It has been 4 years since I left the thought of systematic theology ever being something ‘important’ to academic studies as well as the Christian faith. It’s not that it had no place of importance but I sort of thought that it’s place was not among those being the most important. Donald Miller commented on the influence that systematic theology had on reading the bible. Too many times have Christians elevated propositional truth over against reading scripture in the form of story and appreciating it as that.
That and the emergent/emerging conversation added fire to my ambiguity towards systematic theology.
But now, going through another theology class and listening to the lecture, my fascination with systematic theology has come to life again. Deep inside I always appreciated the input that systematic theology has been on my mind and heart in reading the bible. It was when I used it rigidly in commanding my interpretive reading of the text was when I abused what was important to reading scripture.
There is a need for propositional statements because they serve as summaries of the whole in which we gather together and combine to give meaning. To say that God is love is not a misleading of explanation. It is a summary of what is found in scripture. It is a statement that is evident when one reads the bible. But love also must be explained by a lens that understands that God cannot be compounded by just one definition. So which brings us to the idea that defining God is a synthesis of ideas gained from reading the whole text witnessing to who God is.
I think, now that I’ve made peace with systematic theology, it might be an area I wish to pursue in. After all, I fell in love with theological studies because of systematic theology in the first place.