The term "Introduction," when used in a technical sense, is one of extensive application. Every branch of scientific knowledge must be preceded by a preliminary survey, in order to properly determine its boundaries and contents in relation to other fields of investigation. There must be a "recognition of the organic whole of the sciences," says Schelling, and this "must precede the definite pursuit of a specialty. The scholar who devotes himself to a particular study must become acquainted with the position it occupies with respect to this whole, and the particular spirit which pervades it, as well as the mode of development by which it enters into the harmonious union of the whole. Hence the importance of the method by which he is himself to estimate his science, in order that he may not regard it in a slavish spirit, but independently and in the spirit of the whole." The term "Introduction" has in modern times largely superseded the terms "Prolegomena" and "Propaedeutic" formerly used in philosophy and theology. The terms "Encyclopedia" and "Methodology" which were frequently used in the sense of a distinct science, must still be considered an important part of the general curriculum. A true "Introduction," however, must embrace (1) formal or systematic Encyc1opedia - or a presentation of the information necessary to a study of the several departments of theology; (2) Methodology - or directions as to the best methods of theological study; and to these must be added (3) a History of Theology as systematized in the church. The present chapter (I) will deal with the Idea and Relations of Theology, while the three following chapters will be devoted to (II) Sources and Limitations; (III) Systems and Methods; and (IV) Theology in the Church.
Christian Theology, or Dogmatics as the term is often used technically, is that branch of theological science which aims to set forth in a systematic manner the doctrines of the Christian faith. The term theology is derived from the Greek words theos (qeoV) and logos (logoV), and originally signified a discourse about God. The word was in use before the advent of Christ and the development of the Christian Church. Aristotle in his Organon applied the term theology to his highest or first philosophy. The Greeks were accustomed to applying the term theologoi to their honored poets and teachers, such as Homer, Hesiod and Orpheus, "who with poetic inspiration sang of the gods and divine things." In its most general sense, therefore, the term theology may be applied to the scientific investigation of real or supposed sacred persons, things or relations. However crude the content of these treatises may be, usage allows it to be called theology if the subject matter is concerned with that which is regarded as sacred. The term is therefore elastic and somewhat vague, and must be made more definite and specific by the use of qualifying terms as Christian or Ethnic theology.
Definitions of Christian Theology. Christian theology has been defined in various ways by the masters of this science. Perhaps none of these definitions, however, exceeds in adequacy or comprehensiveness that of William Burton Pope who defines it as "the science of God and divine things, based upon the revelation made to mankind in Jesus Christ, and variously systematized within the Christian Church." Others define it as follows: "Christian Theology, or Dogmatics, as it is technically called, is that branch of theological science which aims to give systematic expression to the doctrines of the Christian faith."-WILLIAM ADAMS BROWN. "Dogmatic Theology treats of the doctrines of the Christian faith held by a community of believers, in other words, by the church."-BISHOP MARTENSEN. "Theology is the exhibition of the facts of Scripture in their proper order and relation with the principles or general truths involved in the facts themselves, and which pervade and harmonize the whole."-DR. CHARLES HODGE. "Theology is the science of God and the relations between God and the universe. "-DR. AUGUSTUS HOPKINS STRONG. "Systematic Theology is that part of the entire system of theology which has to solve the problem presented by the Christian faith itself-the exhibition of Christianity as truth."-DR. J. A. DORNER. "Christian Theology is the intellectual treatment of the Christian religion." WILLIAM NEWTON CLARKE. "Theology is a discourse about God as related to moral beings and His created universe. "-DR. A. M. HILLS. "Theology may be defined as the systematic exposition and rational justification of the intellectual content of religion."-DEAN ALBERT C. KNUDSEN. "Dogmatics deals with the doctrinal teachings of the Christian religion. It is the systematic and scientific presentation of the doctrine of Christianity in harmony with the Scriptures and in consonance with the confessions of the church."-DR. JOSEPH STUMP. "Systematic Theology is the scientific and connected presentation of Christian doctrine in its relation to both faith and morals."-GEORGE R. CROOKS and JOHN F. HURST.
