Published at www.GSBaptistChurch.com/theology/th802report.epub or .pdf or .odt
ADVANCED SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II TH802
A Written Report Presented to the Faculty
of Louisiana Baptist University
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Doctorate of Philosophy in Theological Studies
Table of Contents
TH 802 Notes on the Writing Assignment
TEXT: Systematic Theology (Vol. 2), by Lewis Sperry Chafer, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications),1976. ISBN: 0-8254-2340-6
(2) Select two other conservative systematic Theology works of the student’s choice for reading and comparison on the subjects covered in the course.
COURSE OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this course is to challenge the student to launch into an advanced study of theological definitions, terms and concepts as required in the ten disciplines of systematic theology and specifically in this course the study of Angelology, Satanology, Anthropology, and Hamartiology.
(1) Read Lewis S. Chafer’s volume 2 p.3-121 for “Angelology/Satanology,” p.125-373 and for “Anthropology/Hamartiology” and also read carefully the corresponding sections in the two supplemental textbooks you have chosen for understanding, marking listings, Scriptures, and helpful information in each book which you might wish to quickly locate for completing the following requirements for this course.
(2) From each chapter of Chafer’s book and merging the corresponding material from your two supplemental books, prepare a detailed outline or discussion on each chapter with a full explanation of the terms involved. Show the page number and inclusive Scriptures for each point as appropriate. Always feel free to disagree with the authors, but be sure you verify from Scripture why you believe your position has more merit. Your chapter outlines will be graded as if they were to be used for training others. You should have a minimum of twenty-five pages of notes for this course.
(3) After completing the assignments of this course forward your course materials to LBTS.
I have used the following supplemental theology textbooks for this course:
Bancroft, Emery H., Elemental Theology, 1932, Baptist Bible Seminary, 1945, 1960, Zondervan 1977.
Cambron, Mark G. Bible Doctrines. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1954.
Hodge, Charles.Systematic Theology: Volume I-IV. Charles Scribner & Company, 1871, Hardback- Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1940.
Miley, John. Systematic Theology Vol. 1 & 2. The Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/details/systematictheolo01mile .
Ryrie, Charles C.. Basic Theology. Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1981.
Shedd, William G. T.. Dogmatic Theology. Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology in Union Theological Seminary, New York, Charles Scribner & Sons, 1888. [The Internet Archive www.archive.org/details/dogmatictheology01sheduoft].
Strong, Augustus H.. Systematic Theology:Three Volumes in 1. Philadelphia, Valley Forge PA, The Judson Press, 1907, 35th printing 1993.
Thiessen, Henry Clarence. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich., William B. Eerdman Publishing Company, 1949.
Lectures in Systematic Theology. Revised by Vernon D. Doerksen, Grand Rapids, Mich., William B. Eerdman Publishing Company.
The Assignment for Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary’s TH 801 – Advanced Systematic Theology I, was to “Read Lewis S. Chafer’s volume 21 p.3-121 for “Angelology/Satanology,” p.125-373 and for “Anthropology/Hamartiology” and also read carefully the corresponding sections in the two supplemental textbooks.” I have included comparisons to several ‘supplemental textbooks.’ This the second volume of Dr. Chafer that is thus critiqued. These critiques are not intended to be judgmental, but are indeed very stern. Dr. Chafer, as the president of Dallas Theological Seminary, has written a very neoevangelical systematic theology. Of particular interest in my review are the works of Charles Hodge (1797-1878), the oldest systematic theology, albeit Presbyterian, found in my library; the works of Augustus H. Strong (1836-1921), the only Baptist systematic theology found in my library; and the works of Henry C. Thiessen (?-1947), his “Lectures in Systematic Theology” being most recently added to my library, and that because of my LBTS studies towards my masters of theological studies. Other textbooks, I compared, with authors to timid to call their works Systematic Theology, include Charles C. Ryrie’s “Basic Theology”, Millard J. Erickson’s “Christian Theology” and a revered and distinctively Independent Baptist’s 1954 work “Bible Doctrines” by Mark G. Cambron, a professor at Tennessee Temple Bible School. Occasional, comparison was made to the intellectual but very Calvinist and Reformed Theology work “Dogmatic Theology” by William G. T. Shedd (1820–1894) It is a vintage work of an Old School Presbyterian who held fast to the Westminster Standards. Unfortunately these Reformed Theology Calvinist Standards have gotten their fingers into every Systematic Theology this author has studied. Notable works not consulted in this research would include both Johnathan Edwards (1703-1758) who was more of a philosophical theologian than a systematic theologian, and John Calvin’s (1509-1564) magnum opus “Institutes of Christian Religion.” Both Edwards, and Calvin’s reformed theology are systematically captured in Charles Hodge’s Presbyterian systematic theology.
The assignment included the task to prepare a detailed discussion on each chapter with a full explanation of the terms involved. A thorough ‘discussion’ and full critique for each chapter is presented herein. The need for a Baptist/Biblical Systematic Theology was evidenced in the critique of Chafer’s previous volume. Construction of a ‘straw-man’ work by that title is being constructed in conjunction with these reports.
Review and Critique of Chafer’s Angelology (32% of Vol 2)
The critique of Chafer’s volume one concluded overwhelmingly that Lewis Sperry Chafer does not have an adequate stand on the plenary verbal inspiration of an inerrant, infallible, Holy Bible, not the organizational skills, nor the robust communication and writing aptitude, to write a thorough, accurate systematic theology. This critique of the first section of his second volume must continue with a criticism of his organization.
This critique differs significantly from another Dallas Theological Seminary President, John F. Walvoord who says:
“The appearance of the eight-volume work in Systematic Theology by President Lewis Sperry Chafer of Dallas Theological Seminary is without question an epoch in the history of Christian doctrine. Never before has a work similar in content, purpose, and scope been produced. Its appearance in a day when liberal interpretation and unbelief have riddled the Biblical basis for theological study is in itself highly significant.2”
It is also set apart from DoctorDaveT (DR. DAVID S. THOMASON ) who, as a reviewer, gives Dr. Chafer this “Best of Class” award:
“Chafer was the first dispensationalist to write an entire Systematic Theology. Sixty plus years later, it is still universally considered to be the best premillennial Systematic ever published. I consider it the single best Systematic Theology ever written regardless of theological perspective.3“
Critique of Chap 1 Introduction to Angelology (3-5) 2%
Angelology is such a minor consideration in a systematic theology that it needs to be moved further back in our consideration. Even though man is a little lower than the angels, in the perspective of the Bible, he is much greater in significance. A systematic theology which has the Holy Bible as its sole authority for doctrine should proportion its study as the final authority proportions its revelation. When the Word of God is silent about a subject, it behooves the theologian to be as silent, when reserved, just as reserved. By Chafer’s own admission: “The Bible is not addressed to the angels, nor does it enter upon an exhaustive description of their estate or interrelationships.”4 Again, where the Bible is silent or reserved, one should not approach with a diatribe of verbiage.
Dr. Chafer was likely following the precedent set by Augustus Strong in moving angels to the forefront of ones systematic theology. Such a prioritization of a sidebar consideration is unwarranted. Just the same, Angelology should not be removed or dismissed lightly from such a study. It carries important insight to God and man and their relationship.
Chafer’s inadequate organization is completely manifest in his categorization of angels. Previously Augustus Strong carefully categorizes angels into a careful order of created things. He contends that created beings break rationally into five groupings: 1) the inanimate, i.e. rocks, 2) living plants, 3) breathing animals, 4) rational living souls, i.e. humans, and 5) spiritual beings, i.e. angels. This is a well thought out insightful structure, wherein we can analyze ascending spheres of creation.
Chafer, on the other hand, mimics, perhaps mocks, the five with his own creation. His organization has 1) good angels, 2) bad angels, 3) Jews, 4) Gentiles, and 5) Christians.5 Groupings, categories, and classifications are important tools for dividing a great wealth of knowledge into workable subdivisions or spheres of understanding. Scientists categorize the living into seven natural divisions of Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. The divide visible light into seven natural and distinct groups of wavelength: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. They divide the elements by density into seven rows with distinctively different characteristics. These divisions in creation are not arbitrary nor made up on a whim, they are natural structures in God’s creation, structures that were discovered by the exploring rational mind. Chafer’s categorizing of good angels, bad angels, Jews, Gentiles and Christians, has none of that nature or rational. It is such a worthless categorization that he himself, thankfully, abandons its use in the next chapter where he resorts back to the spheres Augustus Strong keenly recognized. So why does Chafer even include his categorization? It is supposed that a theologian wants, and needs to demonstrate an independence of thought that breaks him away from the traditional and orthodoxical paths. Such a break needs to be very rational and better, be more Biblical. Previous systematic theologies have repeatedly followed after philosophies and creeds which are not borne out by Biblical Revelation, i.e. the dichotomy of man vs his trichotomy, the Westminster doctrine of decrees vs the Bible’s whosoever wills, Roman allegorical Eschatology vs Biblical Dispensational Eschatology. Breaking away from these and gravitating to Biblical moorings is important and essential. Dr. Chafer has demonstrated none of that departure, and in this instance, trying to re-categorize Strong’s categories , he has shown genuine folly.
Grouping Jews and Gentiles against good angels, and bad angels, and then drawing a separate group called Christian, is unnatural, unnecessary, unwise, and, thankfully, undeveloped any further.
Critique of Chap 2 General Facts About Angels (6-27) 18%
In Chapter Two, Section IX, Chafer addresses the classification of angels. He first recognizes the five Biblical groupings of angels as:
- Thrones: those who sit on thrones,
- Dominions: those who rule,
- Principalities: those who govern,
- Powers: those who exercise supremacy, and
- Authorities: those invested with imperial responsibility
It behooves one to go back and carefully examine these categories with an open Bible. The implication here is that in categorizing angels we find them in each of these positions. This list is taken from Colossians chapter one:
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Col 1:12-17)(Bold emphasis added by author.)
