What references would you use in a Systematic Theology? New post on theLAB by Rick Brannan.

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Tavis Bohlinger | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Jun 5 2017 12:48 PM

Rick Brannan just published a new article on theLAB in which reference data from 300 systematic theologies were catalogued. The results are surprising:

https://academic.logos.com/writing-a-systematic-theology-you-must-discuss-these-references/

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 5 2017 3:04 PM

That's quite interesting!

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 5:27 AM

Fascinating and disturbing.  The apparent preference for the NT and what might be considered the expense of the OT is disturbingly curious. It also reflects in some ways the modern church's generalized ignorance and distance from the OT.  Which is strange to me since I expect most (all?) authors of an ST to be well aware of the OT at least in general.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 6:41 AM

As I commented on the blog page the lack of OT references may be less disturbing than it seems. Certainly the OT has a robust theology, but much of the OT is narrative, and narrative is not where one finds simple texts to back up a point in a systematic theology. There are more didactic portions of the OT (and didactic portions within narrative) and we see those put to service in the systematic theologies, the early chapters of Genesis, Psalms, and Isaiah are ones I'd expect to see and do see.

Clearly when we come to theological statements of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation, atonement, eternal life, heaven and hell, baptism, the return of Christ, the church, and some others, we would not expect to find very much in the OT (and don't). These are subjects of real interest to the NT writers (to one degree or another) so it isn't surprising that a Christian systematic theology would make as much use of the NT as it can on these topics of which it as interest, and therefore seem to neglect the OT. I think this is a case where simple book counts are misleading. 

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 6:48 AM

Disturbing? I just finished this account of a jewish guy in Mexico, who refused to give up his relgious world ... centuries back, I think. It was pretty bad.

Systematic theologies are clean-up acts, to erase the memories and move on.


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Lonnie Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 7:29 AM

TCBlack:

Fascinating and disturbing.  The apparent preference for the NT and what might be considered the expense of the OT is disturbingly curious. It also reflects in some ways the modern church's generalized ignorance and distance from the OT.  Which is strange to me since I expect most (all?) authors of an ST to be well aware of the OT at least in general.

The scripture graph is exactly how I would expect it to be for a systematic theology. The task of systematic theology is to summarize what the whole bible says on one topic. Since God chose to give us His revelation progressively, one would expect to find the greater amount of summary statements  in the later part of the bible instead of being front loaded. The Old Testament is primarily in the narrative genre. That doesn't mean it  does not contains truth, it just means it does not summarize truth like what is done in a systematic theology. A systematic theologian is summarizing all the bible. A systematic theology is not  ignorant or ignoring the Old Testament because the  intention is to summarize everything the bible has to say on a particular subject. So finding a summary statement in Paul's writings on the entire scope of God's revelation is a lot more reasonable than trying to find one in the book of Ezra, just by virtue of the progressive nature of Scriptural revelation. The Scripture graph is only unhelpful if one is looking at it in parts and not as a whole. It has nothing to do with bias against the Old Testament. It simply reflects  the nature of how Systematic Theology attempts to explain the topics of the  bible. 

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 7:38 AM

Lonnie Spencer:
he Scripture graph is only unhelpful if one is looking at it in parts and not as a whole. It has nothing to do with bias against the Old Testament. It simply reflects  the nature of how Systematic Theology attempts to explain the topics of the  bible. 

I believe you, and I accept what you all are saying.  I am still uneased by it however.  It is hard to explain why.  Yes I get the whole summary statements thing and agree with it in principle.  

Perhaps I'm reacting out of a sensitivity to the fact that so many American Evangelical's are distinctly ignorant of the OT as it relates to the foundation of the redemption narrative in the NT.  

I'll spend some time meditating on it this afternoon and try to determine why I'm so bothered; if not merely because it makes me feel that the roots are being ignored in order to enjoy the tree.

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 7:45 AM

It is an intriguing study that Brannan has performed.  Hopefully, he will extend it to include biblical texts used in Systematic Theologies according to various theological traditions which can then be expressed as a percentage of the whole.

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 8:00 AM

TCBlack:
I'll spend some time meditating on it this afternoon and try to determine why I'm so bothered; if not merely because it makes me feel that the roots are being ignored in order to enjoy the tree.