Dr. Wakefield, who edited "Watson's Institutes" and added some valuable material of his own, defines theology as "that science which treats of the existence, the character, and the attributes of God; His laws and government; the doctrines which we are to believe, the moral change which we must experience, and the duties which we are required to perform." Closely related to this and to the definition of Dr. Pope, is that of Dr. Alvah Hovey, the great Baptist theologian. "By Christian theology," he says, "is meant the science of the Christian religion, or the science which ascertains, justifies, and systematizes all attainable truth concerning God and His relation, through Jesus Christ, to the universe and especially to mankind."
We may gather up therefore the various phases of truth as set forth in the above definitions and summarize them in a brief but we think equally adequate definition as follows: "Christian Theology is the systematic presentation of the doctrines of the Christian Faith."
The Scope of Theology. The study of Christian Theology must be expanded to comprehend a wide range of investigation, and then systematized according to principles regarded as dominant in the history of Christian thought. If the definition of Dr. Pope be carefully analyzed, and likewise that of Wakefield and Hovey, it will be found that the following subjects are given consideration: First, God as the source, subject, and end of all theology. "This gives it its unity, dignity and sanctity. It is the A Deo, De Deo, In Deum: from God in its origin, concerning God in its substance, and it leads to God in all its issues." Second, Religion as furnishing the basic consciousness in man, without which there could be no capacity in human nature to receive the spiritual revelations of divine truth. Third, Revelation as the source of the facts out of which systematic theology is constructed. Fourth, the relation of these facts to Jesus Christ, the Personal and Eternal Word in the revelation of God. Fifth, the development and systematization of theology in the Church as the expression of its Christian life, under the immediate supervision and control of the Holy Spirit. Sixth, Christian Theology must be considered in its relation to contemporaneous thought.
"There is a sense," says Dr. Pope, "in which universal theology is concerned simply with the relation of all things to God: if we carefully guard our meaning we may make this proposition include the converse, the relation of God to all things. Relation, of course, must be mutual: but it is hard in this matter to detach from the notion of relation that of dependence. The Eternal One is the Unconditioned Being. When we study His nature and perfections and works we must always remember that He is His Perfect Self independent of every created object and independent of every thought concerning Him. But there is not a doctrine, nor is there a branch or development of any doctrine, which is not purely the expression of some relation of His creatures to the Supreme First Cause. Hence every branch of this science is sacred. It is a temple which is filled with the presence of God. From its hidden sanctuary, into which no high priest taken from among men can enter, issues a light which leaves no part dark save where it is dark with excess of glory. Therefore all fit students are worshipers as well as students" (Pope, CCT, I, pp. 4-5). But aside from the divine Source of theology, there are three outstanding and vital relations which it sustains: First, to religion; Second, to revelation and Third, to the church.
Theology and Religion. Since theology in a preliminary and general sense is the science of religion, it is therefore necessary to come immediately to a discussion of the nature of religion. It may be said that religion furnishes the basic consciousness in man without which there could be no capacity in human nature to receive the revelation of God. It has its roots, therefore, in the very nature of man. It is the consciousness that he is made for higher things, and that he has kinship to the unseen Power upon which he feels himself dependent. Added to this is a sense of need which expresses itself negatively in a consciousness of sin, and positively in a desire for communion with a higher spiritual power. It is the province of theology to gather up and systematize these needs and desires, for religion is not merely an individual but also a social phenomenon. Those who are brought into communion with God feel that they must impart this knowledge to others, and thus arise the various religious societies. These crystallize into fixed institutions with a body of tradition designed to hand down to posterity the religious insights of the past. Theology and religion are related, therefore, "as effects in different spheres, of the same cause. As theology is an effect produced in the sphere of systematic thought by the facts respecting God and the universe, so religion is an effect which these same facts produce in the sphere of individual and collective life" (Strong, Syst. Th., I, p. 19).
