This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)
Systematic theology, or systematics, is a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. It addresses issues such as what the Bible teaches about certain topics or what is true about God and His universe. It also builds on biblical disciplines, church history, as well as biblical and historical theology. Systematic theology shares its systematic tasks with other disciplines such as constructive theology, dogmatics, ethics, apologetics, and philosophy of religion.
With a methodological tradition that differs somewhat from biblical theology, systematic theology draws on the core sacred texts of Christianity, while simultaneously investigating the development of Christian doctrine over the course of history, particularly through philosophy, ethics, social sciences, and natural sciences. Using biblical texts, it attempts to compare and relate all of scripture which led to the creation of a systematized statement on what the whole Bible says about particular issues.
Within Christianity, different traditions (both intellectual and ecclesial) approach systematic theology in different ways impacting a) the method employed to develop the system, b) the understanding of theology's task, c) the doctrines included in the system, and d) the order those doctrines appear. Even with such diversity, it is generally the case that works that one can describe as systematic theologies begin with revelation and conclude with eschatology.
Since it is focused on truth, systematic theology is also framed to interact with and address the contemporary world. There are numerous authors who explored this area such as the case of Charles Gore, John Walvoord, Lindsay Dewar, and Charles Moule, among others. The framework developed by these theologians involved a review of postbiblical history of a doctrine after first treating the biblical materials. This process concludes with applications to contemporary issues.
Since it is a systemic approach, systematic theology organizes truth under different headings and there are ten basic areas (or categories), although the exact list may vary slightly. These are:
- Angelology – The study of angels
- Bibliology – The study of the Bible
- Christology – The study of Christ
- Demonology – The study of demons
- Ecclesiology – The study of the church
- Eschatology – The study of the end times
- Hamartiology – The study of sin
- Mariology – the study of all things pertaining to Mary, the mother of Jesus
- Missiology – The study of missionary work
- Paterology — The study of God the Father
- Pneumatology – The study of the Holy Spirit
- Soteriology – The study of salvation
- Teleology – The study of God’s design and purpose for the world and all He created in it
- Theological anthropology – The study of the nature of humanity
- Theology proper – The study of the character of God
The establishment and integration of varied Christian ideas and Christianity-related notions, including diverse topics and themes of the Bible, in a single, coherent and well-ordered presentation is a relatively late development. In Eastern Orthodoxy, an early example is provided by John of Damascus's 8th-century Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, in which he attempts to set in order and demonstrate the coherence of the theology of the classic texts of the Eastern theological tradition.
In the West, Peter Lombard's 12th-century Sentences, wherein he thematically collected a great series of quotations of the Church Fathers, became the basis of a medieval scholastic tradition of thematic commentary and explanation. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae best exemplifies this scholastic tradition. The Lutheran scholastic tradition of a thematic, ordered exposition of Christian theology emerged in the 16th century with Philipp Melanchthon's Loci Communes, and was countered by a Calvinist scholasticism, which is exemplified by John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.
In the 19th century, primarily in Protestant groups, a new kind of systematic theology arose that attempted to demonstrate that Christian doctrine formed a more coherent system premised on one or more fundamental axioms. Such theologies often involved a more drastic pruning and reinterpretation of traditional belief in order to cohere with the axiom or axioms. Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, for example, produced Der christliche Glaube nach den Grundsätzen der evangelischen Kirche (The Christian Faith According to the Principles of the Protestant Church) in the 1820s, in which the fundamental idea is the universal presence among humanity, sometimes more hidden, sometimes more explicit, of a feeling or awareness of 'absolute dependence'.
- Biblical exegesis
- Biblical theology
- Category:Systematic theologians
- Christian apologetics
- Christian theology
- Constructive theology
- Dispensationalist theology
- Dogmatic Theology
- Feminist theology
- Historicism (Christianity)
- Liberal Christianity
- Liberation theology
- Philosophical theology
- Philosophy of religion
- Political theology
- Postliberal theology
- Process theology
- Theology of Anabaptism
- ^ a b Carson, D.A. (2018). NIV, Biblical Theology Study Bible, eBook: Follow God's Redemptive Plan as It Unfolds throughout Scripture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. ISBN 9780310450436.
- ^ Garrett, James Leo (2014). Systematic Theology, Volume 1, Fourth Edition. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 20. ISBN 9781498206594.
- ^ Berkhof, Louis (1938). Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. p. 17.
- ^ Garrett, James Leo (2014). Systematic Theology, Volume 2. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 138. ISBN 9781498206600.
- ^ "Categories of Theology". www.gcfweb.org. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- ^ Sheldrake, Philip (2016). Christian Spirituality and Social Transformation. Oxford Research Encyclopedias.
- Barth, Karl (1956–1975). Church Dogmatics. (thirteen volumes) Edinburgh: T&T Clark. (ISBN 978-0-567-05809-6)
- Berkhof, Hendrikus (1979). Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Study of the Faith. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. (ISBN 978-0-8028-0548-5)
- Berkhof, Louis (1996). Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
- Bloesch, Donald G. (2002–2004). Christian Foundations (seven volumes). Inter-varsity Press. (ISBN 978-0-8308-2753-4, ISBN 978-0-8308-2754-1, ISBN 978-0-8308-2755-8, ISBN 978-0-8308-2757-2, ISBN 978-0-8308-2752-7, ISBN 978-0-8308-2756-5, ISBN 978-0-8308-2751-0)
- Calvin, John (1559). Institutes of the Christian Religion.
- Chafer, Lewis Sperry (1948). Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Kregel
- Chemnitz, Martin (1591). Loci Theologici. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989.
- Erickson, Millard (1998). Christian Theology (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998.
- Frame, John. Theology of Lordship (ISBN 978-0-87552-263-0)
- Fruchtenbaum, Arnold (1989). Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries
- Fruchtenbaum, Arnold (1998). Messianic Christology. Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries
- Geisler, Norman L. (2002–2004). Systematic Theology (four volumes). Minneapolis: Bethany House.
- Grenz, Stanley J. (1994). Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. (ISBN 978-0-8028-4755-3)
- Grider, J. Kenneth (1994). A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology (ISBN 0-8341-1512-3)
- Grudem, Wayne (1995). Systematic Theology. Zondervan. (ISBN 978-0-310-28670-7)
- Hodge, Charles (1960). Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
- Jenson, Robert W. (1997–1999). Systematic Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (ISBN 978-0-19-508648-5)
- Melanchthon, Philipp (1543). Loci Communes. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1992. (ISBN 978-1-55635-445-8)
- Miley, John. Systematic Theology. 1892. (ISBN 978-0-943575-09-4)
- Newlands, George (1994). God in Christian Perspective. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
- Oden, Thomas C. (1987–1992). Systematic Theology (3 volumes). Peabody, MA: Prince Press.
- Pannenberg, Wolfhart (1988–1993). Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
- Pieper, Francis (1917–1924). Christian Dogmatics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
- Reymond, Robert L. (1998). A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (2nd ed.). Word Publishing.
- Schleiermacher, Friedrich (1928). The Christian Faith. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
- St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430). De Civitate Dei
- Thielicke, Helmut (1974–1982). The Evangelical Faith. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
- Thiessen, Henry C. (1949). Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: William B. Erdsmans Publishing Co.
- Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology. (3 volumes).
- Turretin, Francis (3 parts, 1679–1685). Institutes of Elenctic Theology.
- Van Til, Cornelius (1974). An Introduction to Systematic Theology. P & R Press.
- Watson, Richard. Theological Institutes. 1823.
- Weber, Otto. (1981–1983) Foundations of Dogmatics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.