Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Systemic Theology

The faithmaps community has been discussing what more transpropositionally oriented term would be best selected to replace "Systematic Theology." Last evening while reading Brian Mclaren's Generous Orthodoxy, specifically, while working through chapter 9 entitled "Why I am Mystical/Poetic" (which is by far my favorite so far because it's so in tune with what we've been trying to say with the term faithmaps ), I stumbled upon Brian's suggested replacement term:

Systemic Theology

I think it's helpful because it doesn't completely trash the modern impulse to look at things from a system perspective and yet it also doesn't tout any triumphalism of the systemic approach.

Brian also quotes with approval a favorite passage of mine from Barth's Dogmatics in Outline (though Brian lists the passage as being from the foreward to Church Dogmatics. I don't own nor have I read that book, so perhaps they share the same forward? ):

My lectures at the University of Basel are on "Systematic Theology." In Basel and elsewhere the juxtaposition of this noun and this adjective is based on a tradition which is quite recent and highly problematic. Is not the term "Systematic Theology" as paradoxical as a "wooden iron" [sic]? One day this conception will disappear just as suddenly as it has come into being.

Brian also mentions coherent, contextual, conversational, and comprehensive as potential alternatives.

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