Theology and Revelation. Theology bears relation not only to religious experience in a general way, but also to that higher type of revealed truth which is found in Christ and known as the Christian Revelation. Since the time of Schleiermacher, feeling or the sense of dependence has been given a large place in theological thought. There are those who fear too great subjectivity if theology is to be grounded in Christian experience, but it should ever be borne in mind that the Christian faith is not something which is self-created. It has its source in objective revelation. The universe is an external revelation of God. It declares His eternal power and Godhead (Rom. 1:20). Over against the position of James Martineau who unwarrantably isolates the witness of God to the individual soul, Dr. Strong insists that in many cases where truth has been originally communicated as an internal revelation, the same Spirit who communicated it has brought about an external record of it, so that the internal revelation might be handed down to others than those who first received it. Both the internal revelations as recorded, and the external revelations as interpreted, furnish objective facts which may serve as proper material for science.
Theology and the Church. It is to the Church that God has committed the Scriptures and these have become its Rule of Faith and Practice. As the early oracle had its ark, so the Christian Church has become the recep-
The whole creation reveals the Word. In nature God shows His power; in incarnation His grace and truth. Scripture testifies of these, but Scripture is not the essential Word. The Scripture is truly apprehended and appropriated when in it and through it we see the living and present Christ It does not bind men to itself alone, but it points them to the Christ of whom it testifies. Christ is the authority. In the Scriptures He points us to Himself and demands our faith in Him. This faith once begotten, leads us to a new appropriation of Scripture, but also to a new criticism of Scripture. We find Christ more and more in Scripture, and yet we judge Scripture more and more by the standard which we find in Christ. -DORNER, Hist. Prot. Theology 1: 231-264.
tacle of the faith which was "once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). With the coming of the incarnate Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the foundations of the Church were laid; and with the enlargement of its mission to include mankind universally, it was necessary, also, that the divine oracles be likewise increased. Becoming the repository of a new dispensational truth, the Church was under obligation from the beginning, both as a teacher and a defender of the faith, to create a theology, by means of which it could systematically present its teachings. This didactic divinity, Dr. Pope insists, was the necessary expansion of what in Scripture is termed the Apostles' doctrine. "Its first and simplest form as seen in the writings of the earliest Fathers, was Expository or practical, aiming at the edification of the flock; then followed the Catechetical, for the preliminary instruction of converts or Catechumens in order to baptism, conducted by pastors as Catechists, and formulated in the permanent Catechism; and thus were laid the foundations of all subsequent biblical theology proper. Defensive assertion of truth was rendered necessary by heresies arising within the community, and by the duty of vindicating the Faith against those without. The latter obligation gave rise to Apologetics in all its branches, called in modern times Evidences: Apology having reference rather to the position of the Christian society as challenged by the world, Evidences belonging rather to its aggressive missionary character. The former introduced Dogmatic Theology, taught first in the Creeds - the Apostles', the Nicene-Constantinopolitan, and the Athanasian; afterward in specific expositions of those creeds, and their individual articles; this as distinguished from Apologetic, is controversial divinity or Polemics. In later times, all these branches have been incorporated into the unity of what is called Systematic divinity, or the orderly arrangement of the doctrines of revelation, as they are Dogmas fixed in the decisions of the Church, defended against external assaults, and unfolded in the ethics of human duty. This is the normal development of the science within Christendom and common to all its branches. Every Christian community presents in its own literature more or less systematically all these various forms of fundamental teaching" (Pope, CCT, I, pp. 15-16). We have given only in brief outline the manner in which theology was developed in the Church.
The whole field of theology may be broadly divided into (I) Christian Theology, and (II) Ethnic Theology. By Ethnic Theology is meant the teachings embraced in the non-Christian religions as opposed to the revelation of God in Christ. Non-Christian people, whether crude or cultured, have their doctrines of God or of the gods, and of things which they regard as sacred. These must be classified as theologies. To Christians, the value of this ethnic theology is chiefly illustrative, setting forth as it does the outstanding and fundamental differences between Christianity and paganism. By this contrast, Christianity is seen to be, not merely a religion which has attained to a higher scale in natural development, but one which is unique in that it is a revelation from God to man, rather than an origination of man in his state of barbarism. It does, however, have this exegetical value, for the great doctrines of Christianity will be seen in a clearer light when placed side by side with the deformities of heathenism.