Here, Chafer may be confused, and is at least conflicted, by ecumenical modernist bibles and textual critics. The bibles which left out the redemption “THROUGH HIS BLOOD” in verse 14, also changed these categories around, doubtless rewording them to account for their new copy right on their efforts. The ecumenical modernist bibles include thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities here eliminating dominions and principalities from their vocabulary entirely. In reality, and in a Bible using God’s Words the Greek kurioths shows up four times in the Holy Bible and should be different from the word dunamis that the NIV6 here tries to substitute for God’s word. Likewise God’s word uses principalities or arch, and the ecumenical modernists substitute uexonsia or authorities. Chafer’s use of these four classifications for angels is misleading up front, but his dependence on Bible critics, textual critics and modern translations (Chafer used the RSV7) greatly compounds his confusion. Using Bible exegesis with an accurate English Bible Col 1:16 is a division of four entities of all the created things, both visible and invisible. This would likely divide our list of four between man (visible) and angel (invisible), man holding the thrones and dominions, angels holding the principalities and the powers. This combined with 1Pet 3:22, “Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him”, as well as the other places previously used (Rom 8:38, Eph 1:21, 3:13, 6:12, Col 2:10,15)8 show us that these classifications do not categorize angels specifically, they classify only hierarchies of control. In that Chafer did not do his exegetical homework well, and that what he did was done with a compromised ecumenical modernist bible, I would sooner trust the genius of Charles Hodge and Augustus Strong in classifying angels, and most readily trust them over Chafer in exploring the ministry, discipline, and even speculations about angels.
Strong makes these… Scripture Statements and Intimations … As to the nature and attributes of angels9.
( a ) They are created beings. (Ps. 148:2-5, Col. 1:16, 1Pet. 3:32, 1Tim. 6:16)
(b) They are incorporeal beings. (Heb. 1:14, Eph. 6:12, Eph. 1:3; 2:6, Ps. 78:25, Mat. 22:30, Luke 20:36, Rev. 18:13, Mat. 12:43 ; 8:31) In Gen. 6:2, “sons of God ” =, not angels, but descendants of Seth and worshipers of the true God (see Murphy, Com., in loco)10
( c ) They are personal ” that is, intelligent and voluntary ” agents. (2Sam. 14:20, Luke 4:34, 2Tim. 2:26, Rev. 22:9, Rev. 12:12)
( d ) They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power, yet an intelligence and power that has its fixed limits. (Mat. 24:36, 1Pet, 1:12, Ps. 103:20, 2Thess. 1:7, 2Pet. 2:11, Rev. 20:2, 10, Ps. 72:18, Job 4:18; 15:15; 25:5, Col. 1:16, Mat. 28:4 ,Luke 22:43 ; cf. Dan. 10:19, 1 Tim. 6:15)
( e ) They are an order of intelligences distinct from man and older than man. (1Cor 6:3, Heb 1:14, 2:16)
Strong then covers some Scriptures … As to their number and organization.
(a) They are of great multitude. (Deut. 33:2, Ps. 68:17, Dan. 7:10, Rev. 5:11)
( b ) They constitute a company, as distinguished from a race. (Mat. 22:30, Luke 20:36, Heb. 2:16, Eph. 3:14, 15)
( c ) They are of various ranks and endowments. (Col 1:16 , 1Thess. 4:16, Jude 1:9, Acts 7:38, 53; GaL 3;19; Heb. 2:2; 15:5, 3), (Jude 9 “Michael the archangel.” Michael ( = who is like God ? ) is the only one expressly called an archangel in Scripture, although Gabriel (= God’s hero ) has been called an archangel by Milton.)
( d) They have an organization. (1Sam. 1:11, 1Kings. 22:19, Mat. 26:53, 25:41, Eph. 2:2, Rev. 2:13, 16:10, Dent. 4:19 ; 17:3 ; Acts 7:42, Gen. 32:2, 2Chron. 18:18 ; Luke 2: 13; Rev. 19:14),(In Neh. 9:6 and Ps. 33:6 the word “host” seems to include both angels and stars.)
Allow here Chafer’s completely missing and Strong’s careful coverage… As to their moral character.
(a) They were all created holy. (Gen. 1:31, Jude 1:6)
( b ) They had a probation. (1Tim. 5:21, 1Pet. 1:1, 2, 1Tim. 5:21, Gen. 3:14)
( c ) Some preserved their integrity. (Ps. 89:7, Mark 8:38)
( d ) Some fell from their state of innocence. (John 8:44, 2 Pet. 2: 4)
( e ) The good are confirmed in good. (Mat. 6:10, 18:10, 2Cor. 11:14)
(f) The evil are confirmed in evil. (Mat. 13:19, 1John 5:18, 19, John 8:44, Mat. 6:13)
Strong’s insight and dependence on Scripture trumps Chafer’s speculations repeatedly.
Critique of Chap 3 Angelic Participation in the Moral Problem (28-32) 4%
This chapter Angelic Participation in the Moral Problem, seems to be manufactured as an unorganized compilation of consideration better covered in a more organized systematic theology. The creation of angels, the fall of angels, and the cause of this fall is certainly better treated in other sections of angelology, even as accomplished by Cambron, Bancroft11, Strong, and Hodge.
Critique of Chapter 4 Satonology:Introduction (33-38) 5%
Lewis Sperry Chafer begins this section with an opinion about a proper translation and then by regurgitating an error mouthed by Hodge (1797-1878). Charles Hodge was wrong to disagree with the seventy seven highly skilled linguists, employed and paid by King James from 1603 through 1611, who only transliterated words when there was no English equivalent, i.e. to baptize, there was no English word for “to completely immerse into, within, and under” and so they transliterated the Greek baptizo. Speaking of devils Hodge says “The most common designation given to them is daimones, or more commonly daimonia, which our translators unfortunately render devils.12” The translators used the proper English word in this instance and Hodge, Thiessen and Chafer voice contention that they should have transliterated the Greek word instead. Hodge, because he was most familiar with Latin, Chafer and Thiessen, evidently, only because their neoevangelical training had made them dissatisfied with the Authorized version of the Holy Bible.
Devils is indeed the proper English translation for the various Greek forms of diamon, a word should only be transliterated when there is no English equivalent. The English word devil(s) is correctly and consistently translated 106 times in the Holy Bible. The Greek word diablos (Strn#1228) used 38 times in the Holy Bible, first occurred in Matthew 4:24 and is translated devil 35 times, false accuser twice, and slanderer once. Transliterating this Greek word, as promoted by Hodge, Chafer, and Thiessen, would be improper. The Greek word daimonizomai (Strn#1139) was used 38 times in the Holy Bible, first occurred in Matthew 4:24, and is translated possessed 8 times, of the, vexed with, have a devil 2,1,1 times respectively. It would be improper to transliterate this Greek word as promoted by Hodge, Chafer, and Thiessen. The Greek word daimonion (Strng#1140) was used 60 times in the Holy Bible, first occurred in Matthew 7:22, and is translated devil 59 times, and god once. Transliterating this Greek word, as promoted by Hodge, Chafer, and Thiessen, would be improper. The Greek word daimwn (Strng#1142), used 5 times in the Holy Bible, first occurred in Matthew 8:31, and is translated devils 4 times, and devil once. Transliterating these Greek words throughout, as Hodge and Chafer propose, would be wholly improper and would breed confusion in the normal English student. Incidentally, the Greek aggelos is used 186 times as angels 179 times, messenger 7 times, and it is properly a transliteration of the Greek.
It is unfortunate that Chafer uses his introduction on such an interesting topic as Satanology for exegesis of the Devil and his devils. Such an introduction does not capture a reader, and the whole section then proceeds with an excessively wordy diatribe which seems to be his practice for a Systematic Theology. Strangely, his book “Satan”, published forty years earlier than his Systematic Theology, is organized, thorough, and concise. C.I. Scofield extols its virtues. It seems Chafer’s founding of Dallas Theological Seminary turned him into a very verbose fellow. Rereading his introduction of his previous book makes me curious about what in the world happened to Chafer’s writing style in those 40 years. They should have improved, not worsened.
Critique of Chap 5 Satanology: The Career of Satan (39-61) 19%
There are two reasons why reading Chafer’s Chapter 5 through 9 were of little value and warrant here no further comment. (Chap 6 Satanology: Satan’s Evil Character (62-75) 12%; Chap 7 Satanology: The Satanic Cosmos (76-90) 12%; Chap 8 Satanology: Satan’s Motive (91-98) 7%; Chap 9 Satanology: Satan’s Method (99-112) 12%) First, I had previously read his 1909 work “Satan” and found it organized, thorough, and concise. Some how, when Chafer transformed that excellent work into a section for his systematic theology, a section entitled Satanology, he lost all organization and abandoned the ability to come to the point. It seems to be a sad forty year transition brought on by excessive education. Chafer’s outline for his previous book is shown below.
SATAN By LEWIS SPERRY CHAFER, 1909
I. The Career of Satan
II. The Ages
III. The Course of This Age
IV. This Age and the Satanic System
V. The Satanic Host
VI. Satan’s Motive
VII. Satan’s Methods
VIII. The Man of Sin
IX. The Fatal Omission
X. Modern Devices
XI. The Believer’s Present Position
XII. The Believer’s Present Victory13
The second, and primary reason that little comment or value is made on this disappointing section is that Charles Hodge has profoundly and systematically written a thorough section on Angelology that concisely contains all the pertinent information of Chafer’s section on both Angelology and here on Satanology.
In that the whole section by Hodge is currently public domain14 it is included in its entirety in my Systematic Theology. Dr. Chafer’s tainted view of the KJV and Bible inspiration, his poor organization, and incorrigible writing style has prompted the writing of a Systematic Theology for the 21st Century. The draft of that work includes Hodge’s Angelology and discards Chafer’s Angelology entirely.
Critique of Chap 10 Demonology (113-121) 7%
In this chapter Dr. Chafer entertains a very lengthy quote form Clarence Larkin’s book The Spirit World15. It is interesting that Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952) was a contemporary of two giants of dispensationalism’s defense, Clarence Larkin (1850-1924) and C.I. Scofield (1843-1921), indeed as a young man Chafer was a founding member of Modern Christian Dispensationalism of the Niagara Bible Conference of 1883-1897. Also Dr. Chafer was not just a president of Dallas Theological Seminary, in 1924 he was the founder of that seminary. These two insights did not much change my critiques of his systematic errors, but my attitude toward his genius may need adjustments. I do not mean to be demeaning to his character or integrity here, only to recognize his departures from Bible doctrines and the tentacles into neoevangelicalism.
