Theology 525 Db1
Using the definition of systematic theology given by B A Dermarest in Elwell's Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, explain how it relates to three other disciplines of theology: biblical theology, historical theology, and philosophical theology. Which of the four approaches is the most important in your current or future ministry context?
“Systematic theology thus begins with the totality of biblical revelation and the extra biblical truth, provisionally respects the development of doctrine in the church’s history, draws out the teachings of Scripture via sound grammatical, historical, and cultural exegesis, orders the result into a coherent whole where the interrelatedness of its parts is evidenced, and relates the results to the life and witness of the Christian community.” Systematic theology is the study of Scripture in its entirety. This covers diverse subjects such as both the Old and New Testament, church history, missions, and counseling.
“Biblical theology is simply theology that is biblical, that is, based on and faithful to the teachings of the Bible.” Millard J. Erickson also refers to Biblical theology as “the right kind of theology”. Systematic theology that is taken directly from Scripture will correlate similarly with Biblical theology.
Historical theology is the study of the church and the theologians from within church history. Systematic theology can relate with historical theology by way of marrying specific Biblical doctrine and how Christian theologians and the church have dealt with these truths throughout history. “If we closely examine some of our new ideas in the light of the history of the church, we will find that they are actually new forms of old conceptions.” This is the value found in applying Historical theology as it allows us to not repeat the mistakes of the church’s past.
Philosophical theology can serve in aiding systematic theology where it is involved. “There are three contributions different theologians believe philosophy or philosophy of religion may make to theology: philosophy may (1) supply content for theology; (2) defend theology or establish its truth; (3) scrutinize its concepts and arguments.” While philosophy is a great discipline of knowledge it cannot replace the understanding we have from the biblical revelation.
I would have to say that I prefer Systematic theology the most in my personal ministry. Systematic theology focuses on Biblical truth, while incorporating all the major and minor theological systems. This form of theology allows for the totality of the Bible to judge a singular Scriptural text. “Finally, within systematic theology, there are various doctrines, such as bibliology, anthropology, Christology, and theology proper (or the doctrine of God).”
[ 1 ]. Elwell, Walter, A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2001, 1162.
[ 2 ]. Erickson, Millard, J., Christian Theology, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998, 26.
[ 3 ]. ibid., 28.
[ 4 ]. ibid., 29.
[ 5 ]. Ibid., 25.