INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

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1 -B1- INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY Reading Pages 1. Collected Writings of John Murray, 4, ed. Iain H. Murray. 8 * I. Systematic Theology, pp Shorter Selected Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, II, ed. John Meeter. Chapter 15. The Right of Systematic Theology, pp Chapter 16. The Indispensableness of Systematic Theology..., pp * 3. The Preacher and Preaching, ed. Samuel T. Logan. 26 * 9. Preaching and Systematic Theology, by Donald MacLeod, pp The New Testament Student and Theology, Vol.3, ed. John Skilton. 19 Chapter 3. Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology, by Richard Gaffin, pp Banner of Truth, 89, February * The Practical Importance of Systematic Theology, by B. B. Warfield, pp Banner of Truth, 116, May Proof Texts, by Paul Helm, pp Banner of Truth, 129, June Intellectual Exercises, by Paul Helm, pp Questions 1. (a) Briefly explain what Systematic Theology is. It will be easier to understand if you compare it with Biblical Theology. Look at the contents pages of Berkhof s Systematic Theology, and Vos Biblical Theology in order to see the differences in the structures of these theologies. (b) Make a defense of Systematic Theology as a method of understanding the teaching of the Bible. As you try to answer this part of the question think over some of the following things - Why did God not give the Bible in the form of a Systematic Theology textbook? What benefits do we get from Systematic Theology? Does the Bible teach the same doctrine throughout? Are the doctrines of the Bible connected to each other? 2. Do you think that a good knowledge of Systematic Theology is necessary for a preacher and pastor? Ask yourself the following practical questions as you write your response - Are there things lacking in preachers you know who have little Systematic Theology? Is there any value in knowing the relationship between doctrines? What is the place of doctrine in Christianity?

2 (B1-1) A very important part of this theological course is the study of Systematic Theology. 8 out of the 26 courses are in doctrine: Scripture, God, Man & Sin, Christ, Holy Spirit, Ethics, Church, Eschatology. This is an area where Bible Schools are usually weak. We want it to be the area where you are very strong! You must first understand what Systematic Theology (ST) is, then defend it as a theological discipline, and finally see how important it is. In order to give you help in approaching and understanding the readings, you must first read through these additional sheets and answer the short questions in the spaces provided, so that you can then go on to answering the main questions on B1. A proper understanding of the readings is absolutely basic to all your study. Please follow the instructions very carefully. Look at reading 1, Collected Writings of John Murray 4, on the nature of Systematic Theology, and answer the following questions, referring to the page numbers in brackets ( ), where you will find the answers. Read pp What is the task of ST (sometimes called dogmatics )? (p.1) 2. What are the two adjectives used which describe the manner in which the truth is to be set forth?, (p.1) 3. Now look at Berkhof s Systematic Theology, pp.7-16, and write down the 6 parts into which the book is divided: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 4. How are these six parts orderly and coherent? 5. Look up a dictionary for the meaning of the word systematic. 6. What are the two sources of ST? [1] [2] (pp.1-2) 7. Which is the principal source? (p.2) 8. Why is ST the most noble of all sciences and disciplines? (p.4) 9. What is the relationship between ST and all other theological study? (p.4) 10. What are the two ways in which special revelation (= Scripture) is redemptive? [1] [2] (p.4) 11. First, write down the meaning of the word corollary (p.4). What influence does the redemptive nature of Scripture have on ST? (pp.4-5) Read pp According to Murray, why does Scripture itself demand the study of ST? (p.5) 13. Has the study of ST continuously advanced in the history of the Church? (p.6)

