Tuesday, May 29, 2007

John Murray on the task of Systematic Theology 7

Concluding Reflections
Biog by Iain Murray
(Updated from Life in Vol 3 of Collected Writings)
This is the last post in this series on John Murray's approach to systematic theology. I suggest that Murray's proposals have the potential to refresh contemporary Reformed Dogmatics. A more exegetical method that roots systematics in biblical theology will also make the discipline of greater benefit to pastors. Our task is to proclaim to Word of God to the people of God. To do that, we need a systematic theology that does not mainly consist of a restatement of Reformed orthodoxy appended by a string of proof texts. Pastors need to be helped to think theologically - to relate the witness of Scripture to contemporary concerns. Robert Reymond's A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith is an advance on Berkhof's Systematic Theology in this respect. Although I don't always agree with his exegetical decisions, Reymond does actually exegete key passages of Scripture. But his work fails to take into account recent theological developments and lacks generosity in disputed matters like church government and baptism. What we need is a contemporary Reformed Dogmatics that is modelled on Murray's careful methodology. Systematics should also take account of Kevin Vanhoozer's theodramatic proposals. One of the problems that I had with the latter's The Drama of Doctrine was that the work lacked exegetical rigour. A creative blend of the two approaches would be an interesting prospect.
Here is the complete series on John Murray and the task of Systematic Theology:
Murray's four volume Collected Writings are available from the Banner of Truth Trust here.

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