Unabridged Systematic Theology Part 1 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 091:361 (Jan 1934)
Article: Unabridged Systematic Theology Part 1
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Unabridged Systematic Theology
Part 1

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s Note: The purpose of this article is threefold: (1) To set forth, even in great brevity of treatment, what the writer conceives to be a fair representation of an unabridged Systematic Theology; (2) to provide a suitable introduction to a second article to appear in the April issue presenting some of the evil effects upon ministry and church resulting from an abridged Systematic Theology; and (3) to indicate the scope of the theology to which this Quarterly is committed under its new editorial management.]

When the extensiveness of fields of research is in view, there is but one science supreme. Other sciences, however challenging to the human mind, are concerned only with things created. The science of theology, on the other hand, while properly including the contemplation of all that is created, is primarily the orderly arrangement of the knowledge of God, Creator and Lord of all. Being, as it is, so inconceivably vast in its boundlessness, this science presents in its structure many diversified elements, classified to set forth clearly all within its purview; and when all aspects of this field of research-the greatest of all branches of human investigation-are included, a transcendent science is recognized which is rightfully designated Systematic Theology. This science may be defined as the collecting, systematically arranging, comparing, exhibiting and defending of all facts concerning God and His works from any and every source.

Systematic Theology, embraced as it is in the more comprehensive Theological Encyclopedia and Methodology, is itself subject to recognized major divisions. The following is an analysis of the subject matter of this science, which analysis, it is believed, conforms to the logical order of its major divisions and represents, in brief outline, the field of truth rightfully belonging to Systematic Theology.

Bibliology

God is partially revealed in nature-“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Ps 19:9, cf. Rom 1:19, 20); but the clear and precise revelation, including the record of the revelation He has made by and through His Son (John 1:18; Heb 1:1–3), as well as that material which is disclosed to the human mind by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:12), is contained in the Scriptures of Truth. It is therefore logical that, following the usual Prolegomena, the cours...

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