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Book Reviews: Baptism & Confirmation & Patterns for Baptism

Book Reviews Baptism and Confirmation Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123522, 468pp, £40) Patterns for Baptism Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123492, 392pp, £25) These handsome volumes are the latest additions to Common Worship, the Church of...

The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ: Gospel-Driven Anglicanism

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ  The American Theologian and Pastor, Jonathan Edwards (1703 -1758), once preached a sermon entitled “The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Jesus Christ”. The...

The Cancelling of the Creator

The Cancelling of the Creator The headline from a national newspaper popped up on my phone: “Daniel Radcliffe is surely the world’s most ungrateful man”. It’s not a title many would be scrambling to win for themselves, but the opinion-piece made the case. Daniel...

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen Melville-Knox Christian School Aberdeen officially opened on Monday 7th November after years of prayer, planning and organisation. We give thanks to the Lord that we have been able to reach this significant milestone;...

Barnabas Report: At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique

Barnabas Report At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique During October At least 21 Christians have been killed by Islamist extremists in violent attacks throughout October in northern Mozambique. Jihadists set fire to a church building and several houses in the...

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource  Sanctuary Foundation has been aiding those trying to offer assistance for those fleeing the war in Ukraine through its, “Homes for Ukraine” scheme.  The charity has been serving as a liaison by resourcing hosts and...

Annual Clive West Memorial Lecture Set for Belfast

Annual Clive West Trust Lecture Set for Belfast The 2022 Clive West Trust Lecture will take place on Thursday, 22 November at St Nicholas’ Church on the Lisburn Road in Belfast at 19:30. This year’s featured speaker is the Revd Dr Tim Ward.  Ward earned his PhD from...

Church of England Council Rejects Croft’s Position

Church of England Evangelical Council Rejects Croft’s Position In a press statement following the pronouncements of Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, the Church of England Evangelical Council repudiated the departure of biblical teaching advocated by Croft. It said,...

On Transubstantiation: Reformation Anglicanism

Reformation Anglicanism On Transubstantiation By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Transubstantiation became the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church at the Fourth Lateran Council that began, November 11, 1215. The Council of Trent in 1551 went on to confirm the...

Oxford Good Stewards Trust Announced in Response to Bishop of Oxford’s Revisionism

St Paul’s Banbury, Oxford Answers Bishop and Announces  The Oxford Good Stewards Trust The Revd Dan McGowan, Vicar of St Paul’s, Banbury in Oxford Diocese has answered Bishop Croft’s revisionist declarations about same-sex matters and announced the formation of The...

Pilgrim’s Process: Systematic Theology

Pilgrim’s Process

Systematic Theology

By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon

God has revealed himself and his plans for us, in the form of a narrative – the Bible story that runs from Genesis to Revelation. In order to keep us going as pilgrims on the way, we should seek to make use of that story in all the ways that we possibly can. To be sure this means we benefit from seeing how the story fits together – how the covenants relate to one another, how the kings of the Old Testament prefigure Jesus, how the sacrifices of the Temple portray the cross. Redemptive Historical or Biblical Theology treat the Bible in terms of its unfolding narrative – and this is part of how we are equipped to live as pilgrims.

There are other ways of engaging with the Bible, which are also valuable and necessary. One such approach is ‘systematic theology.’ This engages with the Bible in terms of the claims, assumptions and doctrinal inter-connections that uphold what it reveals. Systematic Theology treats God and all things in relation to Him. There are numbers of reasons pilgrims ought to engage with Systematic Theology:

  1. Some of the most vital matters of the Bible are only engaged with via Systematic Theology – Who is God? What does it mean for Jesus to be divine and human?
  2. Some practical matters which are crucial to address in church life are only treated via Systematics – e.g. what is the nature of mission? What is the right use of the sacraments? How does one administer discipline?
  3. Humans have been designed by God in such a way that we must think and live systematically. That is not to say that we are all free from contradictions – but we do need to base our lives on conclusions. Systematic theology is the bottom line conclusion that one draws from the Bible story. We all have a view; we all have a systematic theology. Only is we engage in reading such works will we have an informed Systematic theology.

Where to start with Systematic Theology? The best thing to do is to get hold of and read one of the classic works in the field – Calvin’s Institutes is a rich place to start. More modern and short works include Packer’s Knowing God or Horton’s Theology for a Pilgrim Theology. In a sense it does not matter which volume of Systematic Theology you first read – what is more important is that we all engage with God’s Word in every way that we can – including systematically.

The Revd Dr Peter Sanlon is the rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells.

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