In this chapter Dr. Chafer also brings up an ugly exegetical exercise wherein private interpretation introduces into society a half man – half angel, mongrel mutant. The introduction of this idea is ugly because it has no place in any other systematic view of the Bible. Bible principle deals primarily with man’s situation in sin and only secondarily with angels. Angels are ministering spirits in this primary application, and nowhere does it deal with the existence of half angel-half man creatures that Larkin introduces in his book The Spirit World. Although Larkin admits he is not the first to suppose that fallen angels have sex and procreate with women, producing, some mongrel mutant race, he is the first to lend such a conundrum exegetical credence.
The credence given to this idea that mongrel mutant angelic humanoids were created and referenced in Genesis chapter six is ugly because it is only discerned by skillfully reading things between the lines of Revealed Scripture. When the genius of intense scholarship exposes such a subterranean concept a three act play is set in place. Act one, knowledge puffeth up. The subterranean idea is taught and published as dogma and those rejecting or correcting their personal dogma are mocked and villainized.
Act two, other rational geniuses search other subterranean dogma to exonerate their genius. Before long there is a dogma about a subterranean gap hidden between Genesis 1:1 and 1:216; a dogma about the Bible’s subterranean revelation that Adam had not blood, but grape juice pulsing through his veins17; or a dogma about the Bible’s subterranean revelation that UFO’s and aliens from outer space invaded and altered our world, black aliens with green blood, most certainly!18 The quest for subterranean themes hidden between the lines of the Bible departs radically from the plain truths that the Bible reveals. The plain truth is that the Bible has no secret hidden messages that only certain clergy, scholars, or genius can discover or uncover19. The Bible is clear: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29)
An associate Pastor on Long Island, Sean Jacobs, eloquently contrasted Martha’s service to Mary’s devotion. Martha said unto Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21) Her tone was one of correcting. Mary, on the other hand, fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying unto him, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:32) In the Greek, and consequently, in the King James Bible, their wording is identical. Martha’s words brought correction and reproof from the Master; Mary’s words caused empathy, even to the point where Jesus wept. (John 11.35)
When a servant takes a staunch stand, position or dogma and a peer reacts to that stance negatively, the servant will experience a Mary or a Martha reaction. If they react with anger, frustration, or hostility, it is because they have not first fallen at the feet of Jesus. One need not doubt the sincerity or loyalty of a Martha, but one dare not dismiss Jesus’ rebuke, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42) In act two of this supposed screen play, actors react badly when their hypothesis is corrected, they exhibit the worst of the Martha syndrome.
In Act Three of this unscripted play, none of these uncovered subterranean dogma’s lie dormant as an idle curiosity. Since they already lie outside of systematic Bible principle, they grow and migrate into ideologies which leaven, invade and infect other Bible doctrine. This third act plays into Larkin’s expose’ on mongrel mutant angelic humanoids; Judas, called the son of perdition (John 17:21), and the anti-Christ called the same (2Thes 2:3) are now half human and half demon in this wild interpretation. And likewise the Jews which desired to kill Jesus are fathered by the Devil (John 8:44) and a new vein of Antisemitism is born and bred, where killing off those halfbreeds is justified and pursued. The hypothesis, and Bible gymnastics necessary to support it, have only ill effects and no positive value. They are pursued in this vain exaltation of egotistical puffed up knowledge.
Mongrel Mutant Demonic Humanoids
The argument for mongrel mutants as angelic humanoids is: 1) When God reverences sons of God in Job he obviously means angels, ergo Genesis 6:2 and 4 must therefore mean angels. As they state it “Every time the Bible says sons of God, in the Old Testament, it refers to angels.” These angels obviously kept not their first estate and are in chains until the judgment. (Jude 1:6) Obviously, “sons of God” might mean something different in the New Testament, but in the Old, they say, it always means angels. 2) When God references Satan’s seed as a “he”, in Genesis 3:15, it must be taken just as literal as his reference to the woman’s seed which it refers to as an “it” The legends of humans copulating with the gods are prevalent throughout all cultures; some have even implied that is what Jehovah God did with Mary in Luke 1:35. Obviously, then, Satan and his fallen devils can copulate with women. But these devils must have a literal seed, so they contend thirdly, 3) since God gives every grain a body, and to every seed of grain has a body, angels as celestial bodies, they reason, must have seed. (1 Cor. 15:38) They make a leap in this Scripture, that since every seed has a body, every body has a seed, and the verses declare that there are celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial, (vr. 40) so it stands to reason that celestial bodies have seed. (Note that in context this Scripture is not dealing with angels at all, but is dealing with our resurrection body.) They use crafty twisted exegesis here to support their hypothesis that these mongrel mutants are possible because “the Bible teaches that celestial bodies have seed,” in their mind it does, in context it does not.
With this hypothesis now “proven” by Scripture they begin a journey wherein the anti-Christ is one of these mongrel mutant half man half demon creatures, that is why he is called a “beast” in Revelation. It is supposed from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that the ten toes of the image, toes that were part of iron and part of clay, are “they that shall mingle themselves with the seed of man.” (Dan 2:43) These must indeed be fallen angels which copulate with humans. The seed of beast “mingled” with the seed of man; certainly God clarifies it in Jer 31:2720, they say. This mingled seed is what caused the giants after the flood; logically, if that is where they came from in the days of Noah, that must be where they came from after the days of Noah. It is what caused Judas as the son of perdition, to betray Christ. (John 17:12) It is what caused the Jews, who were also fathered by the devil (John 8:44) to seek his death. And surely the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Christ is one of these mongrel mutant half man half beast creatures.
At the turn of the last century Clarence Larkin bolstered the hypothesis that fallen angels procreated with humans to produce a mongrel mutant man. He used this same line of reasoning and the same out of context Scriptures; 1) that Satan has a literal seed, Genesis 3:15; 2) That Old Testament sons of God are always angelic, Genesis 6:2, 4, Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7; and 3) That celestial bodies must have seed because grain seeds have bodies, 1Cor 15:38. He then extended the hypothesis to the same idea, that the abomination of desolation of Matthew 24, the little horn of Daniel 7 and 8, the king of fierce countenance of Daniel 8, is called a beast in Rev 11, where the dragon is credited with giving this living creature his power, and it must, therefore, be one of these mongrels. Of late, with the concept of DNA, it is suspected that “the number of the beast,” being “the number of a man” is secret Bible code talk for DNA.
This ill conceived hypothesis with its ill conceived, often dangerous exegesis, becomes dogma. The man of sin, that son of perdition (2Thes 2:3, and Judas of John 17:12) must certainly be a physical and literal child of the devil, a mongrel mutant, half human, half spirit world fallen angel. When such teaching becomes dogma the three act play alluded to previously begins to play out. There are presently those who take this dogma and consider the Jews, whom Christ revealed to be “Fathered by the Devil” (John 8:44), if there is a literal mongrel mutant from the devil(s) procreating with women, then surely, they say, those Jews are it. Such antisemitism readily springs from this hypothesis. It is always dangerous to interweave ones own theories through Scripture.
Hypothesizing about how God is going to do things is natural and generally errant. Making and bolstering ones hypothesis with exotic exegesis and private interpretation are natural, and always wrong. Salem and Kirby, authors of the 1960s Prophecy Bible, KNEW that the locust of Rev 9, with faces of men, teeth of lions, wings sounding like horses, and stingers in their tails,… they KNEW these were Apache Helicopters. It became their dogma. They KNEW HOW God was going to do everything. They were wrong. Harold Camping KNEW HOW and when, Jesus was going to return. It became his dogma. He was wrong. Published in 2013, Eric E. Stahl KNOWS from the Bible that the ozone and hydrogen layers of the atmosphere will be set on fire and burn up like a scroll when the nuclear bomb explodes over Israel. It is his published dogma. Europe cooks and America freezes, He KNOWS HOW God is going to do everything. If one believes in mongrel mutants of half human, half demon creatures, understand that it is a hypothesis. Some consider it a wild hypothesis. Holding this hypothesis as fact they KNOW HOW God or Satan is going to do things. Don’t allow it to become dogma, taught as fact in a Bible Institute. Clearly delineate it as hypothesis. Don’t build camps or break fellowships over a hypothesis.
I mean no disrespect to Dr. Peter S. Ruckman in this analysis, but it must be noted that he fulfills all three acts of this hypothetical play. Be is said that there is no greater genius of the 20th century who single-handedly placed the perfect purity of the King James Bible into the conversations of millions of Bible believers and every Bible remodeler. Be it said that there is no more fervent influence of that century who so filled our streets and mission fields with impassioned preachers of the Gospel of Christ. Be it said that no theologian of his century dug deeper into the inerrant infallible words of this verbally inspired Book to bring to his students hidden treasures of depth and beauty. But be it also said that no theologian has attempted to expose and defend more secret, hidden-to-all-others, covert ‘revelations’ than he, no theologian has resorted to greater derogatory vitriol than he, and no theologian has so interwoven his private interpretation through so many otherwise good doctrines than he. Thank you Dr. Ruckman for the example.
Another word about the inerrancy of Scripture is in order here. Inerrancy means that the Bible will not lead one into error. It does not mean that sinne and Saviour will be spelled exactly the same in every copy of the Bible21. Since the Bible is inerrant, i.e. it will not lead one into error, it is wholly truthful in its revelation. Not only is it wholly truthful, but being the perfect revelation of God to man, it does not conceal or hide its intended revelation. There are no secret codes or hidden messages, or covert revelations that cannot be readily detected by the Holy Spirit enlightened mind with a literal, grammatical, historical rendering of the communication. Note, again, that it is the Holy Spirit of God who quickens, and enlightens our minds to comprehend God’s truth, but that quickening and enlightening is given to every believer. Note, again, that the allegorical method of hermeneutics, wherein the revelation of God is written in secret, disguised, metaphorical prose which can only be readily discerned by a Roman priestly profession, or a Scholarly Protestant Clergy profession, is rejected in its principle and in its entirety. It is the Holy Spirit of God which reveals his His truth and not the pious or scholarly pursuits of man, reading things between the lines. Man has always enjoyed and employed the prideful arrogant taunting line, “I know something you don’t know.” Man, in his old nature, is always alert and digging around for subliminal messages and secret unintended revelations. A definition of inerrancy must include not only that the Bible will not lead one into error, but that the Bible will not side step or overpass an intended revelation of truth, it will not submerge an intended revelation between the lines and thus cause error in those who do not catch the concealed sublime. The Holy Bible is thus wholly inerrant.
