2 Reasons Why the Church Is Suspicious of Systematic Theology

Last Friday I gave you the first reason why people are so uneasy about systematic theology, today I’ll cover the last 2 reasons.

Reason 2: While the first reason I gave as to why people reject systematic theology comes from outside the Church, the second reason people reject systematic theology largely comes from inside the Church.

Today, there is growing number of people who hold to the belief that in doing systematic theology we’re doing something the Bible never does. They say that by doing systematic theology we’re taking the contents of the Bible and forcing them into preconceived systems using words/definitions that aren’t in the Bible at all. Now, it’s a shame that many people have indeed done this in the past, many people are doing it now, and no doubt many people will do it in the future. To do such a thing and impose a foreign system onto the Scripture is an awful and sinful thing to do.

Rather than attempting to force Scripture into a premade system, we ought to slowly and steadily seek to state what the Bible says, or rather, what it says to us. In doing this we will use words that aren’t in the Bible. Words like ‘theology’ and ‘trinity’ and ‘original sin.’ These words help us understand what the Bible says but we have to remember one thing: these words must measure up to Scripture, not the other way around. Scripture is our final authority, definitions of theological words aren’t.

Reason 3: Like reason 2, the third reason people reject systematic theology also comes from within the church. They say that the more we seek to systematize the truth, the farther we wander from the authentic truth presented to us in the Bible. I honestly don’t think this is a danger at all, as long as we the system we seek to arrange is actually found within the Scripture itself. You see, God sees truth as a whole, and it is the duty of every Christian to see truth as God sees it, to think God’s thoughts after Him. This is why Christians from all spheres of life and vocations have set their minds to systematic theology ever since the 3rd century and upon studying the Bible, 7 different big doctrines come to the forefront. It is these 7 Summits of Scripture that the historical Church has used in systematic theology.

So, the 7 Summits of systematic theology are:

  1. The Doctrine of God – Theology Proper
  2. The Doctrine of Man – Anthropology
  3. The Doctrine of Christ – Christology
  4. The Doctrine of the Spirit – Pneumatology
  5. The Doctrine of Salvation – Soteriology
  6. The Doctrine of the Church – Ecclesiology
  7. The Doctrine of Last Things – Eschatology

Both of the above reasons betray us, meaning they show that we are more children of our time than we think. We live in a post-modern world (some think we’re now post, post-modern, but’s another blog post), and we are therefore more post-modern than we dare to admit. In the previous centuries these objections have never come up. Why? Because they weren’t post-modern. Lesson?

To learn more of who God is (theology) we must understand the world we live in along with its bias’ and temptations that are ever-changing. This is why John Calvin said, ‘All true knowledge consists of two things: knowledge of God and knowledge of self.’

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