Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology Part 2 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 091:363 (Jul 1934)
Article: Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology Part 2
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology
Part 2

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s Note: The following is the third in a series of three articles appearing in this Quarterly. In the first, an unabridged Systematic Theology was set forth in outline (January, 1934). In the second, the first division of the theme, “Evils Resulting From an Abridged Systematic Theology,” was presented including a discussion of two of the seven major omissions, namely, The Divine Program Of the Ages, and The Church (April, 1934). The following article, in concluding the series, is a discussion of the remaining five omissions. My plea is not primarily for the acceptance of the views of any particular school of interpretation, as it is for the inclusion in Systematic Theology of these vital subjects which have been neglected.]

III. Human Conduct and the Spiritual Life

It is possible that the modern emphasis upon human conduct expressed in the phrase, “It matters little what you believe, it is the life that counts,” was, when first uttered, a protest against the omission of the theme of human conduct from works of Systematic Theology. True to its limitations, the world of practical men is more interested in a justification by works than it is in a justification by faith. Much of the Bible is hortatory, and the contemplation of the doctrine of human conduct belongs properly to a science which purports to discover, classify, and exhibit the great doctrines of the Bible. This particular theme includes: (1) human conduct in general and in all ages-past, present, and future; and (2) the peculiar and exalted walk and daily life of the Christian: (a) his motive, (b) his high standards, (c) his method in his warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil, (d) his sins, (e) his relationships, (f) his witness, (g) his sufferings and sacrifice, his life of faith and prayer, and (h) his contest for rewards.

1. Human Conduct in General and in All Ages.

From the beginning, God, in faithfulness, has disclosed to man the precise manner of life that He requires of him. What may be termed inherent law embodies all that a Creator expects and requires of His creature. It is well expressed by the phrase, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” This law has been binding on that portion of humanity in all ages to whom no other law has been addressed. However, God has disclosed His specific will to particular groups of people in various ages. Identification of the particular responsibility God has imposed upon man in each age is not difficult. During much of human history man has sustained a meritorious, or legal, relation to God; that is, God’s declaration to man concerning conduct was, in substance, If y...

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