How to do Theology

Jun 11, 2014 2077

By Edward Fudge

Biblical theology uses biblical data to paint a picture until it runs out of data. Systematic theology uses biblical data like jigsaw puzzle pieces to create a picture it already had, sometimes inventing data to fill in for missing pieces. Historical theology arranges these puzzles from through the centuries to show how they developed. Biblical theologian Dr. Michael F. Bird of Australia thinks there is a better way, and his 900-page Evangelical Theology: A Biblical And Systematic Introduction (Zondervan, 2013) makes a right hefty start.

Gospel DrivenTo begin, Bird insists that a truly “evangelical” faith will have the “evangel” (the gospel) as its heart and core, and that the “evangel”–not logically-derived doctrines such as inerrancy or justification by faith–will be its first and guiding principle. Bird would have systematic theologians take their categories from Scripture itself, let the Bible determine the order in which topics are discussed and decide the relative weight given to each. In my opinion, the shame is that such suggestions even need to be made.

Edward Fudge

Taken from gracEmail. Used by permission

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