What is theology? part II

I thought I’d occasionally post various theologians’ definition of what exactly theology is. In my first post, I outlined Robert L. Reymond’s definition as given in the Introduction to his A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith.

Robert L. Reymond (1932-2013)

He concludes his introduction with a list of “specific aspects of the Reformed theological task” (xxxiv-xxxv), which I will recount here:

First, Reymond asserts that the “Reformed systematician should provide his readers with cognitive information concerning”:

1. The major loci and cardinal doctrines of Christian theology as set forth in Holy Scripture (and what he gives his readers should be, with no change in basic content, preachable and teachable material).

2. The historic faith of the early church and the manner in which the church articulated and expressed its faith in its creeds and symbols.

3. The distinctive nature, richness, and beauty of the Reformed faith as the teaching of Holy Scripture.

4. Reformed orthodoxy and its validity as the most viable contemporary expression of spiritual orthodoxy.

5. Dominant motifs of contemporary theology from the posture of Reformed biblicism and confessionalism.

6. Philosophical, ideological, and religious themes of contemporary thought where they affect the content of the Christian gospel construed as including both Christian proclamation and Christian teaching.

Finally (and he saves the very best for last), Reymond writes that the “Reformed systematician is also responsible to impart this cognitive information in a way that will encourage his readers to grow in certain specific religious affections, specifically in their”:

1. Reverence for the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word to us and as the final instructional source and norm for faith and life.

2. Constant readiness to see God’s kingdom and the unity of the biblical covenants as the hermeneutical key to the understanding of Holy Scripture.

3. Appreciation for the Reformed theological heritage.

4. Perseverance in their effort to grow as systematic theologians.

5. Respect for the work of others who have addressed themselves to the systematic task.

6. Awe as those who have been granted the great privilege to study the “mind of Christ” as revealed in Holy Scripture.

7. Soberness as those who have been called to spread God’s word of judgment to the peoples of the world.

8. Joy as those who have been called to proclaim God’s word of grace to the same people.

9. Meekness as those who recognize that they too must live by and under that same Word which they study and apply to the lives of others.

10. Boldness to apply the doctrinal insights they gain winsomely and practically to Christian living and to a world in great need.

11. Sincere concern for a biblically faithful evangelization of a lost world and for the juridical subjugation of the nations under the “general equity” of Christ’s current messianic rule.

12. Humble, prayerful reliance upon God for all of these things, with the perpetual prayer that the “favor of the Lord will rest upon them and establish the work of their hands” (Ps. 90.17).

May God graciously make me all those things.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s