Another division, more popular with the older theologians than at the present time, is that of (I) Natural Theology, and (II) Revealed Theology. Natural Theology draws its sources from the facts of nature including the exercise of reason and the illumination of conscience. Revealed Theology finds its sources in the Holy Scriptures as the authoritative revelation of God to man. Christian Theology does not regard Revealed Theology as in opposition to Natural Theology but supplementary to it. It regards it as gathering up the primary revelation of God through nature and the constitution of man, into the higher and perfect personal revelation of God in Christ.
Christian Theology as a didactic or positive science is usually made to conform to the four main divisions of Biblical (or Exegetical), Historical, Systematic and Practical Theology. This fourfold division was generally followed by the earlier encyclopaedists, Neosselt, Thym, Staudlin, Schmidt, and Planck. Rabiger and Hagenbach followed the fourfold outline of Schaff-perhaps the arrangement now most commonly employed. Among the more modern theologians, Miley, Pope, Strong, Brown and Clarke follow the fourfold division. There are some of the more prominent theologians, however, who prefer different arrangements. Schleiermacher arranged his material in three divisions, (I) Philosophical; (II) Historical; and (III) Practical-"the root, the trunk, and the crown." Another has a fivefold division, (I) Exegetical; (II) Historical; (III) Apologetic; (IV) Systematic; and (V) Practical. Cave in his Introduction to Theology
The arrangement of subjects under the fourfold division which is most commonly followed is that proposed by Schaff in his Theological Propaedeutic. (I) Exegetical Theology, including (1) Biblical Philology; (2) Biblical Archaeology; (3) Biblical Isagogic, or Historico-Critical introduction which includes both the lower or textual criticism and the higher or historical criticism; (4) Biblical Hermeneutics. (II) Historical Theology, including Biblical and Ecclesiastical history in the widest sense. (III) Systematic Theology including (1) Apologetics; (2) Biblical Theology; (3) Dogmatic Theology; (4) Symbolics, Polemics, and Irenics; (5) Ethics, Ecclesiastical Geography and Statistics. (IV) Practical Theology including (1) Theory of the Christian Ministry; (2) Church Law and Church Polity; (3) Liturgics; (4) Homiletics; (5) Catechetics; (6) Poimenics; and (7) Evangelistics.
Crooks and Hurst in their Theological Encyclopedia and Methodology have the following arrangement of subjects: (I) Exegetical Theology, including Archaeology, Philology, Isagogics, Canonics, Criticism, Hermeneutics and interpretation; (II) Historical Theology, including History of Dogma, Church History, Patristics, Symbolics, and Statistics; (III) Systematic Theology, including Doctrine, Dogmatics, Apologetics, Polemics, Irenics, Theology (in the narrower sense of the term), Anthropology, Christology, Soteriology, Eschatology and Ethics; (IV) Practical Theology, including Catechetics, Liturgics, Homiletics, and Pastoral Theology.
historical studies during the middle and latter part of the nineteenth century, an attempt was made to place Historical Theology in advance of the Biblical or Exegetical Theology as formerly accepted. Kienlen and Pelt adapted a threefold division into (I) Historical Theology, including exegetical; (II) Systematic Theology and (III) Practical Theology. Against this, two main objections may be urged: First, since Christian Theology draws its sources largely from the Scriptures as revealed truth, its beginnings should coincide with that fact, and therefore be found in a thorough and systematic study of the documents in which this revelation is recorded. This is Exegetical Theology. Protestant Theology which is based so emphatically upon the Bible as the Word of God, cannot but establish Exegetical Theology as a separate and distinct division, assigning to the Scriptures a sufficient and unrestricted position in the realm of theological thought. Without this, theology may become philosophical and barren, never biblical and vital. Second, we must bear in mind that there is one law of development which is peculiar to the Scriptures - the law of progressive revelation, and closely allied to it another law which governs the systematization of the truths revealed. Exegetical Theology must take into account this historical progression, and the recorded events of sacred history, therefore, become the basis for the interpretation of all history. The logical arrangement of the revealed truths set forth in sacred history gives us Biblical Theology. Thus there is given us by
The arrangement of the fourfold division indicated above may be also justified in the following manner: "The assertion is warranted that all knowledge is based either on personal (physical or mental) observation, or on report and tradition, and is, therefore, either theoretical (philosophical) or historical in its nature. Historical knowledge however, must be obtained by investigation, and for the latter acquaintance with languages and philological criticism is necessary; while theoretical knowledge leads to its practical application. In like manner Christianity is, in its positive character, both a history and a doctrine; but its history is based on the Bible, which must, first of all, be exegetically examined; and its doctrine is not pure knowledge but practical. The truth of revelation is to be applied in the Church and the various departments of Church activity, to which practical theology has regard. The two departments of learning are thus confined between two fields of applied art, the exegetical at the beginning, and the practical at the end. - CROOKS AND HURST, Encyclopedia and Methodology, p. 139.
