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Why Systematic Theology?

Categories Theology

Erasmus1 Systematic theology, as an area of study, has been on my mind as of late. I suppose that is mostly because I started the systematic theology sequence this semester, but the interviews and reviews that have come out after the release of Horton’s The Christian Faith have also kept the discipline at the front of my mind.

I have to admit, sometimes I wonder why we do systematics at all (maybe not something you should ask about your own major). Often it seems that the discipline has become focused on debates that are far detached from anything in the Scriptures. Often I feel like the constructs of systematics do violence to the texts to make them all speak with one voice.

There can be an artificiality to the way we discuss and frame the Scriptural witness in systematic theology. An artificiality that maybe isn’t there in Biblical Theology.

So why do it at all?

Well I have some thoughts on that too (I’d hope so at least or why am I studying systematics?). And I’ll offer a thought on it, but my thoughts are not so much the point this morning. I want to hear from you.

Here is my initial suggestion: All of us end up constructing a big picture, an overarching narrative of what the Bible is saying and where the Story is going, so we may as well wrestle with that picture and try to shape it well. Systematic theology done right gives us the tools to engage in that task.

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What are your thoughts? Is there an important role for the discipline of systematic theology? What does it look like to do systematics well?

Mason with ZA

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