Systematic Theology Sucks
Two weeks ago, in my post Don’t Make God Boring, I mentioned my dislike for an area of study called systematic theology. Systematic theology is a theological discipline that attempts to present God and Christian faith in an organized and logical structure. Some people have dedicated their entire adult lives to the pursuit of delineating a comprehensive systematic theology of God. I think they’re missing the point. Here’s why:
It’s Not in the Bible
If having a systematic theology was important, don’t you think God would have included it in the Bible, all in one place? Paul would have been an ideal person to do this, but he didn’t. Instead, he addressed practical matters of faith and life.
It’s a Product of Modernism
The modern era pushed spirituality aside, relegating it to Sunday morning. Modernity espoused logic and reason, embracing objective truth and only accepting the quantifiable. Out of this mindset, sprang the pursuit of a systematic theology: let’s organize God.
In college, the most irrelevant class I took was Systematic Theology. Even though they simplified it for non-theologians, it was largely incomprehensible and completely boring. The God they alluded to was not the God I follow or read about in the Bible.
Systematic theology reduces God to a sterile intellectual pursuit. However, my faith is anything but that: I pray directly to my Father in Heaven, follow the person of Jesus, and move to the specific promptings of the Holy Spirit. These are all intimate interactions, not theoretical musings; these are personal actions, not conceptual constructs.
While some people may embrace God as a comprehensive, systematic theology, I pursue him as living, accessible, and personal. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.