Yes I expect sys theos to cite verses as propositional statements. But how can a summary ignore vast data that is supposedly being summarized. Since the OT is largely narrative or poetry I would expect Sys Theos to cite periscopes rather than specific verses.  Surely Theo Proper, harmatology, Anthropology and others are taught in the narrative portion.

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Lonnie Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 8:31 AM

TCBlack:

Lonnie Spencer:
he Scripture graph is only unhelpful if one is looking at it in parts and not as a whole. It has nothing to do with bias against the Old Testament. It simply reflects  the nature of how Systematic Theology attempts to explain the topics of the  bible. 

I believe you, and I accept what you all are saying.  I am still uneased by it however.  It is hard to explain why.  Yes I get the whole summary statements thing and agree with it in principle.  

Perhaps I'm reacting out of a sensitivity to the fact that so many American Evangelical's are distinctly ignorant of the OT as it relates to the foundation of the redemption narrative in the NT.  

I'll spend some time meditating on it this afternoon and try to determine why I'm so bothered; if not merely because it makes me feel that the roots are being ignored in order to enjoy the tree.

I agree with you 110%. What I find so dissatisfying about systematic theology is that it assumes the theology of the Old Testament instead of being specific about the importance of the Old Testament theology. Let me point you in the direction of Biblical Theology that may be more inline with what you are thinking theology should be. These are all great books in Logos & Vyrso that has helped me tremendously.

Graeme Goldsworthy: "Preaching The Whole Bible As Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Preaching"

https://www.logos.com/product/50186/preaching-the-whole-bible-as-christian-scripture-the-application-of-biblical-theology-to-expository-preaching

New Dictionary of Biblical Theology

https://www.logos.com/product/27277/new-dictionary-of-biblical-theology

Christopher Wright- "How To Teach and Preach the Old Testament for all its Worth

https://vyrso.com/product/53765/how-to-preach-and-teach-the-old-testament-for-all-its-worth

Michael Williams- How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture.

https://www.logos.com/product/26711/how-to-read-the-bible-through-the-jesus-lens-a-guide-to-christ-focused-reading-of-scripture

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 9:04 AM

Lonnie Spencer:
Let me point you in the direction of Biblical Theology that may be more inline with what you are thinking theology should be.

At the end of his post Rick says:

And keep your eyes out for a follow-up post that uses the same approach to Biblical Theologies.

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 6 2017 9:23 AM

Graham Criddle:

Lonnie Spencer:
Let me point you in the direction of Biblical Theology that may be more inline with what you are thinking theology should be.

At the end of his post Rick says:

And keep your eyes out for a follow-up post that uses the same approach to Biblical Theologies.

Yes, this. And while I was initially a little dismayed about the seeming lack of use of some areas on the OT in Systematic Theology (and preponderance of Pauline references) I think some of the discussion here explains it a little bit. I wouldn't necessarily associate popular disuse of the OT with supposed lack of use of OT referencing in systematic theologies. Most of the folks writing these types of works are well acquainted with the whole of the text. In many cases, Paul is working out aspects of several of these doctrines (many times based on the OT) in his letters, and that is the logical place to start for systematicians today. Paul also references the OT in portions of his discussion, and systematicians typically follow the trail too, be it allusion, echo, or quotation. This type of look at the data doesn't track that sort of thing well (er, at all). It's basically a census, and while it may give some high-level view of the population, it doesn't explain the population itself that well. That only happens getting locally into a community and doing the work there.

So I get why/how this happens, practically. As Lonnie and Graham both indicate, though, Biblical Theology may be more in line with the approach you're thinking of. That post should run in a few weeks, I think. (I write, I don't schedule the posts. That's Tavis.) 

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 7 2017 5:55 AM

Rick Brannan (Faithlife):
And while I was initially a little dismayed about the seeming lack of use of some areas on the OT in Systematic Theology (and preponderance of Pauline references) I think some of the discussion here explains it a little bit. I wouldn't necessarily associate popular disuse of the OT with supposed lack of use of OT referencing in systematic theologies.

I think the strange part for me is that after having read over a dozen ST's I didn't notice it while walking through the forest, probably because I was also viewing the way authors were reaching back into the OT by, as you put it: allusion, echo, and quotation.  It was the raw data in chart form that probably told something of a statistical lie to my brain if for no other reason than you can't see the inherent reliance of the NT on the OT even though it is there.

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Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 7 2017 6:09 AM

Denise:
Systematic theologies are clean-up acts, to erase the memories and move on.

Is that your systematic theology?...

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