The dangers of theological systems

Dave MillerDave Miller has posted an excellent and badly needed article on The dangers of theological systems at SBC Voices.

Dave, who serves as senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, begins by noting: There is a lot to be gained from theological systems. They help us unify and organize our thoughts and see consistent themes in the study of Scripture. They help us link Genesis to Leviticus to Matthew to Romans to Revelation. It is great to have an organizing hermeneutical principle when we are studying scripture. But these controlling hermeneutical principles have some inherent dangers.

Dave lists four dangers:

1) The Bible is NOT a systematic theology.

2) We can do exegetical violence to individual passages to make them fit our systems.

3) We can fall prey to “accidental Papalism.”

4) We can become arrogant and divisive.

He makes four suggestions to avoid the dangers:

1) Submit your system to your exegesis.

2) Focus on book by book, verse by verse exposition.

3) Hold your system with humility.

You can read the full post — and the details under each of his points — by clicking here.

I’ve expressed concern that some pastors and teachers seem to submit Scripture to the authority of their systematic theology or traditional belief. Some seem to believe ordinary church members share their infatuation with seven-syllable God-words. Most of the ugly rock-chunkin between SB bloggers is, in part, a war between partisans of a couple of systematic theologies.

Dave’s made a good contribution. Now if the people who need to pay attention have ears to hear …


About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
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