The Problem with Systematic Theology

And I’m here to tell you that the entire concept
of a knowledge of God and His Word to mankind that has been arrived at systematically is
inherently flawed. This is going to hurt your head a
little bit, so I want to try a little further (not too far I hope) to articulate this line
of thought. Modern Systematic Theology was a response to the threat of the European Enlightenment
of the early 1700’s that sought to gut the
church of it’s spirituality by means of ushering in secular
humanism to replace it. Since this was the era when intellectualism
and the Scientific Method were established as the best of all possible
protocols for the discovery of truth the Church felt
pressured into formulating a systematic method to present
itself. The hope was that it would be intellectually
acceptable to the leaders of the new Enlightened Society. And the system that was created was called
theology, and it sought to divide and separate the essence and practice of Christianity
into about 10 categories. Each category was
given a fancy academic name and the church endeavored to answer a series of key questions
about Christian beliefs that each of these 10 or so categories would naturally ask. At the end of the day, the answers to those
questions formed the basis for the interpretation of the Bible. The Church calls those answers “doctrines”,
and thus the conclusions formed by these doctrinal principles, when
used together, formed an intertwined and interdependent unified theological system. The downside was that if one of the doctrines
that were part of the system changed or failed, the entire system was affected since it is
viewed as a whole. Thus Systematic Theology judges and explains God’s actions and His teachings based on
human logic and reason. If we can’t explain what God does, and what
occurrences and events we see in the Bible logically and rationally,
then they either didn’t happen or they are fairy tales. The same issue arises with Systematic
Theology’s tendency to want to find natural solutions to miraculous biblical events. However here is the crux of the matter: this sort of systematic approach to knowing God
or to learning the Scriptures is NOT how the ancient
Hebrews, nor how Judaism up to the time of Christ, ever envisioned establishing the revelation
of divine truth.

Another problem I find is many will ultimately underline their personal theology into their systematic view. For example, a Calvinist will line their systematic theological view to Calvinism.

If we place our theology before Scripture we are out of order.

I have learned and grown so much studying Torah with you. I started years ago with Genesis and it has been very enlightening. I’m a homeschool mom and use this for my kid’s bible class. We have great discussions after listening.

This makes so much sense. A.W. Tozer said someone that needed to be "reasoned into" following Christ, could just as easily be "reasoned out of" following him. Faith in Jesus is utterly irrational from the human point of view. Believing in someone I've never met in person or seen? That's nuts humanly speaking. The human mind says "Seeing IS believing" while God says "Believe in me first. THEN I'll reveal myself to you."

The problem is revelation. God is the the source of all truth. If you read the Bible, God reveals himself to prophets. Prophets were given priesthood authority and had direct revelation from God about his existence, nature, will and purpose. Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, except he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets.” Prophets are not the only ones however, who can receive revelation from God. We can all receive personal revelation. The scientific method is found in the words of Christ. “If any man shall do His will, he shall know if the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” Also in James 1:5 " If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." In fact, personal revelation that Jesus is the Christ is the rock on which Christ would build his church. God stands revealed or he remains forever unknown. In Acts 17 Paul found the intellectual Athenians alter to the unknown God, yet Paul knew him, and God had revealed himself to Paul as he was an Apostle and prophet. Christ clearly organized His church on the earth and it had structure. The problem was the prophetic and Apostolic leadership was persecuted and killed off and not replaced. People clearly brought in other belief systems and differing interpretations of scripture. The church became apostate and corrupted. The reformers put their own interpretations of scripture out the best they could, yet even they argued and disagreed greatly. Religion is not built by man from the ground up, but from Heaven down. That is why I believe in the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ on the earth, once again through the calling and ordaining of prophets and apostles and priesthood authority in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Reinstated is the church order and organization as well as a clear understanding of the Plan of Salvation and the purpose and destiny of man.

I have used the scientific method and tested its doctrines and had personal revelation from the Holy Ghost of its truthfulness. It has led to nothing but good in my life. It makes sense logically, intellectually and spiritually. Again it is all based on revelation. I would ask you to read the Book of Mormon, talk to the missionaries, attend church and try the experiment of faith and seek personal revelation to know for yourself if these things are not true. I know that they are and am so grateful for God who reveals himself to me, enlightens my understanding, speaks to my mind and heart and grants me faith which leads me to peace and joy in this life, with hope of eternal peace and joy in the life to come. I know it is true and I love it!

Whether or not this is what Systematic Theology started as, I know for a fact that this is absolutely NOT systemic theology today.

Systematic theology was invented by Anslem of Canterbury during the High Period of the Middle Ages. It did not come about during the Enlightenment as this speaker seems to misunderstand. Maybe he should have done some research before speaking as an "expert" on this topic.

If you have no systematic theology (which is derived from scripture) then you aren't bound by any consistency. It all must go together.


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