Systematic Theology

The Bible is not a textbook in systematic theology. It rarely, if ever, addresses our theological questions in a systematic way. Not even … Paul does this with any degree of persistence. In any (traditional) systematic theology, you will find a systematic discussion of such Christian doctrines as the Incarnation, the Trinity, the Atonement, and the Final Judgment, but you will not find anything like that in the Bible, not even in the New Testament; and Christians now sometimes fail to appreciate, it seems to me, how easy it is simply to read the traditional formulation of these doctrines back into the New Testament.

Thomas Talbott
The Inescapable Love of God, page 53

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One Comment on “Systematic Theology”

  1. tom ferguson Says:

    we not only read them in but in many instances rely upon them. this is especially true if when young we were ‘home trained’ in a particular communion’s unique doctrines. all doctrine is based upon an interpretation of one or more humans. some were made accoding to expedient ends.the number of doctrines is uncountable. and after 2000+ years of theolgical bantering the list of definitions given to certain who hold an idea is staggering; you might even be classified:a-pre-amilenial-preterist- universalreconcilliationalist-para- orthodox-w/catholic tendencies!(sounds like somebody that should be monitered by the authorities doesn’t it) in the end all these definitions are lines in the sand drawn by misguided vs. them so to speak. in the 2000+ years of ‘ christian theological development’ even a child could sense that somewhere along the way something essential has obviously been lost if not intentionally is simple. theology is complex and genders strife. without ballyragging further about those who are trying to make the christian walk as encumberring and as confusing and downright misserable to others as they possibly can, lets go on to some solutions. the following suggestion is made with those who need to be assured that they are on the right path in mind. first of all study the scriptures not doctrines. as for their possible interpretation get closer to the source. the ‘pre-nicean fathers’ as they are so now called were the first generation christians. they lived and wrote during a time of terrible persecution under the universal roman authority. their words will open up great insights into His word for whom they were being asked to relinquesh this life for the one promised. there are no “doctrines” or “confessions” listed in their words. just admonitions and exhotations the which of can be read on and between the lines the heart and soul of that first generation of real chritians. so many of these and those who are claiming to ascendency today are doing so by the catch phrases of ‘first century chrisianity’ or the ‘origional christians’. well if you want to be like a real early christian, and the real early christians left documentation it would behove you to read those documents. they can be found and downloaded here. more on the origin of your bible can be found here. you will find these edifying and rewarding in helping to discern the “nature” of that first century christianity to which so many allude yet so few could in reality come up to scratch ( that means to answer the bell, toe the line, enter the arena); which is what many of our brothers and sisters of that day literally did rather than denounce Him who died for them. and once there they became a specticle of entertainment to their persecuters enduring the most brutal tortures and ultimately death. after the deaths of peter and paul and the witnesses of our lord’s day had passed, who encouraged those faithful scores who would if cicustances’ lot found them aprehended by the persecution would be to die for Christ? what words of encouragement were used? you will be made much more knowing of the terms used in the epistles such as ‘fiery trial’ used by peter to describe the death of christians as human torches lighting the roman thoroughfares at night. or of soldiers of Christ who met their deaths under incredible horrors of the roman ‘games’ in the arena. and not just in rome itself but throughout the roman empire which at that time included the entire civilised world. in these days and in most places, but not all,the worst treatment a christian will endure is ridicule. as uncomfortable as it might feel no one has ever died from a case of ridicule. if as a christian there could ever be such a thing as a role model outside of the master Himself,who could be admired, it would surely be these early christians who put their life blood of lesser esteem than the testemony of Christ. perhaps there should be an addition to hebrews XI with their names listed. the words which encouraged these our brothers and sisters in Christ during this terrible time of trial are documented and can be our encouragement as well. don’t let the somewhat overbearing title that the theolodians have given these writers discourage you from their words. they were valiant men of God and true soleiers of Christ, eddifying and encouraging the brothers and sisters in Christ at a time when to be in Christ could have terrible consequences. they were not august eclesiastics provided for and sheltered who sat around debating how many angels could sit on a pin, that was another later generation of deluded dogmatists who fancied themselves the spiritual decendents of the real heroes and gave them the title of the church fathers,in the wish that they themselves might have their own names added to the history. get past that and you will find their words to be more than all that could ever be said about them. and remember in reading that the man whose words are written there before your eyes also would find that the sun would one day rise upon his own last day in this time under the trial of those days as peter and paul and our Master did.

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