Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology Part 1 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 091:362 (Apr 1934)
Article: Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology Part 1
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology
Part 1

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s Note: This article, which will be concluded in the July issue of this Quarterly, is based on an outline statement of what the author conceives to be an unabridged Systematic Theology, which statement appeared in the January issue of this year.]

Systematic Theology, the greatest of the sciences, has fallen upon evil days. Between the rejection and ridicule of it by the so-called Progressives and the neglect and abridgment of it by the orthodox, it, as a potent influence, is approaching the point of extinction. It is a significant fact that of the upwards of two score accredited and notable works on Systematic Theology which have been produced in this and other countries, an exceedingly small portion is now in print and the demand for these works is negligible. The unchanging emphasis in the Scriptures upon doctrine, which subject is referred to in the New Testament more than forty times and is that to which a Christian is to “give heed” (1 Tim 1:3; 4:6, 16; 2 Tim 3:10, 16; 4:2, 3), stands as a silent rebuke, whether heeded or not, to all modern notions which belittle the importance of Dogmatic Theology, and also stands as a corrective to those who neglect any portion of it.

It is no secret that the average minister is not now reading Systematic Theology, nor will such writings be found to occupy a prominent place in his library. Shocking indeed this condition would have been to ministers of two generations ago-men whose position was respected in their day because of their deep knowledge of the doctrinal portions of the Bible and whose spoken ministries and writings have gone far toward the upbuilding of the church of Christ.

The present situation is not one of passing moment.

As well might a medical doctor discard his books on anatomy and therapeutics as for the preacher to discard his books on Systematic Theology; and since doctrine is the bone structure of the body of revealed truth, the neglect of it must result in a message characterized by uncertainties, inaccuracies, and immaturity. What is the specific field of learning that distinguishes the ministerial profession if it is not the knowledge of the Bible and its doctrines? To the preacher is committed a responsibility of surpassing import. Men of other professions are tireless in their attempts to d...

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