Beware of Systematic Theologies

20140503_163954Recently a colleague and I were talking systematic theologies, after a visit to my house, and him noticing the number of systematic theologies on my bookshelf.  My colleague revealed his uneasiness with systematic theologies, remarking that God is more experiential that our systematic theologies.

I expressed my own concern as well.

Over the years I’ve cut my teeth on systematic theologies.  I’ve been greatly enriched from reading them.  But along the way, like many, I’ve also used systematic theologies to establish off theological boundaries, determining who was in and who was out.

Then I would mostly invest in systematic theologies written by those in the Reformed and Calvinistic camp, concluding that they had gotten God right.

Before you know it, I had created my own image of God, with the help of Reformed and Calvinistic systematic theologians.

This image of God became my filter.

My lens.

My grid.

Other images of God had to simply fit in.

Now I’ve come to the realization, that I cannot domesticate God; that I cannot get him to fit between the covers of a twelve hundred-page systematic theology, as much as I would love him to; and that he is not the Reformed and Calvinistic God I had come to imagine all these years.

So I say, beware of systematic theologies, especially when it comes to God and his ways.

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2 Responses to Beware of Systematic Theologies

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    Brilliantly put. Couldn’t agree more. Clearly in some ways we’ve been on the same trajectory, brother. You’re a pilgrim.

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