this process a clear idea of the connection which, beginning in Exegetical Theology, traces the progress of historical development down to our own times by means of Historical Theology, combines the truths thus given into a mental picture of orderly arrangement as found in Systematic Theology, and from this makes the necessary deductions which Practical Theology offers for converting theory into practice. Christian Theology, therefore, becomes an Organism of Truth. In our further discussion of the forms of theology we shall observe this fourfold division as indicated. The arrangement of subjects is set forth more fully in the accompanying diagram. (See page 24.)
Exegetical Theology, or as it is frequently called, Biblical Theology, is a study of the contents of Scripture, exegetically ascertained and classified according to doctrines. Among the Greeks, the term "exegete" referred to one whose office it was to lead out or interpret the oracles to laymen with a view to producing sympathetic understanding. Exegetical Theology covers an extensive field of interpretation, dealing with both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures, and is commonly arranged in two main divisions, (I) Biblical Introduction, and (II) Biblical Exegesis or Interpretation.
1. Biblical Introduction. This department includes all the preliminary studies which are introductory to the actual work of exegesis. The older term used to designate this department was Isagogics, and included four branches of study, (a) Biblical Archaeology, an auxiliary study of the manners and customs of ancient people; (b) Biblical Canonics, or a discussion of the canon of Scripture as understood by the ancient Jews, the early Christians, the Roman and the Protestant churches; (c) Biblical Criticism, including the lower or textual criticism, with a view to ascertaining the correct reading of the text; and the higher criticism, too often confused with destructive criticism, which deals with the authorship, date and authenticity of the books of the Bible, the
I. EXEGETICAL THEOLOGY
II. HISTORICAL THEOLOGY
III. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
IV. PRACTICAL THEOLOGY
History of Religions
circumstances under which they were written, their occasion and design; and (d) Biblical Hermeneutics, or the science of the laws and principles underlying correct interpretation.
2. Biblical Exegesis. Under this division is included, interpretation, exposition and application of the Scriptures. Two things are essential: (a) a knowledge of interpretation as found in sacred and cognate philology, and a proper understanding of oriental archaeology. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Chaldee [Aramaic] and Hellenistic Greek, and a knowledge of these languages is essential to authoritative exegesis. Then there is the Arabic, Assyrian, and Aramaic of the Targums-all related in several ways to the Hebrew language. Oriental archaeology is essential as furnishing a knowledge of the social, religious and political life of the peoples associated with the Hebrews at different periods of their national life. (b) The method of exegesis is likewise important. At different periods in church history such methods of interpretation as the Allegorical, the Catenistic, the Dogmatic, the Pietistic, the Rationalistic and the Spiritualistic have all held sway. These will be given a brief description in the History of Exegesis.
3. History of Exegesis. Exegetical studies have a history which must be viewed according to the several analyses or plans of interpretation. Prominent among these are: (a) Jewish exegesis, which in its rabbinical form is represented by the Targums, and in its Alexandrian form by the writings of the Hellenistic Jews, particularly Philo of Alexandria. (b) Early Christian exegesis, which made much of quotations from the Old and New Testaments. The allegorical method borrowed from Philo, is found in the writings of pseudo-Barnabas and others. (c) Patristic exegesis, which took three main forms, the literal and realistic interpretations of Tertullian and Cyprian; the historico-grammatical school represented by Jerome and Chrysostom, and the allegorical method which was more or less prevalent in all the forms. (d) Mediaeval exegesis, represented by the compilations of the Catenists, consists in expositions selected from various authors, as the term catena, which signifies a chain, would indicate. Along with this was the mystic and scholastic exegesis of many of the schoolmen. (e) Reformation exegesis, which followed the revival of learning, is found in three prevailing forms, that of the German or Lutheran school, that of the Swiss or Reformed school, and that of the Dutch or Arminian school. The work in exegesis done by British and American scholars is abundant and valuable but does not fall into any one distinctive group.
