john_webster_sketch (1)John Webster, professor at the University of St. Andrews, has in recent years become an emergent voice in the area of systematic theology. In 2009 he wrote an excellent essay, published in the International Journal of Systematic Theology, entitled, “Principles of Systematic Theology” (IJST 11.1 [2009]: 56-71).

Here are a few choice quotes:

Systematic theology, according to Webster, “is the rational work of the children of Adam who are only slowly learning what it is to be the children of God” (71).

While necessary, our systematic categories are not exhaustive since “God’s life is infinitely abundant, [and] we are not yet fully the friends of God, [therefore] a theological system is no more than one staging-post on the mind’s ascent to paradise” (67).

So, when we do theology we should do it “repentantly, under the guidance of the prophets and apostles and the tutelage of the saints, and with prayer for the Spirit’s instruction” (66).

In short, then, “systematic concepts are simply windows through which we may glimpse the biblical landscape and its ultimate horizon in God” (70).


Note: Although the essay is available online, one must purchase it or be student of an institution with lending rights. Again, one more reason I love being a student at Southern Seminary