In a comment on a previous post, Joshua Smith pointed to a fine article by Michael Horton on the importance and necessity of systematic theology. Professor Horton makes a number of great points regarding the importance of systematic theology, but I especially appreciated his cautions regarding the dangers of making our theological systems immune to Scripture:
“we should have a healthy fear of ignoring some Scriptures in the interest of maintaining our ‘system.’ During every great shift in Christian theology-take the Reformation, for instance-it is always possible to treat the existing system as unalterable. But for we who are heirs to the Reformation, this would be ironic, since the reformers were rightly critical of the notions of an unerring magisterium and irreformable dogmas. In fact, the Reformation occurred because some biblical passages came knocking on the door of the church; and division resulted largely because the late medieval church simply refused to rethink its interpretation of Scripture in the light of clear exegesis.”
“we must be careful to keep our systems open to correction by accurate exegesis, that is, by accurate interpretation of biblical passages. And we must beware of equating our confessional and systematic theologies with Scripture itself. No responsible evangelical theologian has ever attributed final authority to any system.”
yea and right on.