Theological Method

Theologies to be Skeptical About

Christian systematic theologies abound today, and the themes around which one may orient any theology are legion: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, feminist, dispensationalist, Afro-American, liberation, liturgical, evangelical, Marxist, Asian, Indian, and on and on.   On the basis of Biblical revelation, I thought it might be useful to list 10 traits of theology that should inspire us to be skeptical when we detect them.

Be skeptical of any theology that:

1.   Situates the Person of Jesus Christ anywhere except at its absolute center (Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 1:3).

2.   Prefers knowledge to love (1 Cor. 1:8; 13:8).

3.   Assumes one can know doctrine without first obeying Christ (Jn. 7:17).

4.   Produces cruel, pharisaic people (Mt. 7:1-20).

5.   Pits personal revelation against propositional revelation (Jn. 1:1-3; 17:17)

6.   Refuses to acknowledge its own sinful, finite, tentative, human character (Is. 55:8-9; Rom. 3:4)

7.   Forbids any tradition to be judged by the written Word of God (Mt. 15:1-6)

8.   Sees apologetics anywhere but in the Gospel (1 Jn. 5:6-10).

9.   Draws people to the theologian or his theology rather than to Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-13).

10.   Tries to win acceptance in the eyes of sophisticated unbelievers (1 Cor. 1:18-31).


2 thoughts on “Theologies to be Skeptical About

  1. Sue Sutherlin says:

    For point number 6, I think Romans 3:23 would be a better illustration. Thanks for this morning’s ‘stroll’ through Scripture!

  2. I saw this post this morning as it was re-posted on Joel Taylor’s blog. For those of us lay folks with only a cursory familiarity with the most popular systematic theologies, do you have any examples of where theses systematics fail to line up with items 1-10? For example, does MIchael Horton’s systematic have problems at 1,2, 5, and 7? Does Hodge run up against 3, 8, and 9? Bekhof at 4? Grudem at all ten? (I’m just throwing the names and numbers together in order to clarify what I’m asking; I have no clue at which points each one would have difficulty).


    Sergius Martin-George

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