Avoiding Theological Anarchy

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TylerR's picture

Editor

It occurs to me that, instead of leading poor church members through Ryrie's Basic Theology, Bancroft's Christian Doctrine or even Berkhof's little book, we could teach fairly comprehensive doctrine classes by using a confession of faith as a launching pad. What are confessions, anyway, if not small and manageable statements of systematic theology?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K's picture

TylerR wrote:

It occurs to me that, instead of leading poor church members through Ryrie's Basic Theology, Bancroft's Christian Doctrine or even Berkhof's little book, we could teach fairly comprehensive doctrine classes by using a confession of faith as a launching pad. What are confessions, anyway, if not small and manageable statements of systematic theology?

Yes! That's exactly what they were designed to be, I believe: a layman's sys. theo.

Mark_Smith's picture

With respect to the convergent question, let me ask a question that relates to this thread about a doctrinal statement.

I agree with you and Andrew. A doctrinal statement is a great way to teach the basics of the faith as your church holds it.

Let me ask, why did you appeal to the authority of R. C. Sproul to say something that you have said before? You see, that is what FBFI is talking about with convergents. They appeal to Presbyterian intellectuals to help their argument. Why?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I just thought it was a good article. I wasn't appealing to R.C. Sproul's authority, because he has none.

I read a whole lot of material, written by a whole lot of folks, from a whole host of different perspectives. I deliberately don't silo myself off into a dispensational, fundamental, Baptist echo-chamber. That isn't a "convergent" move; it's just a normal part of learning. You read lots of things, from lots of different people. You junk some of it, learn from some of it, and disagree with some of it. Through it all, you're challenged, you learn and you grow.

  • I was assigned Millard Erickson's Systematic Theology in a fundamentalist baptist seminary. He's a conservative evangelical. I'm now re-reading portions of it every few days for fun. I just read Erickson's chapter on God's plan (i.e. decree). He advocates Molinism. I disagree. Yet, I learned something.
  • I have Bruce Ware's little book on the Trinity. He advocates Christ's eternal functional subordinationism in that book. I disagree. Yet, I still have the book and plan to re-read his statements on this again sometime soon.
  • I have Thiessen's Systematic. He advocates a foreknowledge view of individual election. I disagree. Yet, Thiessen did a very good job explaining his case. I still keep the book.
  • I have H. Orton Wliey's Systematic. He advocates sinless perfection for believers. It is bizarre beyond belief. Pure Wesley. But, I think I'm more well-rounded because I have read his arguments.

In short - people have nothing to be afraid of from Sproul. They do have a lot they could learn. And, some to discard, too!

Regarding Sproul's advocacy of confessions, it is very unlikely you'll ever find a Baptist writing a piece advocating confessionalism; unless he's a Reformed Baptist or one of the SBC Founders guys.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?