When we voted on a theme for the last national conference, the choices came down to “Ephesians: Verse-by-Verse” and “Systematic Theology.”
Ephesians won by a nose.
I’ve always been a systematic theology guy. I have well over fifty such theologies in my office and more at home. I like thinking about the big picture and trying to understand how it all fits together. I believe coherence is a criterion of truth, and it’s easier to see if your beliefs cohere when you can put them in a system.
Even though there are many systematic theologies, I think we need another.
So far as I know, there is no explicitly Free Grace systematic theology. Yes, several are certainly Free Grace-friendly (e.g., Chafer, Ryrie, Baker, Cambron, Webb), but none are self-consciously Free Grace, and none were written in light of the Free Grace debates of the last 30 years.
So there’s a need.
Moreover, we need a systematic theology that is accessible to the common believer. Most people use these books for reference, not for daily use. What if a systematic theology was written in a devotional format? That’s what I’m thinking—take the next couple of years to write a 300-400 word devotional every day, to cover each division of systematic theology in a way my grandmother or sister or lawn-guy can understand and would give them a bird’s eye view of Christian theology.
I’ve been pondering the divisions within systematic theology. The standard few just won’t do. So I’ve made an expanded list. I’m not sure of the order yet, but here’s what I have so far:
- Bibliology (The Bible)
- Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge)
- Theology (God the Father)
- Christology (God the Son)
- Pneumatology (God the Holy Spirit)
- Angelology (Angels)
- Demonology (Fallen Spirits)
- Anthropology (Man)
- Hamartiology (Sin)
- Soteriology (Salvation)
- Misthology (Rewards)
- Israelology (Israel)
- Ecclesiology (The Church)
- Basileiology (The Theocratic Kingdom)
- Eschatology (The Last Things)
- Cosmology (Creation)
If I write a one-year devotional, some of these topics will take up an entire month to cover, and that’s only at an introductory level (e.g., Theology, Christology, Soteriology). Some will be half-months (Angelology). Hopefully by this time next year, if I work systematically, I’ll have something worth reading. But while I plan to be dogmatic about the subject, I don’t want to be too dogmatic about the deadline.