Historical Theology is sometimes enlarged to include the whole range of ecclesiastical history, but in the strictest sense refers only to the historical development of Christian doctrine and its influence upon the life of the Church. It includes two sections: (1) Biblical, which is limited to the historical portions of the sacred Scriptures; and (2) Ecclesiastical, which traces the development of doctrine in the Church from the time of the apostles to the present.
1. Biblical History. This subject comprises a study of the historical sections of the Old and New Testaments, and such contemporaneous history as may serve to throw light on the biblical accounts. In the narrower sense of the term, Biblical History has to do primarily with the facts and events related in the Bible in so far as they bear upon the divine plan of human redemption. Biblical Dogmatics, on the other hand, embraces a study of the doctrinal contents of the Scriptures presented in the order of their historical unfolding; for the Bible must ever be viewed as revelation in progress and therefore not complete until the close of the canon. In order to understand the content of Biblical History there must be a proper orientation on the part of the student - such an orientation as enables him to see the point of view of the people to which the Scriptures were addressed, rather than the significance they hold for those of a later day. Once clearly understand this, and it answers many of the objections offered against the customs and practices of the people under the earlier and less perfect periods of revelation. Christ came not to abrogate the teachings of the Old Testament, but to fulfill them - that is, to bring them to the highest forms of experience and life. There can be no antagonism between the teachings of the Old and New Testaments as such, but the one must be regarded as primary, the other perfect and complete.
2. Ecclesiastical History. Here the subject matter is regarded as Church History when dealing with the external events in the Church's struggle with the world, the development of its institutions and its spiritual accomplishments. It is regarded as the History of Doctrine when it takes into account the shaping of the Christian faith into doctrinal statements. Included in this division, also, is the study of the writings of the Fathers commonly known as Patristics; and the study of creeds or symbols of the Church generally treated under the head of Symbolics.
Systematic Theology arranges in logical order, the materials furnished by Exegetical and Historical Theology; and it does this in order to promote fuller study and practical application. It may, therefore, be defined as "the scientific and connected presentation of Christian doctrine in its relation to both faith and morals."
Biblical Theology is the offspring of Protestantism, and in no other than the free and fertile soil of Protestantism can it ever flourish. The history of its origin and rise to a distinct and recognized branch of theological science, is not the least interesting chapter in the internal history of the modern church. But while Protestant freedom and activity have given to the world this and many other phases of biblical and theological study, it would be well for Protestants themselves to hold ever vividly in mind that liberty is not license ... It would be a sad day for the Church, and hence for the world, if Protestantism, in its bounding freedom and eagerness to unveil truth, should swing loose from all historical landmarks, and the word traditional should become only a term of reproach, and we should have no more respect for gray hairs of the once mighty past. The middle way is the safest, and if Protestant biblical study, whether in its narrower or more comprehensive sense, would achieve its best results for the Church and the world, in this way it must walk.
"Systematic Theology," says William Adams Brown, "occupies the center of the theological curriculum, midway between the Exegetical and Historical, and the practical disciplines. From the former it receives its materials; to the latter it furnishes their principles. In this it is like philosophy in the curriculum of the university, which stands midway between the sciences and the arts. We may describe it as the philosophy of the Christian life." Systematic Theology, however, is concerned not only with faith but with practice. It insists upon repentance as well as faith. It must therefore include both Dogmatics and Ethics. Lange sums up the relation existing between dogmatics and ethics as follows: "Dogmatics represents life in its transcendent relations to God, the eternal basis of its being; ethics according to its immanent relation to the world of man. Dogmatics regards it in its specifically ecclesiastical character, ethics in its general human character. Dogmatics describes the organ, ethics indicates the tasks that await its energy. Dogmatics teaches how man derives his Christian life from God, ethics how he is to give proof of it in the world of men, by human methods and in that exercise of incarnated power which we call virtue" (LANGE, Chr. Dogm., pp. 46, 47). There appears to be no general agreement as to the divisions of Systematic Theology, but for our purpose we shall treat the subject under the threefold division of (I) Dogmatics; (II) Ethics; and (III) Apologetics.
