Systematic Theology - Prolegomena
I probably should have started with these notes, these are the notes from the first lecture.
Doctrine – We live in an time when doctrine is despised. “Doctrine divides,” “no creed but Christ” are battle cries of many in this time in Church History.
What is Doctrine- Any teaching that is found in Scripture, particularly one that summarize what the Bible teaches on a certain topic. (Creeds)
Christianity does not exist without doctrine. Believe in Christ and be saved. Who is Christ, believe what about Him? Why Christ not Buddha etc.
Everyone has a set of doctrines they believe, even if they say they don’t believe in doctrine, that is their doctrine.
True and False Doctrines- The more true doctrines we understand and believe the more we will be growing in the grace and knowledge of God. Any false doctrines we believe will hurt us if we try to live by them.
Different types of doctrines
Essential – If you deny these you are not a Christian.
Non-Essential – you can deny but still be a Christian
E.g. Church Government,
Cardinal Doctrine – These are very important. To deny these may be saved but your treading close because, these mess with the essential to some degree.
E.g. The inerrancy of Scripture. Free Grace stuff.
Tertiary and peripheral- Should the pastor wear a robe. Church Sports programs, etc.
Orthodox – right belief
Heterodox – Still a Christian but has some bad doctrine.
Heresy - Non–Christian belief.
Apostate – Denied the faith
Systematic Theology- Any study that answers the question, “What does the whole Bible teach us today” about any given topic. -Wayne Grudem-
Systematic Theology – Evangelical systematic theology is the comprehensive study and coherent organization of what can be known, primarily from Scripture, (theology’s only final and ultimately authoritative source) and secondarily from any and all relevant sources, about God and His relation to the created universe, in a manner that is understandable and applicable to contemporary audiences, the end that God’s people are strengthened and satisfied in Him, to the praise and glory of His name. –Bruce Ware-
Apologetics- Presuppositional, and Evidential
Historical Theology – Syncronic and diachronic
Philosophical theology – Platonic, Aristotelian, etc
Ethics- descriptive and prescriptive
Exegesis- What does this passage say? (1 Cor.14:37)
Biblical Theology- What does this book, genre, or author say? Progressive Revelation (1 Cor. 11:5)
Systematic Theology – What does the whole Bible say? (Exodus 15:20)
Important aspects of Systematic theology -Comprehensive, Coherent Organization, from God’s revelation, Applicable to today’s Christian, for the glory of God.
Puritan Definition- The science and art of living unto God
Orthodoxy affects Orthopraxy- Theory effects practice.
Why Study Systematic Theology- Why not just keep reading the Bible for the rest of our lives without systematizing it?
1. The great commission tells us to teach people to obey all that he commanded. What did he command? We must know what we are to teach the world.
2. It benefits our lives, by overcoming wrong ideas we hold, and we begin to see the total weight of truth.
3. God gave us teacher to help us understand the word of God, and some of them are systematic theologians.
4. There are many challenges to the Christian worldview, and if we know it we live unguarded to the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Mormon’s boast that they baptize a Baptist Church every month.
Where to start- Two axioms since Christian follow Christ we start with two presuppositions that Christ held.
1. The Bible is true, and is the Absolute Standard for truth.
2. The God of the Bible exists and is the only true God.
Have we proven these? No but if we don’t start with these we are not really doing Christian theology. As we build the theology we can then test it to the real world, in doing this we will see that these that Christianity is true therefore showing the necessity that our axioms are true.
Transcendental argument for God’s existence- No other worldview besides the Christian one is completely logically consistent nor can stand up to the test of experience with the real world.
Organization of the truths. How do these truths relate and do they build upon each other?
Jigsaw puzzle- You must use all the pieces and you cannot alter any of them.
Typical areas of systematic theology.
Bibliology- The Doctrine of the Word of God
Theology Proper- The Doctrine of God
Anthropology- The Doctrine of Man
Harmatology- The Doctrine of Sin
Christology – The Doctrine of Christ
Soteriology- The Doctrine of Salvation
Ecclesiology – The Doctrine of the Chruch
Eschatology – The Doctrine of Last things or the future.
Some objections to systematic theology-
1. You can’t make the Bible fit into a nice neat system.
But this assumes that there is no system to God’s knowledge?
Does any of God’s knowledge contradict any other of His knowledge. If they don’t contradict they must agree and synthesize. This is what we are seeking.
2. Systematic theology is just taking a framework and trying to make the Bible fit into it. (Eisegisis) This objection has it backwards, but has a legit caution in it.
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