Stated more bluntly, there is no subliminal geological 100 thousand year, plus, gap nestled covertly between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2; no testing and fall of angels is wedged into such a concealed covert gap in revelation; no prehistoric cataclysmic catastrophe should be imagined in such a subliminal gap in God’s revelation, in fact if God’s word is truth, the word prehistoric should be banished from the believers vocabulary. Be it said here that this author loves, honors and respects the unique genius and superb scholarship of C.I. Scofield, and loves, honors and respects the unique genius and superb scholarship of Clarence Larkin, however, they error when they contend that there is a subliminal revelation about mongrel mutant angelic humanoids submerged in the text of the Holy Bible. This author loves, honors and respects the unique genius and superb scholarship of Peter S. Ruckman, however, he was in error when he contends that there is a subliminal revelation about grapes of Eshcol in Adam’s veins, or black aliens with green blood meddling in mans affairs. An inerrant Bible does not lead one into error, but neither does it conceal the truth in such a way that only certain gifted ones are able to stumble onto it. Stated another way:
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law”.(Deut 29:29) For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. (Mark 4:22)
Attributing all this into a definition of inerrancy must necessitate that three things be herein clarified. Are no believers led into error by the words of an inerrant Bible? Are there now mysteries yet concealed in the pages of this inerrant Bible? And what is the function of the Holy Spirit of God, our guidon into all truth22, in keeping one from all error, especially in keeping one from routing out, or believing in, some new subliminal truth, that is “discovered”?
Anyone who know of Dr. Harold Camping know that professed believers can still take their Bible, route out, develop and teach, to very large audience, grandly discovered subliminal revelations which are wholly false. The Lord did not return on October 21st, 2011, and years of Dr. Camping’s research and teaching were proven false witness and scoffed around the world. When it is said that the Bible is inerrant, in that it will not lead one into error, it needs to be clarified that professed believer, with their inerrant Bibles opened wide, may still be led into error. The emphasis must be that there is not error in its presentation of spiritual truths, no error in its representation of physical and geographical dogma, no error in its dictation of history or genealogy. Believing what you read in an acceptable literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation, will not lead one into error. When using the Bible to discover secret subliminal messages, principles, and concepts, there is no end of the error which might be routed out. The whole concept behind the allegorical method23 of hermeneutics is that all of the Bible principles are buried in these subliminal hidden messages which can only be routed out by a gallant, pious scholarship, by a gallant, charismatic scholars, trained, if you will, by the Roman Catholic mother of all churches. Such allegorical method was largely carried into the Protestant Reformation wherein only ordained Protestant Clergy could rightly divide the truth of Scripture. It is errant.
The comprehension of inerrancy must include a venue where the Bible does not conceal any truths between the lines, hidden in gaps between verses, or buried in allegorical and/or hidden interpretations. Ergo the Bible is a distinct revelation of all the truth God perfectly intended to communicate to man and that revelation requires a literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation. In that manner the Bible is inerrant. In that way the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. In that way one will not be lead into error.
Critique of Chap XI & XII Introduction to Anthropology (125-129) & The Origin of Man (130-159)
If Chafer had made his last paragraph his first paragraph he could have cut out fourteen pages of add-nausea. None of this chapter recites God’s aspect, and actually represses His revelation about the origin of man. It is apologetic to the evolutionist, apologetic to the humanist, apologetic to the philosopher; it is apologetic to the archeologist and the geologist; for crying out loud, it is even apologetic to the philologist,24 because that philologist, the historical linguist, “knows” it has taken a hundred thousand years to evolve the human language to where it is today!
There is a need for apologetics and some small amount of apologetic might find its way into a systematic theology, but it should not be the focus of a systematic theology in any arena, and especially not as concerning the origins of man. Dr. Chafer is writing a text that will appeal to 70+ denominations, all of which Dallas Theological Seminary strives to appease and accommodate. Here he does it well, by saying nothing of significance in a chapter that should be very fundamental, very straightforward and very enlightening.
The whole flavor of a neoevangelical readily seeps from Dr. Chafer’s chapter on the origin of man. The series of Bible conferences springing from Niagara, New York at the close of the 19th century (1833-1897) brought both Fundamentalism and Biblical Dispensationalism into the lime light in America. The Fundamentalist became known for separating, holding anti-denominational (independent autonomous local churches), anticlerical (no clergy) and anti-creedal (no creed but the Bible) stances and defending five fundamentals of faith.25 Any departure from a fundamental tenant would constitute apostasy and result in separation. There was a distinct movement away from such staunch separation, neoevangelicals proposed that the apostate and unbelieving cultures must be constructively engaged. Rather than publicly confronting Church apostasy and separating from it, the neoevangelical advanced repairing it with inclusiveness. They supposed that social acceptance and intellectual respectability would be more effective on the perverse generation in need of correction. Fundamentalists soon dubbed them as the neoevangelicals26.
Dr. Chafer is wholly neoevangelical and his writing about the origins of man strives for intellectual respectability and social acceptance in a perverse world of infidelity and Church apostasy. Dallas Theological Seminary is founded on such neoevangelical principle and is, thus, pandering to 70+ denominations in its outreach. Consequently they must be very careful, never confrontational, in their declaration of truth, which never reaches a state implied in the term declaration. A Baptist is a fundamentalist, even if they retired the phrase, and need not exercise such careful avoidance of confrontation.
Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary is on the brink. It may at any moment forsake its Baptist Fundamental and Separatist heritage and embrace intellectual elitism, wherein it begins an irrecoverable slide down the steep slope of neoevangelicalism. Its assignment of a thoroughly neoevangelical systematic theology in its theological studies is an indicator of its inclination. Its disclaimer, that LBTS does not endorse the entire content of every text book used, cannot disengage this Baptist Theological Seminary from that dangerous slippery slope. Forces at play in its desire for intellectual respectability have already stepped over the brink and threaten to drag (or have indeed already dragged) the whole university and seminary over an irrecoverable line. Neoevangelicalism has swallowed the majority of Baptist Universities and all previous Baptist Seminaries. Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7 has application for institutions as well as for the souls of men: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” In a university sense, few there be that stay on a straight, fundamental, Baptist way. LBTS shows signs of veering from the straight.
Dr. Chafer’s neoevangelicalism aside, his “introduction to anthropology” and his “origin of man” cannot hold a candle to Baptist theologian Emery H. Bancroft’s Elemental Theology, Doctrinal and Conservative27 Bancroft’s work is adequately positive completely Biblical and very fundamental. His first sentence on creation contains a negative lead in “There is no trustworthy evidence that man came from beneath as a product of life forces or potencies of the material universe.”28 But Bancroft presents the fact of creation rather than the theory of creation. The latter track is Chafer’s neoevangelical approach and mimics Augustus Strong’s previous approach29. Strong published prior to the birth of fundamentalism and neoevangelicalism, but his flavor is in general neoevangelical, i.e. tiptoeing through apostasy, being careful not to ruffle any apostate or evolutionist’s feathers. Bancroft has no apologetics for the truth and a clearly separatist flavor of the fundamentalist. His work, however, is closer to a Bible Doctrines work than a Systematic Theology work. This is the state of all Baptist theology efforts. A truly Biblical, i.e. Baptist, Systematic Theology is still lacking in publication. If such an effort would be undertaken it would be more than Emery H. Bancroft included in his 1932, Elemental Theology. It is indeed, most exceptional, but alas elemental, rather than systematic. To extend Bancroft’s work from a 1932 Elemental effort to a Systematic Theology for the 21st Century, one which overpowers the neoevangelical works of Chafer and Geisler, one would start with Bancroft’s format and add pertinent systematic endeavor. (see appendix Prolegomena for a better description of that challenge)
The basic outline for a Systematic Theologies Anthropology section must start with a robustness found in Bancroft’s: The Doctrine of Man (Anthropology).30 That outline is recited below:
- The Fact of Creation
- Mans Creation Decreed
- Mans Creation Declared
- The Method of Creation
- Negatively Considered
- Positively Considered
- Original Condition
- Possessed the Image of God
- Does not denote physical likeness
- May mean a formal likeness, a likeness in form
- It could refer to a triune likeness- tripartite being, vs Triune Being
- It doubtless includes the personal image
- It must involve endless being with which God has endowed man
- It certainly means intellectual and moral likeness:
- Possessed Intellectual Faculties
- Possessed a Holy Moral Nature
- The Meaning of Probation
- The Fact of Probation
- The Period of Probation
- The Fall
- The Fact of the Fall
- The Manner of the Fall
- The Tempter
- The Temptation
- Woman, unprotected and near the forbidden
- Insinuating question implied doubt of God’s Word
- Woman replying to and parleying with the slanderer
- Woman tampering with the Word of God
- Serpent’s open denial of punishment for sin and accusing God of lying, selfishness, jealousy, degrading and lording over.
- Woman believing the tempter lust of eye, lust of flesh, pride of life
- Obeying the tempter
- Becoming a tempter to her husband who yielded undeceived.
- The Results of the Fall
- To Adam and Eve in particular
- Consciousness of nakedness and sense of shame
- A craven fear of God
- Expulsion from the garden
- To the race in general
- Ground cursed to not yield good alone
- Sorrow and pain to woman in childbearing
- All men are sinners and resting under condemnation
- Physical and spiritual death and threatened penalty of eternal death
- Unredeemed men are in helpless captivity to sin and Satan
Depicting the difference in a Biblical Doctrines work and a Biblical Systematic Theology work is the necessary work of a Prolegomena. That effort is begun in the draft Prolegomena in the appendix of this effort. Dr. John F. Walwoord, who succeeded Dr. Chafer as President of Dallas Theological Seminary, described Dr. Chafer’s Systematic Theology as “without question an epoch in the history of Christian Doctrine… a complete and unabridged Systematic Theology.”31 This author disagrees with that assessment and contends that a truly Biblical Systematic Theology is still want to be published.