1. Dogmatics. Christian Dogmatics as defined by Martensen, is that branch of theology which "treats of the doctrines of the Christian faith held by a community of believers, in other words, by the Church." It is therefore, "the science which presents and proves the Christian doctrines, regarded as forming a connected system" (MARTENSEN, Christian Dogmatics, p. 1). Strong points out the distinction which formerly obtained between Dogmatics and Systematic Theology, insisting that Dogmatic Theology in strict usage, is "the systematizing of the doctrines as expressed in the symbols of the Church, together with the grounding of these in the Scriptures, and the exhibition, so far as may be, of their rational necessity." Systematic Theology begins, on the other hand, not with the symbols, but with the Scriptures. It asks First, not what the church has believed, but what is the truth of God's revealed word" (STRONG, S. T., I, p. 41) . But since Christian Dogmatics forms the central point of all theology, it has come to be identified in present day thought with Systematic Theology itself. This too was the earlier conception for Augusti remarks "that the old and generally adopted usage, which conceives dogmatics and theology as being synonyms, is evidence of the high importance which has always been attached to this first of all the departments of theology" (AUGUSTI, Syst. der Christl Dogmatik, p. 1). The term, however, still connotes a relation to the symbols or dogmatical writings of the Church, in which the particular tenets of a school or denomination are reflected. It is in the words of Lange "in a specific sense the theology of the Church," for dogmatics should bear a direct relation to the Church to which it owes its existence. It is proper, therefore, in this sense, to speak of the dogmatics of Roman Catholicism or of Protestantism, of Lutheran, Reformed or Arminian. Christian Dogmatics must be viewed, not as a philosophy of religion, or a history of doctrine, but as a science including both historical and philosophical elements. It is the science which presents to our notice the material obtained by exegesis and history in an organized and systematic form, representing the sum of the truth of the Christian faith in organic connection
The Reformation seemed to spring primarily from moral, not directly from doctrinal causes. But a change of relations soon took place, which resulted in the attaching of greater weight to the definition of doctrinal points. It might be said that attention was, with entire propriety, directed chiefly to the settling of the truth belonging to the faith, since works spring from faith. But the faulty principles consisted in this fact, that the faith was too little apprehended from the dynamical, and too greatly from the merely theoretical side the apprehending of the faith being confounded with tendencies of belief and the understanding of the faith with its power. In this way Christian ethics long failed to receive just treatment. It is not strange, therefore, that Calixtus should fall upon the idea of emancipating ethics from dogmatics, and assigning it to a separate field. The Reformed theologian, Danaeus, attempted this even earlier than Calixtus. CROOKS AND HURST, Encyc. and Meth., pp. 396, 397.
with the facts of religious consciousness. It therefore demands preparatory training in exegesis and history, as well as in philosophy" (CROOKS and HURST, Encyl. and Meth., p. 399).
