A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems counter to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean. This is the most important thing to do; test it and see if what I am saying is true by scripture in context.
In the last post we began to look at presuppositions. We stated that presuppositions are much like a lens that we look through that changes the view depending on which lens is used. The best way to illustrate this is to think of glasses and sun glasses. The lens that you look through determines the way in which you interpret a text. In theological terms this lens is called a hermeneutic system. The word hermeneutics is of Greek origin and is found in the New Testament in Luke 24:27. It means to interpret and, in this particular verse Jesus showed his disciples how to expound or interpret the scripture. He showed them the redemptive meaning and focus and how all the scripture pointed to him.
In evangelical/fundamentalist circles, systematic theology is the way in which presuppositions get stated about a variety of topics covered in the bible. They formulate doctrines for each topic that are designed to help the saint understand the message of the scripture in a coherent and orderly way. I have heard some Christians say that they do not bother with systematic theology and they strictly get their doctrines from the bible and, I just smile to myself. The truth is that they have many preformed views and ideas about the various subjects of systematic theology. I will list a few of them to illustrate. This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of the topics but, it will give a general idea of how a systematic theology is formed and why it provides a lens or over-riding belief system.
- Bibliology – the study of scripture
- Anthropology – the study of man in the bible
- Hamartology – the study of sin
- Christology – the study of Christ
- Soteriology - the study of salvation
- Pneumatology – the study of the Holy Spirit
- Ecclesiology – the study of the church
- Eschatology – the study of last things and the end of the age
There are others but this gives a general idea of the topic.
The simple fact is that we all are taught presuppositions about each of these topics from the first day of our introduction to the church and Jesus and, they continue being formed until we die or leave the church. And, these presuppositions go a long ways toward forming our overall view of faith and practice.