3 (B1-2) 14. Which period of Church history has seen the greatest advance in the study of ST? (p.7) 15. Which is the greatest ST textbook ever written? (p.7) 16. How has heresy made ST necessary? (p.7) 17. If the study of ST has not reached a definitive finality, on what basis should ST be always tested and re-tested? (p.8) 18. What is the task of each new generation? (p.8) From pp.8-19 Murray goes on to compare ST with Biblical Theology. If ST deals with special revelation as completed, asking the question, What does the whole Bible teach about this particular subject? (e.g. the love of God); Biblical Theology deals with special revelation as an historical process, asking the question, What does God reveal at this particular time in history? (e.g. the time of Abraham). Now read pp Why is it important to study Biblical Theology as a background for ST? In other words, what are the two contexts necessary for the study of ST? [1] [2] (p.20) 20. What is the danger of proof texts in ST? (If possible look at reading 6) (p.21) The three other readings in B1 are mainly concerned with ST and preaching. Go to reading 2, photocopied from Selected Shorter Writings of B. B. Warfield 2, on the Indispensableness of Systematic Theology to the Preacher, and answer the following questions as you read. Read pp Why is it more important for a preacher to know the truth (= ST) than to be an accomplished preacher? (p.280) 22. Murray defines ST as redemptive. What is the similar definition of ST by Warfield? (p.281) 23. How does Warfield answer the objection, Give us not scholars, but plain practical men in our pulpits? (pp ) 24. What is the fundamental principle that makes ST indispensible to the preacher? Give the quotation from Bishop Westcott (p.283) 25. What has been the influence of religious ideas (similar to ST) on the history of the world? (p.283) 26. Can you show from the Bible the inseparable relationship between doctrine and practice? And write Bible reference. [1] Give an example of wrong doctrine leading to evil practice. ( ) [2] Give an example of true doctrine leading to godly practice. ( ) [3] Give an example of an exhortation to godly practice based on doctrine. ( ) 27. What is the conclusion that Warfield gives? (p.284)

4 (B1-3) On pp Warfield gives examples as to the correctness of this conclusion from the Westcott (p.284), Bonar (p.285), Whyte (pp ), and Thornwell (p.286). 28. Why is it impossible to preach at all unless doctrine is preached? (pp ) 29. Why is the study of ST the most indispensible preparation for the pulpit? (p.288) May this make you diligent in your study of systematic theology! Now go to reading 3, photocopied from The Preacher and Preaching, on Preaching and Systematic Theology, and answer the following questions as you read. Read pp What does the first sentence tell you both about the danger of preaching ST, and the failure to preach it? To answer this you must read pp Note that on p.247 there are two quotes from reading 2 (Warfield). 31. What is the relationship between ST and Biblical and Historical Theology? (pp ) 32. Note the 4 characteristics of ST, and what each word means (p.248). [1] ; [2] ; [3] ; [4] ; 33. How does ST help in understanding specific texts of the Bible? Give one example used. [1] (p.248) [2] (p.249) [3] (p.250) 34. What dangers must be avoided in using ST in understanding specific texts? Give one example used for each. [1] (p.251) [2] (p.251) [3] (p.252) You need only glance at pp Read pp How does MacLeod show that evangelism is impossible without ST? (pp ) 36. How does MacLeod show that pastoral care is impossible without ST? (pp ) You only need glance at pp , but read pp In his conclusion (pp ), what is one great reason that MacLeod gives as to why preaching needs ST (= dogmatics)?

5 (B1-4) Now turn to reading 5, photocopied from the Banner of Truth magazine, on the Practical Importance of Systematic Theology, and answer the following questions. Read pp What is the purpose of truth? (p.20) Can you prove this from the Bible (give Bible reference)? 39. How can truth most efficiently be used for this purpose? (p.20) 40. In response to which things in the history of the Church has ST developed? (pp.21-22) 41. Why is it not just the separate truths, but the truths as a system that are essential? Remember the 6 parts in Berkhof s ST. Note his quotes from several French Protestants - Arnaud (p.22), Bonifas (p.23), Bois (p.23), and then Moule (pp.23-24). (p.22) 42. Warfield draws two conclusions (pp.24-25). [1] What is the purpose of the study of ST? [2] How should ST be preached? Summary of B1 You should now know what systematic theology is, and how important it is for you to study it. Few preachers of today know much about systematic theology but you have seen how good theology is a necessary background to good preaching. You are now ready to answer the two questions on B1. Make use of the answers you have given to the above 42 questions.

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