10.9.08

I'm wondering about systematic theology

I'm going to be doing a lot of thinking over the next two years and my thoughts could change and probably will. Christina Baxter warned us about this - be prepared to be changed! I have to do lots of reading. I come to that reading with my own presuppositions, based on my class, background, gender (most definitely of late), ideology and upbringing. The reflections I make might at times be half-thought-through, mis-informed even but I have enough faith in humanity to believe that error is forgivable and i won't offend you too much and that God is full of grace and I do this thinking out loud in the knowledge that we are all groping a little in the darkness as we seek the light, but be warned when you see the image below - I've been thinking...


I'm wondering whether systematic theology - like that espoused by Grudem et al, where a collection of quotations are built up under a given heading, so that absolutes may be derived and applied to the circumstances of our lives, draws perhaps on a very ancient tradition. The Talmud made up of rules and interpretative discussion is referred to in Mark 7:3-4 as "the tradition of the elders". The Pharisees created an 'oral Torah' - an interpretation of the Torah that was in effect a binding interpretation of the law so that it might not be manipulated and so that it might be applied directly to everyday life despite changing times. Grudem et al appear to do exactly this - they take the very words of the Bible, do away with context, even down-play the original authors' intentions and purposes, dwell not on the original audiences for whom the original instruction was aimed and seek to apply the letter of the law to contemporary situations. A perfect example of this would be in their application of passages like 1 Tim 2:12.

The Pharisees' 'tradition of the fathers' was created to ensure that the law was obeyed, a worthy motivation which we should respect but isn't is interesting how Jesus, Himself, had difficulty with many of these traditions, and was in trouble on numerous occasions, and most particularly in His ways of behaving on the Sabbath? Food for thought there indeed.

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