Critique of Chap XIII-XIV The Material/Immaterial Part of Man (144-197)
Lewis Sperry Chafer’s poor coverage of mans origin and inadequate organization of his Anthropology section takes a turn for the worse in this chapter. Infidel, Philosopher, and Roman Catholic have decreed that man is made up of a material part and an immaterial part; God’s revelation makes no such simplistic distinction. If man is made in the image and likeness means anything, and if trinity means anything, then man is more than material and immaterial, he is body, soul, and spirit. The Roman Catholic doctrine that man has a material part to be dealt with and a immaterial part to be considered separately, has overwhelmed Chafer’s neoevangelical leanings. His Systematic Theology has now become a book of Roman Catholic Doctrine.
Chafer’s propensity to teach Roman Catholic Doctrine in these two chapters makes this section all the more feckless. How the human body actually produces an immaterial part, traducian theory, various elements, capacities and faculties of an immaterial part of man carries such insignificance that it hardly matters that his three key sources are the Encyclopedia Britannica32, Presbyterian Theologian Hodge33 and Presbyterian Theologian Shedd34. The whole differentiation and characterization of this artificial material and immaterial parts of man is extra-Biblical. Chafer is taking neoevangelicalism even further than it is want to go.
Critique of Chap XV The State of Innocence (198-214)
It does not bode well for a Systematic Theology being systematic or theology when Lewis Sperry Chafer starts the State of Innocence with a philosophical poem by Hollands greatest 17th century poet. Once again Dr. Chafer is allowing his quest for scholarly philosophy to trump his communication of truth. His approach does not herein improve.
A single sentence from the Responsibility of the First Man reveals, again, that Chafer’s work is wholly unworthy. “That the Christian may walk and talk with God, that the guiding and teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit is vouchsafed to him, and that the enabling power to realize God’s perfect will and plan is freely bestowed, illustrated, to some measure, the high privilege and responsibility of the first man when no cloud intervened between his Creator and himself.”35 Sixty such words of brazen run on passivity, might be found somewhere in poor English prose, but may it never be found in a Systematic Theology book. Our subject is complicated enough, the prose we use must be riddled with simplicity, not with gobbledygook. But Chafer does get worse.
From this point on in his diatribe of verbiage Dr. Chafer makes his whole focus, not the Biblical representation of the state of innocence, as would be proper, but those who consider the whole book of Genesis to be allegorical. Certainly there is a whole tribe of Evangelicals who are such infidels, but a Systematic Theology which has as its sole authority the infallible, inerrant, plenary, verbally inspired word of God, has little cause to address such an audience. In such an exorbitant waste Dr. Chafer has frittered away another fourteen pages of his six volumes of work.
Critique of Chap XVI The Fall (215-223)
There is little purpose in reading Chafer’s wordy opinion on the fall of man. One need only take note that he first sites Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, followed by the Presbyterian, Dr. Shedd, followed by the Westminster Confession. The overbearing error of all of this is best worded in my draft Prolegomena in the appendix of this paper. It details how theologians with a theology in their heart have failed to follow a basic systematic methodology to get that theology onto paper, systematically. Here Chafer does exactly what is condemned in that essay. He uses a scientific method wherein he hypothesizes about the fall of man, then experiments a path through multiple ancient opinions to bring hypothesis up to theory, and using the same empirical process, to bring theory up to “gospel truth”.
Theology is not a science, and in treating it as such, Dr. Chafer abandons the inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired Holy Bible as his sole source of truth about the fall of man. He follows the outline of Charles Hodge. He follows the scheme of Augustus Strong. Both equally failed on this same level. It is curious that Geisler36, a whole generation removed from the neoevangelical start up that engulfed Chafer, does no less. His genius in organizing and communicating his neoevangelical theology in one volume (1680 pages) dwarfs Dr. Chafer’s effort in six volumes. (2,700+ pages!) But alas, Norman Geisler has the same failure. These Theologians considered theology a science, and expected if they could “lasso” everything that was ever believed about God, and here the Fall, they would be able to draw the noose tight enough to end up with all the truth and nothing but the truth. Unfortunately this method, effective for science, is wholly inadequate for theology, wherein, at the start, there is an inerrant, infallible plenary, verbally inspired Holy Bible which is the sole source for the gospel truth.
Dr. Chafer has “lassoed” a great many sources to frame up his “theory” about the fall of man; unfortunately his noble effort is not really Biblical in nature or in analysis.
Critique of Dr. Chafer’s Hamartiology Chapters XVII – XXIV (224 – 373)
Shall one suppose that a fundamentalist reading the doctrine of sin (Hamartiology) as written by a neoevangelical will learn because the “neo” is camped much closer to the edge? I trow not. Again two major camps came out of the turn of the last century; the fundamentalist is very much personified in C. I. Scofield, and the neoevangelical is very much personified in Lewis Sperry Chafer.
The fundamentalist wanted to bar the gate and close the door on the apostasy found in the modernist, liberal leaning Church. The neoevangelical thought that a reasonable inclusiveness could sway those modernist leanings and reform the apostate beliefs.
A solid understanding of where Dr. Chafer is coming from, and a firm conviction that his methodology for theology development is fatally flawed, should not lessen that his approach to Hamartiology is novel.
His outline is: Hamartiology by Chafer (149 pages)37
Introduction to Hamartiology ch 17 pg 224 (7%)
Personal Sin and Its Remedy ch 18 pg 235 (32%)
The Transmitted Sin Nature And Its Remedy ch 19 pg 283 (9%)
Imputed Sin and Its Remedy ch 20 pg 296 (13%)
Man’s Estate “Under Sin” and His Relation to Satan ch 21 pg 316 (6%)
The Christians Sin and Its Remedy ch 22 pg 325 (23%)
Punishment ch 23 pg 360 (3%)
The Final Triumph Over All Sin ch 24 pg 365-373 (5%)
Such a unique approach to Hamartiology might be expected from one who, early in his life, wrote an eloquent thesis on Satan and his dominion38 Dr. Chafer saw a failure of previous systematic theologies to properly capture the whole realm of the doctrine of sin , just as they failed to capture dispensationalism. He has thus far failed to remedy the latter shortfall, but herein attempts the remedy of the former.
Unfortunately Dr. Chafer still uses a flawed inclusive, hypothesis based methodology, and a verbose passive communication mannerism. His flawed method is so animated and his verbose manner so annoying, (for one who enjoys getting to the main point, highly annoying) that Chafer’s novel outline shall be extracted and then beefed up with a good Bible Doctrines Book; Chafer’s work being more of a verbose philosophy book. Both Cambron and Bancroft will be used to expand Chafer’s outline for Hamartiology and a reasonable draft Hamartiology section for a Biblical Systematic Theology is found in the appendix of this report.
The scientific method is so much a wrong method for developing a theology, and Chafer so brazenly uses it in this section, that some of its malefactors should be herein pointed out. Chafer begins his analysis of personal sin by first collecting multiple opinions of Philosophers and by-gone Christian Theologians. He specifically quotes Mani, a third century philosopher, before he quotes Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, first century purveyors of absolute truth. Chafer spends pages developing this philosophical understanding of dualism, extensively quoting Dr. Miller who discusses the “inner variance of evil.”39 Really? Dr. Chafer then, wishing to capture “another truth which must not be overlooked,” extensively quotes “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.” After fourteen pages of development, he finally does bring a few Scriptures to bear on his subject. Now after gathering together a whole room full of witnesses about the sinfulness of sin, one witness, the Holy Bible, being left to stand in a back corner, as it were, now, Chafer draws the cord to secure the hypothesis. In Section III, pg 252, he presents his “proof” in Section IV, pg 254, he talks of advancing it to a theory and in Section V, pg 267, he gives general terms and classifies his hypothesis as law, i.e. the truth. Chafer is using the scientific method to develop truth. It is blatant. It is brazen. It is error. Theology is not a science. One cannot develop theological truth like Kepler developed the laws of planetary motion. There is an inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired sole source of theological truth. I needs to be the final authority, Chafer uses it as a last resort authority. The scientific method does not produce theology.
It is curious that theologians who want to use profound philosophies as source of wisdom, never use God’s chosen philosophers. They will reference Socrates (469-399 B.C.), Plato (428-348 B.C.), Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), even Mani40 (216-274 A.D.), but God included tow exceptional philosophy books in his 66 book communication, Job and Ecclesiastes. Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom by purely intellectual means. This emphasis on logical reasoning rather than the empirical reasoning, done in science, is not more capable of deducing theological truth than is science. Both negate the inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired Word of God as the sole source of theological truth. Indeed it is the exclusion of phenomenological observation (science) and rationalism (philosophy) which drives the theological student to require his sole source in the first place. Although philosophy will not achieve a theology, ones theology should not be void of logical reasoning. God’s philosopher Job, spends forty two chapters philosophizing about man being justified before a Holy God. God’s philosopher, Solomon, spends twelve chapters philosophizing about the vanity of man. Both are clearly philosophy books. Both are frustrated in finding truth, until God steps in; in Job with staunch rebuke, in Ecclesiastes with a plan for life. Such is the sole value of philosophy in developing theology. Man is totally reliant on God to lead us into truth. Jesus said it thus: “I am the truth, no man cometh to the Fathers but by me.”
Chafer, using a scientific method and a verbose, passive communication mannerism is not a good source for documented Hamartiology. If one is satisfied with a neoevangelical perspective Geisler’s one volume is far superior to Chafer’s six volumes. If one desire just the facts Cameron and Bancroft provide excellent coverage of the doctrine of Hamartiology. A systematic theology which does not rely on philosophy or science to secure a theology of Hamartiology is not presently available.
Appendix Prolegomena Draft
Part 01 Prolegomena
“I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith…. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow…. I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (Eccl 1:12,17-18, 3:10-11)
The Systematic Theology for the 21st century needs a Prolegomena. Prolegomena is a preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity. Prolegomena comes from the Greek, “Prolegein” – meaning to say before hand41. Such an introduction essay to a systematic theology, is necessary here to set some pre-conditions, to scope out the formidable task, and, in this instance especially, to redefine the system in systematic and differentiate this effort from the many other works of this nature.
