Warfield on Systematic Theology

Well this has been a pretty stressful week. Stupid money. On top of all my money issues, Regent accidentally double charged me for this term and I didn’t notice for a week. That equated to eight overdraft charge. Yes, eight! I am hoping that once Regent credits me, they bank will understand because it wasn’t actually my fault. I dropped Hebrew both for financial reasons and because it is probably for the best: not sure if I would have been able to handle another term. I appreciate those that have been praying and/or offering financial aid, it is really appreciated and I feel very blessed (I especially want to thank Laura from Pursuing Holiness). And again, if any millionaire bloggers happen to stop by, the donation button is to your right. ;)

The first reading for my systematic theology class comes from B.B. Warfield in his essay “The Idea of Systematic Theology” taken from The Princeton Theology: 1812-1921 edited by Mark A. Noll. I thought there were a few good quotes worth of sharing with you all:

Our reaching up to Him [God] in thought and inference is possible only because He condescends to make Himself intelligible to us, to speak to us through work, to reveal Himself… the sole source of theology is revelation.

All science without God is mutilated science, and no account of a single branch of knowledge can ever be complete until it is pushed back to find its completion and ground in Him…

[T]he clearer, fuller, and more discriminating this knowledge is, the more certainly and richly will it produce its appropriate effect; and in this is found a most complete vindication of the duty of systematizing the separate elements of truth into a single soundly concatenated whole by which the essential nature of each is made as clear as it can be made to human apprehension.

[I]f we misconceive it [systematic theology] in its parts or in its relations, not only do our views of truth become confused and erroneous, but also our religious life becomes dwarfed or contorted. The character of our religion is, in a word, determined by the character of our theology: and thus the task of the systematic theologian is to see that the relations in which the separate truths actually stand are rightly conceived, in order that they may exert their rightful influence on the development of the religious life.

And the payoff of doing theology:

[T]he systematic theologian is preeminently a preacher of the gospel; and the end of his work is obviously not merely the logical arrangements of the truths which come under his hand, but the moving of men, through their power, to love God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves; to choose their portion with the Saviour of their souls; to find and hold Him precious and to recognize and yield to the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit whom He has sent.

And a note from Thomas Aquinas on apologetics (in “Apologetics” used by Warfield in another place):

[T]hough faith be a moral act and the gift of God, it is yet formally conviction passing into confidence; and that all forms of conviction must rest on evidence as their ground, and it is not faith but reason which investigates the nature and validity of this ground… We believe in Christ because it is rational to believe in Him… Of course mere reasoning cannot make a Christian but that is not beacuse faith is not the result of evidence, but because a dead soul cannot respond to evidence. The action of the Holy Spirit in giving faith is not apart from evidence, but along with evidence.

That, I feel, is a very powerful statement!

God bless
-Matt Jones

PS: There is talk that Arrested Development will be picked up by Showtime (if Mitchell Hurwitz comes along). Let’s hope that happens. Eventhough I don’t get the channel, I could at least get the DVDs!

Categories: Daily Life, Religion, Theology
  1. January 27th, 2006 at 09:59 | #1

    Took the time to read your Bio. In some ways we are alike. I graduated with a degree in Math and Science.I got a master’s in education. Then I went to the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and ended up as a pastor. It is amazing what God can do in one’s life. I do hope your studies do help you grow closer to God.

  2. January 27th, 2006 at 16:45 | #2

    Well that is very cool. I always enjoy finding other science guys studying theology, I think they compliment each other well. It is very cool to see God’s direction! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  1. February 1st, 2006 at 16:13 | #1
  2. February 1st, 2006 at 06:40 | #2
  3. February 1st, 2006 at 10:12 | #3

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