theology (a-historical)
  • Philipp Jacob Spener was the Father of Pietism
    (along with his colleague, August Herman Francke)
  • Emerged in the context of Lutheran orthodoxy
  • Speners groundbreaking work Pia Desideria,
    Pious Desires
  •  Pietist principles included
  • Inward feelings of faith vs. intellectualizing of
    faith
  • Personal experience of Regeneration was
    emphasized rather than an objective notion of
    Justification
  • Focus was new life as process rather than act
    of justification

16
POST-REFORMATION REACTIONS
  • Pietism
  • Recaptured elements of Medieval mysticism e.g.,
    Paul Gerhardt, 17th century, translated Bernard
    of Clairveaux, O Sacred Head Now Wounded.
  • Pietism influenced Wesleys Methodism
    (Zinzendorf, Bohler, Moravians)
  • Pietism often embraced an existential
    interpretation of Scripture
  • Christian experience turns back on revelation and
    controls interpretation of that revelation
  • Evaluating Scripture in terms of experience
    makes experience the point of reference How can
    I duplicate that experience?
  • Thus, the outcome What does passage mean to
    me?

17
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGY Roots
  • Historicism
  • Established canons of scientific history and
    standards of historical accuracy that brought
    into question the historical integrity and
    believability of Scripture
  • Scientism
  • Wherever the Bible presents a picture that is at
    odds with modern science, the Bible is not to be
    believed Science over Scripture
  • Criticism
  • Many documents from classical and medieval
    periods were proved to be fraudulent documents
    of Scripture scrutinized with same skeptical
    perspective. Thus, the rise of Higher Criticism
    as a given in biblical studies

18
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGY Roots
  • Rationalism
  • Per Kant, reason is paramount in science
    (knowledge), ethics and religion, and in beauty
    or aesthetics
  • Theologians are expected to subject any
    mysterious elements in Christianity to the canon
    of reason
  • Tolerationism
  • There was no longer a belief in inherent
    sinfulness, but an expectation of progress
    through advances in all the sciences
  • Kantianism
  • Religion receives an ethical interpretation and
    is divorced from revelation and reason

19
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGY
  • Kant The Dialectic
  • God exceeds our experience one cannot have a
    theoretical (or, scientific) knowledge of God
  • Only a practical knowledge
  • The Noumenal/Phenomenal distinction
  • Noumenal
  • Ding-an-sich, the thing in itself
  • Objective, Unknowable
  • Phenomenal
  • The thing as experienced,
  • As known subject to our categories (Scientific
    Reason)
  • It is impossible to know anything in itself, but
    only as it is perceived by the subject mind

20
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGY
  • Kant arrived at a Nature/Freedom dialectic
  • Practical Reason
  • God a postulate of human consciousness, since we
    cannot have direct knowledge of God in himself
    through scientific (pure reason) means
  • Nevertheless, there is practical reason- we have
    a sense of what ought to be
  • Kant three postulates
  • Can not be established by theoretical reason
  • Must be assumed because required by the moral
    nature of the world- not because of Bible
  • God
  • Immortality
  • Human Freedom

21
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGIANS
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834)
  • Background Reformed pietism, the philosophy of
    Immanuel Kant
  • Theology was a study of individual faith,
    religious experience
  • Faith is a matter of feeling, the consciousness
    of absolute dependence upon God
  • Theology comes from the human consciousness
  • God is known only in the light of human
    experience
  • The Bible was viewed as a book of religious
    experiences, not as an authoritative revelation
  • All religions are valid Christianity was viewed
    simply as the most advanced, the highest in
    principle and religious evolution

22
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGIANS
  • Albrecht Ritschl (A.D. 1822-89)
  • Two key writings
  • Critical History of Justification and
    Reconciliation
  • Christian Doctrine of Justification and
    Reconciliation
  • These volumes were a reaction to the subjectivism
    of Schleiermacher and the individualism of
    Pietism
  • The foundation of faith was sought in historical
    Jesus, not in the transcendent Christ
  • The focus was on Kingdom of God, ethical behavior

23
CONSCIOUSNESS THEOLOGIANS
  • Albrecht Ritschl, cont.
  • Theological characteristics
  • Ritschl attempted to remove dogma from religion
    and substitute ethical behavior instead
  • Doctrines were viewed merely as judgments of
    value based on experience.
  • Jesus was considered divine because he has value
    of God for me
  • The emphasis on the Kingdom of God, i.e., Live
    morally led naturally to development of the
    Social Gospel

24
Introduction to Systematic Theology
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