Theology is the compounding of two words, “theos” for God, and “ology” for a verbose, exhaustively researched, consideration of, a meditation on, a discussion about, and a communication of, its topic. Theology is thus an exhaustively covered presentation of everything that could be known about God and everything that God has done. Knowing everything under the sun is a pretty daunting task.
The travail given to man by God is to seek and search out all things that are done under heaven. (Eccl. 1:13, 3:10). All rational minds are to be exercised in this travail. By God’s grace and his wisdom this impossible travail turns into joy, when our relationship with him is made right. A systematic theology is a supreme culmination of that joy. The systematic gathering, categorizing, and analyzing of everything that God has revealed to man could indeed be a great travail. It is a task that can naught be completed, and, because it is the finite grappling with the infinite, it can not be successful. It is, however, the sore travail given to the sons of men, and one dare not slack from its calling. Every effort is herein made to cause this exhaustive task to be less of a “sore travail” and more of a “no greater joy.” “I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men, to be exercised in it. He hath made everything beautiful in his time: Also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end… I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (Ecc. 3:10, 3John 1:4)
Theology is for Everyone
Every rational thinking human is developing a theology. God created humans with that inborn propensity. In its basest form theology is man’s musing about God. God implanted that in every rational mind. What think ye of God the creator? What think ye of Christ? What think ye of sin? What think ye of the fall of Lucifer? What think ye of “So great Salvation”? “Hear , O Israel; the LORD our God is one LORD; and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto they children, and shalt talk of them when thou settist in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way: and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.” (Deut. 6:4-7) What think ye of God? What think ye of His Words? In a less raw form, theology must be more than mussing about God, it must take on a more organized pattern and a more thorough consideration of God centered things.
A Christian, being one who has individually confessed and accepted the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, for their saving, has now a quickened, corrected, and personal relationship with their God and Creator. They also have a charge from him that they carefully develop a theology. A theology, again, is a musing about, a consideration of, and even an analysis of, (ology) everything that can be known of God (Theos), and of everything that God has done in this his universe. An unregenerate mind is self centered, rebellious, Christ less, and ergo, God less. His pursuit of theology will turn to self worship, (i.e. evolution as it promotes the self made man) and/or creature worship, (worshiping the creature, i.e. stars, images, idols, animals, humans, angels, et.al.) more than Creator worship. (Rom 1:10) The quickened mind of the born again believer, however, is enlightened and guided away from a self centered theology, into a God centered, Holy Spirit directed theology. But, theology is still the travail assigned to every rational mind. Carefully organizing ones musing about God, when done carefully, with method and thoroughness, might be called systematic.
Systematic actually speaks toward the organizational method for the development of a theology. A systematic theology will be systematic in three particulars. First, it must be systematically holistic. There is to be nothing in particular left out. There is to be a stepping back and a consideration of the larger picture, as it were, and this review is to ask, “Is there anything not fully considered?” Second, for a theology to be systematic, it needs a systematic method of consideration for each of its parts. A Bible doctrine work provides due consideration of every major theme taught in the Bible. Systematic theology must exceed Bible doctrine in that it must also methodically give due consideration to what the Bible does not teach, even what God has not revealed. Man has developed some beliefs about God which are not found nor supported in the Bible. Rational philosophy and irrational religions have come to bare on what one believes about God, man, and the Bible. These sources insert deception in ones theology; deception which must be systematically routed out.
Lastly, for a theology to be systematic, it needs to pursue a systematic analytical method, rather than the scientific method which cannot fulfill such a systematic purpose. In such a truly systematic method a circle or sphere encompasses the whole system to be considered. Parts, participants, and other systems outside of this sphere of consideration, are only interconnected via inputs to, or outputs from the system under consideration. Ergo, for a systematic theology, the sphere is to contain everything one can know about God and his works. To produce a Biblical theology that sphere need only contain everything revealed to man by God in the Holy Bible: distinctly clarified that is God’s written word and NOT the vision of a 500 foot high Jesus that Oral Roberts saw, nor the Golden Tables of law that Joseph Smith allegedly received from an angel in Palmyra, N.Y. Notice in drawing a border around a system, certain things are purposely, and consciously left out. It will be seen that this last particular of a systematic theology, that of defining the system under consideration, is crucial, and recognizing the pieces which must fall outside of the system has been the downfall of previous works called systematic theology. A good theology will thus be holistic, methodical and focused on a bordered system, making a good theology a systematic theology, and a truly systematic theology a good theology.
This Systematic Theology for the 21st Century is undertaken because it is unprecedented. In this author’s fifty three years as a born again believer, (1960 – 2013), and thirty years as a theologian, there has not been found a systematic theology work that has been thoroughly Biblical, thoroughly Baptist and thoroughly systematic. A thoroughly Biblical systematic theology not only contends for an inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired Holy Bible, it discards confessions, orthodoxies, and traditions which over step that Bible as sole authority. A thoroughly Baptist Systematic Theology contends for the perpetuity of a right and righteous remnant. This remnant holds the rightly divided word of truth, understood in a historical, grammatical, literal manner, a word of truth which reveals God’s dispensational truths. It also contends that Roman Catholic doctrine has always been wrong and the tentacles of Roman Catholic error have rooted in the whole of Protestant doctrine like leaven. Baptists are not, and never have been Protestant42. A thoroughly systematic, systematic theology is holistic, methodical, and carefully bounded in a system of truth. There are other tremendous works of systematic theology and thorough coverages of Bible doctrines. This one is meant to stand alone in these three hallmarks, Biblical, Baptist, and Systematic. Careful definition of the latter will ensure the previous two hallmarks.
Theology is not a Science and has not been Systematic
A thorough analysis is systematic only because it has thoroughly analyzed a system. This truth has been so maligned by theologians, and is so crucial for a successful systematic theology, that it needs to be given a thorough clarification in a Prolegomena. Any analysis and especially one so crucial as a theology, must needs be systematic to be effective and thorough. A theology can only be systematic when there is a defined system under consideration. Failure to perceive this fact has been the downfall of previous “systematic” theologies.
Charles Hodge (1797-1878), from Princeton Theological Seminary, may be considered the Father of the Published Systematic Theologies. He was very genius, a very gifted communicator, and very Presbyterian. Such a Father of the Published Systematic Theologies made two glaring errors in his Prolegomena, and consequently in his published work. Charles Hodge considered theology a science which must follow a scientific method, just like the other sciences. Charles Hodge also loosely compassed a border around his theology, i.e. his system under consideration, which attempted to capture everything ever known, ever observed, and ever believed about God, and all His works. Consider why these are indeed untenable error for an effective and efficient systematic theology.
Theology is long considered a science, like Biology, Archeology, Astronomy and Physics, and oftentimes, by those wishing to more ennoble it, it is called the Queen of the Sciences. But theology is not a science at all, and dare not follow a scientific method. There is no science or scientific method which allows for an inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired, authoritative source as a final authority, yeah, its sole authority, Biblical theology does, indeed it must. The scientific method and any resulting science which is framed by its tenants is based on hypothesizing about observations and then extensively testing your hypothesis. This scientific method, actually formalized on Charles Hodge’s 50th birthday, involves five steps: 1) Formulation of the question about an observed phenomena, 2) Formulating a hypothesis which conjectures its answer, 3) Predicting the logical consequences of the hypothesis, 4) Testing to see if the real world behaves as predicted by the hypothesis and, finally, 5) Analyzing the results of the real world experiment in order to refine the hypothesis. Now after a hypothesis has been extensively tested and widely and generally accepted, with no evidence to dispute it, it may be generalized and summarized into a theory, and after a theory has been extensively tested and widely and generally accepted, with no evidence to dispute it, and no exceptions to be found, it may be generalized and summarized as a law. Does this seem like a sound way to determine theology? I trow not.
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, used this very method for constituting the laws of planetary motion, but what we know about God, in our theology, has absolutely nothing to do with observing, questioning, hypothesizing, theorizing and constituting laws. Charles Hodge erred when he attempted to fit the scientific method into his theology development, and that glaring error has found root in systematic theologies right up to Geisler’s 2002 extensive publication43 The error is manifest in Hodge’s first serious topic of consideration;44 Hodge makes his first argument the proof of the existence of God. The Holy Bible, which he has conjectured to be his sole source and sole authority for theology, is herein set aside; it takes one on no such adventure. It is Charles Hodge’s treatment of theology as just another of the natural sciences which causes him to employ techniques found in the scientific method. Likewise, following the Father of Published Systematic Theologies, this ‘proof of the existence of God’ is the first coverage of Augustus Strong’s 1907 Baptist work of Systematic Theology45, as does Henry Clarence Thiessen’s 1949 Baptist work of systematic theology.46 It is given coverage in Lewis Sperry Chafer’s 1948 verbose six volumes of neoevangelical work of Systematic Theology,47 and even in Geisler’s 21st century evangelical effort.48
The Holy Bible extends no effort towards the proof of God’s existence. He is the “I AM.” Further, it is revealed in inerrant, infallible language that every human born into this world knows of his eternal Godhead, and is without excuse. (Romans 1) Even further, it is revealed in that inerrant, infallible communique that His Only Begotten Son, his Anointed One, the Christ, is the light that lighteth every man. There is no scientific hypothesis about His existence, a hypothesis which is carefully brought to the fruition and proof by a scientific method, because theology is not a science. Science and its methods support mans groping for greater knowledge, theology dare not do that groping like other sciences must. Theology is a process of collaborating and organizing declared truth, not a science of exploring, on a quest for confirmed truth.
