Biblical versus Systematic Theology? (by Donald Macleod)

reformation21Systematic Theology is often contrasted unfavourably with the relatively new discipline of Biblical Theology. The very terminology immediately sets Systematics at a disadvantage, as if Biblical Theology alone were ‘biblical’ and anything that sets out to be ‘systematic’ should be viewed with profound suspicion. At one time in his career Karl Barth even refused to lecture on ‘Systematic Theology’ because, he argued, the combination of this noun and this adjective was highly problematical. Many Evangelicals share Barth’s suspicions, often for the same reasons. ‘System’ conjures up the notion of alien philosophical ideas imposed on the concepts of Scripture; or, alternatively, a theology confined within a confessional straitjacket. – Continue reading


  1. jimwillingham

    While I think little of Barth and even less of his theology, he is correct in one sense: Systematic theology does not fit the perception gained from study of biblical dogma, and the reason is that biblical theology is asymmetrical due, in part no doubt, to its paradoxical nature, a view often rejected by those whose logical views demand a symmetrical theology. They fail to recognize that what seems chaotic actually obeys other laws, vide the law of fractals. Besides, the poles of paradox are intended to provide the tension in the human mind that enables a believer to be balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic or, in short, God’s best subliminal advertisement of the faith, a mature Christian and every one wants a piece of such peaceful, resolute, persevering, compassionate, and kindly intentioned commitment.

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