2. Ethics. The second main branch of Systematic Theology is Christian Ethics, formerly known as Moral Philosophy. The term Ethics is from hqoV or eqoV and has relation to the home, the seat, posture, habit or internal character of the soul. Morals, on the other hand, comes from the root word mos which means custom, and refers more especially to the outward manifestation than to the internal character. The term ethics therefore has largely superseded that of moral philosophy in its application to the Christian life. Christian Ethics may be properly defined as the science of the Christian life. In the evangelical scheme, Dogmatics and Ethics are closely connected. It may be said that Ethics is the crown of Dogmatics, for the manifold truths of revelation find their highest expression in the restoration of man to the divine image. Christian Ethics differs from philosophical ethics in at least three fundamental positions. First, philosophical ethics has to do with determining man toward morality considered as a whole and impersonal; while Christian Ethics is purely personal, representing the divinely human life in the person of Christ as constituting the ideal of morality, and therefore requires of every individual that he become like Christ. Second, philosophical ethics starts from the moral self-determination of man, while Christian Ethics regards the Spirit of God as the determining power through which the law of God is written within the
Dogmatics is not only a science of faith, but also a knowledge grounded in and drawn from faith. It is not a mere historical exhibition of what has been, or now is, true for others, without being true for the author; nor is it a philosophical knowledge of Christian truth, obtained from a standpoint outside of faith and the Church. For even supposing -what yet we by no means concede that a scientific insight into Christian truth is possible, without Christian faith, yet such philosophizing about Christianity, even though its conclusions were ever so favorable to the Church could not be called dogmatics. Theology stands within the pale of Christianity; and only that dogmatic theologian can be esteemed the organ of his science, who is also the organ of his Church-which is not the case with the mere philosopher, whose only aim is to promote the cause of pure science. - MARTENSEN, Christian Dogmatics, pp. 1, 2.
hearts of men. Third, philosophical ethics treats of the relations which man sustains to the world, while Christian Ethics deals primarily with the relations which he sustains to the kingdom of God. Christian Ethics must not, therefore, be regarded as a catalogue of duties and virtues imposed upon the individual from without; for the positive element does not consist in the authoritative letter of the law, but in a course of life introduced into human conditions, and actualized in Christ. This new life is through the Spirit, continued in the community of believers, and therefore determines its ethical standards.
3. Apologetics. It is the task of Christian Apologetics to justify the truth of the Christian religion at the bar of human reason. It has a further task of proving that the Christian religion is the only true and perfect manifestation of God to man in the Person of Jesus Christ. While sometimes regarded as a separate branch of theology, the subject of apologetics is frequently treated in connection with dogmatics. Closely related to apologetics are two similar branches of theology: (1) Polemics or the study of doctrinal differences; and (2) Irenics or the study of doctrinal harmonies with a view to the promotion of Christian unity. Sack in his Polemik distinguishes these terms in the following manner: "Dogmatics is Christian doctrine as adapted to Christian thinkers, implying friendliness on their part; apologetics is Christian doctrine in a form adapted to heathen thinkers, and presumes hostility on their part; and polemics adapts the doctrine to the state of heretical Christian thinkers, proceeding on the supposition of dissatisfaction on their part."
Practical Theology is concerned with the application of the truths discovered in the preceding branches of theological study, and with their practical values in the renewing and sanctifying of men. Vinet defines it as "an art which supposes science, or science resolving itself into art. It is the art of applying usefully in the ministry, the knowledge acquired in the three other departments of theology which are purely scientific." Ebrard maintains that Practical Theology "when examined in the light, is not a knowledge but an ability; not a science but an art, in which theological knowledge acquired becomes practical." It embraces churchly activities and functions, whether exercised by the Church as a whole, or by individual members acting in a representative capacity. The arrangement of subjects as classified in this division vary greatly, but the following are generally included: (1) Homiletics treats of the composition and delivery of sermons; (2) Pastoral Theology is concerned with the qualifications of the minister in charge of a church or mission; (3) Catechetics has to do with the instruction of the young, whether in age or Christian experience, as a preparation for church membership; (4) Liturgics deals with the conduct of regular or special services in the church; (5) Evangelistics is a term applied to Home and Foreign Missions, and those forms of local or general work which have to do with the direct spread of the gospel and the salvation of men; and (6) Ecclesiology, more commonly known as Canonics or Church Polity, is a study of the various forms of church organization, including canon law.
A knowledge of the several divisions of theology is of utmost importance - specially to those whom God has called into the ministry. Exegetical Theology furnishes the authoritative sources; Historical Theology gives perspective and balance; Systematic Theology provides the doctrinal standards of the church; and Practical Theology seeks to make effective the knowledge gained in the previous departments. Without this full range of theological science there can be no true perspective, no balanced knowledge, no authoritative standards, and hence no supremely effective ministry.