Charles Hodge, genius and communications master, opened a course of study which laid aside the inerrant, infallible sole source of theology and picked up the philosophy book. He, and all systematic theology books which followed his outline, pursue the ontological argument for the existence of God. “I think therefore I am,” as a profound statement, may find a sound home in a philosophy book, but it and its presumed author, have no place in a theology book. Likewise a teleological a posterior argument which proves the existence of God is nothing more than philosophical fodder for scholars showing how knowledge puffeth up. It has no place in a Biblical systematic theology book. Supposing a power which produces intelligence and rational thought might lack an intelligence and rational thinking is such a profound tom-foolery that it should not even be considered in a good philosophy book.49 Hodge, and those following his theological footsteps, give this teleological argument due consideration in a systematic theology book which they suppose should follow a scientific method, because they suppose that theology is just another of the sciences. Theology is not a science, and should never stoop to a scientific method to try to prove the existence of God, or to “prove” anything else that has been revealed to man by an infallible inerrant source.
Science is50 “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena” and a theologian dare not call the study of his God and Creator anything resembling such a definition. Science is “Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena,” and a theologian dare not call his supernatural God nothing more than a natural phenomena. Science is “such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study,” and a theologian dare not call his infinite God and Creator just an object nor employ “such activities” in his travail to know/understand all things under heaven. Science is “methodological activity, discipline, or study: An activity that appears to require study and method: and knowledge, especially that gained through experience,” and the theologian dare not lean on any of these secondary definitions to capture what he must capture from an inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired written revelation authored by his infinite Creator. Theology is not a science, and it cannot be captured in its entrapments.
The scientific method is “The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.”51 Their method is excellently suited for mans comprehension of all of God’s creation, (Would that it were followed by the humanists with their wild hypothesis that breeding dogs together long enough will produce a Clydesdale horse, or that copulating lizards eventually hatch out a bald eagle!) but the scientific method has no place in theology. Theology must needs be exploring, categorizing, comprehending and understanding the God who reveals himself, and in so doing it is far above the natural phenomena that mere science explores. When the theologian resorts to science and scientific method in his task, he does theology a great disservice; as has Hodge, Strong, Thiessen, Chafer and Geisler. When one has an inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired sole source of truth, which these theologians affirm, (Thiessen and Chafer only affirm that we once upon a time had it, but lost it due to incompetent copyists, Geisler affirms that we only have 90% of the text left52 but should trust what we have anyway, while modernist textual critics try to reassemble the rest) there is little need for a scientific method which strives to deduce what truth is, and no justification for categorizing theology as a science which must rely on such methods.
Consider the System in Systematic
An insurmountable disservice has been done to theology by those who have not properly enveloped the system under consideration. Systematic, in the sense of a systematic theology, must include more than a planned ordered procedure of investigation, it needs to include a definition of the system which is to be considered. Charles Hodge, the Father of the Published Systematic Theologies thought to use the methods of science to explore and reason out all that could be known about God. It has been seen that the methods of science are suited for exploring all natural phenomena of God’s creation, but are not at all suited for exploring the uncaused cause of all that phenomena. It must now be considered that Hodge’s definition of exactly what was to be explored was far to broad and inclusive. Hodge attempted to document everything that has ever been believed about God since the coming of Christ, the manifestation of God. In this broad sweeping gesture, for it never was a clear definition, Hodge must include all the philosophies of man, all the teachings of the Mother of Churches, all the humanist and atheist perspectives and discussion about how many angels might dance on the head of a pin. This failure to scope his systematic theology, to narrow down and accurately define his approach to so daunting a task, is what has given theology a daunting shudder for most Christians, and caused systematic theology to leave a bad taste in even the preachers mouth.
Conventional theologians have tried to compensate for this failure by inappropriately dividing a “Practical Theology” and a “Biblical Theology” from this more foreboding “Systematic Theology.” Such divisions are artificial and damaging. They imply that practical theology is not Biblical theology, that Biblical theology is not practical, and that neither can be systematic. Properly, yeah, even systematically considering the errors in Hodges approach can embolden a far better approach. A systems analysis approach to theology must replace the failed scientific method’s approach. Such an analytical method can restore theology to a valid position of being practical, Biblical and systematic.
Truly Systematic is Accomplished with Actual Systems
With a system analyst an overwhelmingly complex system53 is subdivided into smaller systems. The analyst draws a line, or border around each system, and explores the interacting interdependence of just this one system under his consideration. This is a powerful and versatile tool for analysis of very complex systems, and the complexity of this one, theology, is infinite, ergo there is no more suited methodology for its comprehension. Consider some finite illustrations of its success.
The automobile is a reasonably complex system and its complexity has advanced annually in recent years. The exhaust system is a tiny element of the more complex engine system, part of the drive system which is an integral part to the automobile. The exhaust system has a muffler which is an element in a sound muffling system and a catalytic converter which is part of an emissions control system. Each group of interacting, interrelated or interdependent elements forming a complex whole is a system in itself and these systems combine and interact to from a system called the automobile. The automobile is part of a larger system called the transportation system. To use an automobile you do not need to know that platinum is a catalyst for the chemical reaction which breaks down engine emissions. That may only be consoling knowledge when you have to open you wallet so wide to replace a catalytic converter, or when you want to know why it is against the law to buy a used one. The latter law being part of a crime prevention system. On a very physical level one can comprehend what a system is and how a systematic analysis is necessary for comprehension, design, and troubleshooting of an automobile. Rational beings are rational because they can take another step towards abstraction. Let us therefore do just that.
Biology is the study of all living things. Plants are living things and the study of plants is called Botany. Entomology is the study of insects. There are certain defined boundaries for when a living thing is considered a plant and when it is categorized as an insect. A mosquito is an insect with an intricately designed system for extracting blood from a mammal when plant liquids are not satisfying. A mammal is a class of warm blooded vertebrate animals characterized by a covering of hair on the skin and the production of milk to nourish its young. One need not labor the fact that although they may be called “ologies”, these are all systems with interacting inter-related or inter-dependent elements forming a complex whole. Biology is a defined bordered system which fits into an even larger system of study. Biology, the study of living things, is not really the study of all living things. It has a border or restriction which prevents the study of angels under this category. borders and restrictions are good and necessary in categorizing the studies of our interacting systems with that much understanding in place one can approach theology with a system analysis methodology and redefine the whole realm of Systematic Theology. That re-definition is prudent and necessary. Charles Hodge, opened an overwhelming flood gate when he included in his systematic theology, input from Orpheus and Homer because they were called Greek Theologians54, and when he referenced the genius of Aristotle just because he classed the sciences as physics, mathematics and theology and wrote about nature, number and that which concerns God.55
It is necessary that Biblical theology consider the Holy Bible as its sole authority and sole source for truth. Draw a circle around Aristotle and other genius’ and call it Philosophical theology, encircle Saint Augustine and his Roman Catholic Church and call it Roman Catholic theology, encircle John Calvin and the Westminster confession and call it Presbyterian Theology, encircle Charles Darwin and the humanist manifesto and call it humanist theology. et.al., all separate systems with borders interconnections and interactions.
Each of these circles must be considered systems in themselves. They are purposely separated from each other like the insect is separated from the plant and the mammal. They may each undergo their own systematic analysis, and they each have various interacting, interrelated and interdependent elements. Carefully defining these separate systems is essential for understanding the effect they might have on a truly Biblical Systematic Theology. Charles Hodge as a Father of Published Systematic Theologies set a precedence for considering theology as a science, and for incorporating all that was ever believed about God. His use of Philosophy, introduced the immaterial and material dichotomy of man, instead of the Bible’s Trichotomy, his use of Saint Augustine introduced the Catholicness of the Church instead of the Bibles emphasis on the local church, his use of Roman theology introduced penance, priest, and clergy, the Westminster Confession, decrees, predestination of souls, and fatalism; indeed all who followed in his footsteps, Strong, Thiessen, Chafer, and Geisler, gave inclusiveness greater consideration than Biblical exclusiveness. When Geisler wrote his 21st century systematic theology his goal was to systematically capture all that is believed by evangelicals; Nicene Creed, neoevangelicalism, theistic- evolution and all. Such an all encompassing theme takes up every bit of 1664 pages and advances Hodges’ myth that a systematic theology must incorporate everything that reasonable minds have ever believed about God.
A systematic theology which uses the Holy Bible for its sole source and uses a system analysis approach instead of a scientific method can isolate itself from the effects of philosophy, Catholicism, Reformed theology, evangelicalism, theistic evolutionist, et.al. Such a task is accomplished by using great care in how the systems are bounded. Where in time past it was considered that all these systems overlapped, certainly reformed theology and Roman theology both had some Bible theology, and perhaps Reformer had more than Rome, it was not deemed essential to make each a wholly separated system. All interactions and interrelationships between these systems need to be interfaced as inputs or outputs and system borders need to be kept secure. This isolation of separate systems is an essential key for this type of systematic analysis. In times past a huge system of Christian belief was captured by encircling a myriad of overlapping belief systems and truth was supposedly captured by testing various hypothesis by a scientific method. Such a process was flawed and is failed. It was ever testing and hypothesizing and never coming to the truth. Using a system analysis methodology isolates each system of belief behind clear borders, allows only guarded and understood interrelations, and allows our focus on any of the individual systems. The system which shall capture that focus will be called Biblical Theology.
A system called Biblical Theology, with a function of generating its very name, is isolated from all other systems of theology and contains, enveloped in a sphere, as it were, the 66 books56 written by forty Hebrew authors over a period of 159257 years, and called the Holy Bible, the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Scripture, the Word of God and the Words of God. Consider, for a moment, what else should be in this system. Eliminating the obvious, the teachings of Aristotle, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Westminster Confession of Faith will not be herein found. One need not slander any of these, but one needs to isolate them from our Biblical Theology. These may be isolated into their own separated systems, systems with controlled, supervised interfaces.
Should an infinite God be enclosed in this system called Biblical Theology? The system is indeed finite and cannot contain the infinite. But consider the desire to capture all of God that the finite mind can possibly grasp, and consider that that whole realm of possibility is already in this system, it is all captured in the Holy Bible. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29)
Should the influence of the Holy Spirit of God be in our system called Biblical Theology? No. Consider carefully this answer. In a system analysis methodology elements recognized in the system must be isolated as a separate operating system, i.e. a subsystem, which performs a function pertinent to the larger system.
