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A Systematic Theology for the 21st Century

A Systematic Theology for the 21st Century

Part 01 Prolegomena

A Systematic Theology for the 21st Century

Part 01 Prolegomena

Preface

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..

Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:20

 

If you recently graduated with honors – Congratulations! If you were recently voted most valuable player on your basketball team – That's great! If you were recently awarded a big salary increase – Good for you! But none of these things is worth getting too excited about. No, there is one thing, only one, that should get a man or a woman really excited.”1

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

 

The thing that impresses God the most about any given individual is how much that individual is impressed with God. Indeed, it is a tragedy of enormous extent “that he should be so little in our thoughts who sparkles in everything which presents itself to our eyes.”2 But, oh, how our Dear Lord loves to honor and bless that individual that delights himself in the Lord and is altogether taken up with his God!3

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 58:14

 

There is no Baptist Systematic Theology work in print today, i.e. there is no Systematic Theology work that has the inerrant, infallible, verbally inspired word of God as its sole authority, even like Baptists, by definition, have it as their sole authority for all faith and practice. There ought to be. There is a cause.

You are solicited to join in a five year theological journey which will end with a “Systematic Theology for the 21st Century.” The only fare is that you review the work as it is being assembled. All critiques will be welcomed and any born again believer is fully qualified to construct, and certainly to critique, such a work. A systematic theology is simply drawing a circle around the Holy Bible, and then rationally considering every principle, concept and thought that has been revealed to man by God. It shall be exhaustive, but in this venue, with your help, it need not be exhausting.

The reward for your participation will be a copy of the completed work. But that will barely compare with the benefit we each gain in assembling such a work.

The Cause

As a systems engineer for thirty years (since 1972), I focused on systems analysis. Systematic theology has intrigued me ever since my first Bible institute course in 1975. I have amassed multiple systematic theology books and never found one that is wholly Biblical. This year, Seminary work assigned me to read and analyze six volumes of Systematic Theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder and previous president of Dallas Theological Seminary. Initial critique of this neo-evangelical, voluminous, wordy, often unintelligible, more often unorganized work, answered the question, “Is there not a cause?” A Systematic Theology for the 21st Century is indeed a valid need. It cries out to be written and it is a work that I must needs endeavor.

Immediately there are three principle flaws that need to be overhauled in previous works. Previous systematic theologies spend effort systematizing creeds rather than the systematizing Bible revelation. For example, the Westminster confession of faith establishes that God unchangeablly decreed every thing that comes to pass... EVERYTHING! And that He decreed it all before the foundation of the world! The Bible is emphatic that Abraham with his bargaining, Moses with his intercession, Nineveh with its repentance, Joash with his arrows, Hezekiah with his prayer, and Jesus with his whosoever(s), each directly changed what God was going to do. Also, IF prayer changes things, so can we and so can God. One would expect Charles Hodge (1797-1878) to bow to such a Westminster creed, he was a Presbyterian. But when Augustus Strong (1836-1921), an American Baptist minister and Theologian, supports Westminster over the Bible, and Henry C. Thiessen (1883 - 1947), 1947 President of Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary, resoundingly supported Westminster over the Bible, and finally when Lewis Sperry Chafer, followed suit, it is time to re-write a systematic theology that presents what the Bible reveals over what the creeds state. Present systematic theology works are marred by what the Holy Catholic Church declared as truth. A Biblical one is direly needed.

Secondly, previous systematic theologies spend effort defending philosophies of man and rationality of man rather than systematizing Bible revelation. All the previous listed theologians spend undo time and effort wrestling with the ontological and teleological proof that there is a God. The Bible spends no effort in such vain philosophies of man. Also, Thiessen, particularly, expends great effort defending the philosophical and Roman Catholic argument that man is only material and immaterial and NOT body, soul and spirit, i.e. a trichotomy in the image of God. In this error, he even calls Holy Scripture, “just Paul's opinion.” Chafer also makes reference to the dichotomy of man, but then later references his trichotomy; again Chafer has proven himself remarkably wordy, unclear, and inconsistent.

Lastly Thiessen and Chafer, by their own insistence, have no access to a verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible Holy Bible. They insist that nowhere in the world does such a Bible exist. Both base their systematic theologies on what textual critics, modern translators, and modern scholars thought God meant to say. A true theologian must base all theology on an inerrant, infallible, verbally inspired Holy Bible; it is our sole authority. For Baptists it is the sole authority for all faith and practice, and we have no reliably written Systematic Theology in print. With this effort and your help we will get one in print, at least in eprint. Baptist Bible seminaries, colleges, institutes, and students deserve no less.

The structure:

Part 01 Prolegomena 11

Part 02 Bibliology 32

Part 03 Theology 56

Part 04 Christology 63

Part 05 Pneumatology 182

Part 06 Anthropology 285

Part 07 Hamartiology 287

Part 08 Soteriology 288

Part 09 Ecclesiology 362

Part 10 Angelology 394

Part 11 Eschatology 413

Part 12 Epilogue 475

 

Part 01 Prolegomena

1Walter Allan Yoho, “YAHWEH The Greatness of God,” Volume 1 of 3, FBCPublications.com, 2010,71

2 Cited by Walter Allen Yoho, Stephen Charnock, The existence and Attributes of God. I. Grand Rapids, MI:Baker Book House, Reprint, 1979, 168-169.

3 Ibid. Yoho, 72

Table of Contents
Preface    1
The Cause    1
The structure:    3
Part 01 Prolegomena    3
Theology is for Everyone    5
Why Systematic?    6
Theology is not a Science and has not been Systematic    8
Consider the System in Systematic     13
Truly Systematic is Accomplished with Actual Systems    14
The New Improved Systematic Methodology    23

I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.... And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.... I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Eccl 1:12,17-18, 3:10-11

 

The Systematic Theology for the 21st century needs a Prolegomena. Prolegomena is a preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity. Prolegomena comes from the Greek, “Prolegein” – meaning to say before hand1. Such an introduction essay to a systematic theology, is necessary here to set some pre-conditions, to scope out the formidable task, and, in this instance especially, to redefine the system in systematic and differentiate this effort from the many other works of this nature.

Theology is the compounding of two words, “theos” for God, and “ology” for a verbose, exhaustively researched, consideration of, a meditation on, a discussion about, and a communication of, its topic. Theology is thus an exhaustively covered presentation of everything that could be known about God and everything that God has done. Knowing everything under the sun is a pretty daunting task.

The travail given to man by God is to seek and search out all things that are done under heaven. (Eccl. 1:13, 3:10). All rational minds are to be exercised in this travail. By God's grace...

Visit www.Theology.GSBaptistChurch.com to follow this book's development.

1The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd edition 1994 Soft Key International, s.v. Prolegomena

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Your input to this theology working group is helping write the First Baptist Systematic Theology, and keeping it thoroughly Biblical.
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