Editorial -- By: Douglas Moo
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“Systematic theology” has a bad name among many Christians. For many, it conjures up images of arid academic debate and the imposition of philosophical concepts on the straightforward teaching of the Bible. Even at seminary, one often hears students stating a preference for “biblical” over “systematic” theology. It is no doubt the case that some systematic theologians have brought this criticism on themselves. Certain dogmaticians have gone about their work without much effort to relate their work to the “bottom line” meaning of the text; and some have been guilty of forcing the biblical material into a mold that distorts the message of the text. But in our lead article, Moisés Silva demonstrates that we cannot do without systematic theology. Anyone seeking to put together the truth of Scripture so that it can speak with a single voice to the issues of our day must use some kind of framework. The question is not, then, “should we do systematic theology?” but “how can we do systematic theology correctly?” Silva, who teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary, illustrates these points by looking at current interpretation of the theology of the Apostle Paul.
Our second article also focuses on Paul. David deSilva, a doctoral candidate at Emory University and past contributor to Trinity Journal (“The ‘Image of the Beast’ and the Christians in Asia Minor: Escalation of Sectarian Tension in Revelation 13, ” in Vol. 12NS, No. 2, Fall 1991), brings new light on Phil 3:2–21 by setting it in a different rhetorical context than is usually done. Rather than fitting Paul’s teaching into a particular context of false teaching, deSilva accentuates its positive function, as a text that helps Christians understand who they are.
One of the strongest winds of change blowing across the American evangelical theological landscape in the past decade
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has been the attempt of a number of prominent dispensationalist theologians to “redefine” who they are and what they believe. Darrell Bock, a NT professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, has been in the thick of this discussion since the beginning. His article on the nature and time of Christ’s reign provides both a useful survey of this revisionist movement and an important evaluation of a key issue in the debate.
I am tempted to say that our final article moves from “theory” to “practice”; but this article itself calls into question the appropriateness of these distinctions. Thomas Groome is a key voice in theological education today. His ideas influence, directly or ...
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