Consider, for example, the automobile exhaust system. It performs three functions, it conducts exhaust gas to the rear, it muffles the sound of the engine exhaust, and it cleans up some exhausted emissions. Certainly the piping system in charge of conducting gas does some muffling. Certainly the catalytic converter muffles some as well, but each subsystem in this system has a separate function to perform and gets isolated into its own system. Their interrelationship and interactions are marked by defined and controlled interfaces. There are indeed three separate functions in the exhaust system.
In our system called Biblical Theology, there is only one function, organizing revealed truth. If the Holy Spirit or more specifically the influence of the Holy Spirit is considered an element in this system he must be recognized as a separate subsystem which comes to bear on that revealed truth. In doing so one must consider that, allegedly, the Holy Spirit revealed a 500 foot image of Jesus to Oral Roberts. It is thus obvious that the Holy Spirit shall not be considered as a separate system operating within the system of Biblical Theology. Any work and influence that the Holy Spirit of God does must be done within the 66 books of the Words of God. And thus saith the Scripture: “ Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:31) For the revelation of truth which belongs in a Biblical Theology, the Holy Spirit of God must not be a separate operating agency. He shall only work in the confines of the revealed Word of God.
Should the rational mind of man be an element, i.e. a subsystem, inside of our system called Biblical Theology? If one carefully followed the reasoning just developed about the Holy Spirit the easy answer is, No. And thus saith the Scripture: “ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Tim 2:15) For the revelation of truth which belongs in a Biblical Theology, the rational mind of man must not be a separate operating agency, it shall only work in the confines of the revealed Word of God.
It is curious that theologians who want to use profound philosophies as source of wisdom, never use God’s chosen philosophers. They will reference Socrates (469-399 B.C.), Plato (428-348 B.C.), Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), even Mani58 (216-274 A.D.), but God included tow exceptional philosophy books in his 66 book communication, Job and Ecclesiastes. Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom by purely intellectual means. This emphasis on logical reasoning rather than the empirical reasoning, done in science, is not more capable of deducing theological truth than is science. Both negate the inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired Word of God as the sole source of theological truth. Indeed it is the exclusion of phenomenological observation (science) and rationalism (philosophy) which drives the theological student to require his sole source in the first place. Although philosophy will not achieve a theology, ones theology should not be void of logical reasoning. God’s philosopher Job, spends forty two chapters philosophizing about man being justified before a Holy God. God’s philosopher, Solomon, spends twelve chapters philosophizing about the vanity of man. Both are clearly philosophy books. Both are frustrated in finding truth, until God steps in; in Job with staunch rebuke, in Ecclesiastes with a plan for life. Such is the sole value of philosophy in developing theology. Man is totally reliant on God to lead us into truth. Jesus said it thus: “I am the truth, no man cometh to the Fathers but by me.”
It is clarified then that there is only one element operating inside of our system called Biblical Theology, and that element is the Holy Bible. The function of our system is to organize every thing that can be known about God and about all His works. The beauty of this Systematic Theology is that it is to develop a theology which has the inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbally inspired Holy Bible as its sole source. The strength of this Systematic Theology is that it purports an ability to separate itself from the influences of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the Westminster Confession, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, the Humanist Manifesto, et.al.
Two weakness of this Systematic Theology come to mind. First, as just clarified, the Holy Spirit of God and the rational mind of man must be functionally operating inside of the system, but they have been refused a position as an operating subsystem of the system. This may be more of a necessary analytical decision than a weakness, but it will require some consideration during the development of theology. A second weakness of this Systematic Theology is that it is very foreign to all previous methodologies for building what has come to be called systematic theology. This too is more of a necessary analytical decision than a weakness, but it will require a redefining of how one does theology, and that redefining will not be accepted by some traditionalists.
One final consideration about this improved systematic methodology has to do with the interacting, interrelating and inner dependency of the systems it defines, there is a necessary output and input interface defined between the systems that function within the larger system. For this consideration the larger system will be all that is believed by “Christians.” Some included systems considered for this interface illustration are, 1) this system of Biblical Theology, a system called 2) Roman Catholic Theology, a system called 3) Reformed Theology, and a system called 4) Evangelical Theology. (included just to recognize the extensive documentation effort of Norman L. Geisler) As minimal as it might be, there is an output from Biblical Theology which is input to Roman Catholic Theology. Is there an output from Roman Catholic Theology which serves as an input to Biblical Theology? I trow not! The purpose of this systematic development is to keep our Biblical Theology separate from all influences of the Roman Catholic Church. Likewise there is an output from Biblical Theology which is input to Reformed Theology, perhaps noticeably larger than the one to Rome. Is there an output from Reformed Theology which is input to Biblical Theology? Again, No. Such a connection is purposely severed. Likewise, again, Biblical Theology outputs to Evangelical Theology. Likewise its input from Biblical Theology is perceptibly larger than Reformed Theology’s similar input. But, alas, again, output from Evangelical Theology must not find its way to be input to Biblical Theology. Ergo, all output from other systems which might act as input to Biblical Theology are purposely and conscientiously severed.
Consider that there is an output from Roman Catholic Theology that serves as input to Reformed Theology, and another inputting stuff into Evangelical Theology. Consider also that Roman Catholic Theology has mutated because of input from Reformed Theology, and likewise, from the output of Evangelical Theology. It is adequate to be conscious of all this dynamic while being wholly focused on the system called Biblical Theology.
Also consider that there is a sound rule in Bible Hermeneutics (the Art of Bible Interpretation) which states that each interpretation should be compared with what man has always believed about a text. It is called the Rule of Orthodoxy. This is still a sound rule and is fitting for ones development of theology, when it is limited to being a rule of reasonableness and not a rule of absolutes. In this context of a systematic development of a Biblical Theology a Rule of Orthodoxy is not to be elevated to a position where it might supply input to our system. A Rule of Orthodoxy might, however, find some application in the rational mind which is studying to show itself approved unto God. Even in that application great care must be exercised that such “orthodoxy” not find an input avenue into Biblical Theology. It is still essential that Biblical Theology have a sole source in Holy Scripture.
The New Improved Systematic Methodology
This premise, this systematic methodology, is the basis for the development, documentation, and publication of this Systematic Theology for the 21st Century. It will unite Biblical Theology and Practical Theology with a true Systematic Theology. It is a different approach than has ere been documented for theology. It hails from the halls of the systems engineer and systems analyst. It is holistic. It is prudent that it be the premise for every theology.
The Holy Bible
Bancroft, Emery H., Elemental Theology, 1932, Baptist Bible Seminary, 1945, 1960, Zondervan 1977, [In 1932 Emery H. Bancroft became the first Dean of Baptist Bible Seminary, Johnson City, NY and published his text for his course Elemental Theology. In 1968 the Seminary relocated to Clark Summit PA. In 1970 this author attended Practical Bible Training School on the Johnson City campus and studied Bancroft's text. In 1999 – 2000 this author attended Baptist Bible Seminary to take Greek (NT502 and NT503) via a 3 hour commute from Hammondsport NY to Clark Summit PA, and was reintroduced to Bancroft's exceptional work.]
Cambron, Mark G. Bible Doctrines. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1954, [Independent Baptist, Professor, Tennessee Temple Bible School, 1954].
Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology. Dallas Seminary Press, 1948.[Lewis Sperry Chafer was an American theologian. He founded and served as the first president of Dallas Theological Seminary, and was an influential founding member of modern Christian Dispensationalism. Born: February 27, 1871, Rock Creek, Died: August 22, 1952, Seattle, Education: Oberlin College, Wheaton College. For my Doctorate of Philosophy in Theological Studies through LBTS, I was tasked to analyze all six volumes of his Systematic Theology]
Satan, 1909, Free ebooks – Project Gutenberg,2004, http://www.gutenberg.org accessed 06/01/2013
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1985.
Gaussen, L. Theopneustia – The plenary Inspiration of The Holy Scriptures deduced from Internal Evidence, and the Testimonies of Nature, History and Science. David Scott’s translation, Chicago, The Bible Institute Colportage ASS’N., 1840.
Geisler, Norman L, Systematic Theology in One Volume, Bethany House, 2002, 3, 4, 5, 11 [Geisler, also a neoevangelical, sharply contrasts with Lewis Sperry Chafer in that Geisler 1) admits what he is, neoevangelical, 2) admits what he is attempting, a compilation of evangelical theologies, 3) shows superb organization and structure of thought, 4) contains depth, and 5) is a masterful communicator. This author cannot endorse all that Geisler believes to be true, but can endorse that he seems to capture all that has been believed by conservative evangelicals.]
Hodge, Charles.Systematic Theology: Volume I-IV. Charles Scribner & Company, 1871, Hardback- Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1940, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, http://www.ccel.org, public domain. [The Internet Archive www.archive.org/details/systematictheolo01hodg], [Charles Hodge, 1797-1878, Presbyterian Minister, Princeton Theologian].
Larkin, Clarence. The Spirit World, Published by the Clarence Larkin Estate, 1921, Cosimo, 2005
Miley, John. Systematic Theology Vol. 1 & 2. The Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/details/systematictheolo01mile, [John Miley (1813-1895, Methodist Theologian].
Ryrie, Charles C.. Basic Theology. Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1981.
Schofield, C. I.. Prophecy Made Plain. Photolithoprinted by Grand Rapids Book Manufacturers, Grand Rapids, MI, 1967.
Shedd, William G. T.. Dogmatic Theology. Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology in Union Theological Seminary, New York, Charles Scribner & Sons, 1888. [The Internet Archive www.archive.org/details/dogmatictheology01sheduoft], [William G.T. Shedd, 1820-1894, Old School Presbyterian & Reformed Theologian].
Strong, Augustus H.. Systematic Theology:Three Volumes in 1. Philadelphia, Valley Forge PA, The Judson Press, 1907, 35th printing 1993. [Augustus H. Strong, 1836-1921, American Baptist Pastor & Theologian].
Thiessen, Henry Clarence. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich., William B. Eerdman Publishing Company, 1949. [Henry Clarence Thiessen, ? -1947, President of Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary, later renamed John MacArthur's The Master's College].
Lectures in Systematic Theology. Revised by Vernon D. Doerksen, Grand Rapids, Mich., William B. Eerdman Publishing Company, 2006.
Waite, D.A.. Defending the King James Bible. The Bible For Today Press, 2002.