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Michael Cordich

Great quote Chris. I love it!

G

let us get those contractions correctly

"then your not believing in the true God" is n't c'rrect

Nathan W. Bingham

Philip Melancthon is spot on Chris. Thanks for posting it. :-)

Ryan

Very well said.
-Ryan from TX

Joshua

The idea of "God is Bigger Than Your Systematic Theology" lies within the idea of what happens after the beginning of knowledge. In order for us to be honest as Christians, we know that we can try all of our lives but we will still never fully understand God. We also know that God does not change, but our understanding of His truth can. We are prone to having realizations as we go through our lives that we are wrong on certain issues.

Looking at two definitions of systematic, you find where the idea of systematic theology is somewhat strange. "marked by thoroughness and regularity " We can be thorough in writing down the entirety a God who is greater than us? As Isaiah says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Even our best efforts to pin God down come up short. Just look at the religious leaders of Jesus' time. They thought they had God pinned down, but when God showed up on their doorstep, He was contrary to the systematic box they had put Him in.

The second definition: "presented or formulated as a coherent body of ideas or principles" This is true in a way, but let's look at our God. Here's a guy who was born of a virgin, made water into wine, hung out with the rejects, fed 5,000 people with a tiny bit of food, took this whole thing all the way to the point of being executed, and rose from the dead. Oh, and by the way, a little while later he floated around in the sky, told his friends about a thing called the spirit which was going to be Him living in them, and then He flew away into the clouds. Coherent and formulated?? It's as if someone told you they were abducted by aliens and told the winners of the next ten Super Bowls.

Our God defies our understanding. While we can understand Him to a point, there are always mysteries that we don't understand fully. So here's how I would turn this back to you. The emergents would say "God is bigger than your systematic theology" I would ask you: Is your understanding as great as God's? Is God able to be fully comprehended?

John


A God that does not need a systematic Theology is a god that is too small and to insignificant to consider.

A God that needs a systematic theology is a God that has so much to see and to reveal about Himself, books by the millions can be written, testimonies from mulititudes are not sufficient, all that is said is only a handful of pebbles on a desert of sand. God is great and greatly to be praised. The true God is not in danger of being "figured out", but is not intimidated by his creation beginning to think deeply about Him, to look deeply at what He has said and to take seriously all God reveals about Himself.

Systematics dont "figure out God", Systematics are a devoted mans way of putting together the glorious truths about God so that he may indeed bow before it and exclaim "God is great".

John

Aaron

Of course God is BIG! That's a no-brainer. Noone is claiming to fully comprehend the greatness of God. However, we need short and succinct ways to communicate God's attributes. So the church has her creeds to help us understand and even proclaim this greatness. You can tell people that you believe what the Bible says, but it's a big book and they probably aren't going to read it cover-to-cover. When we confess one of the three ecumenical creeds publicly, we give people a clear statement of who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. They also cover the life of Christ in a compact form.

We are coming up on Trinity Sunday (June 7), and many congregations will confess the Athenasian Creed. In it, many translations read, "The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father is incomprehensible, the Son is incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit is incomprehensible...As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one Uncreated, and one Incomprehensible." The Latin for "incomprehensible" can mean "infinite" or "unlimited."

You see, anyone can say God is bigger than [you name it], but it takes systematic theology to give us a fuller, more complete understanding of the incomprehensible, infinite, unlimited God. It is in systematics that we are connected with the teachings of the universal church from ancient times. Systematic Theology affirms the great teachings of the Church and rejects the heresies that attack her. It is a process of discerning the historic truths of Scripture from the teachings of those who would entice stray from it.

John C

Aaron,

As far as "God's attributes" we are those. It is His resurrected life living through us (Gal 2:20) manifesting His presence and very nature by which the world is to "see" Him...in us.

Look at John 17, that is the model for how we are to relate to Father and the world, we must come up higher, possess all that Christ died to give us (namely Himself in us) so that His love and righteousness is made known. Its His spirit within that is the key.

Christ IN you is the mystery of the ages. Col 1:27.

Higher, higher always higher. Blessings

Aaron

Hey, John, sorry for the late reply. You have given me something to think about! I leave you with this: There is just no way a Christian can ever come up high enough. And how do we come up to any height at all? That is the direct work of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. In justification and sanctification, this is all the work of the Holy Spirit. No matter how hard I try, I am never, ever high enough. So I continually return to the altar of the Lord, confessing my sins, receiving absolution, and partaking in our Lord's body and blood, given and shed for the remission of sins.

Blessings in Christ,

Aaron

Anonymous

People these days quote that phrase to justify behaviors, activities, and beliefs that are not found in scripture.

God has taken it upon himself to reveal himself coompletely in his word.

So while God might indeed be bigger than our theology it is not for us to understand in what ways he is. God says here is my word, and through this you will know and understand me. He also warns not go add to it or take away from it. It is not left up to us to make things up as we go along and then revert to the all familiar quote of "bigger than theology" to rebuff correction.

We hear it alot in the charistmatic movements and all of the "manifestations" that are prevelant in the movement.

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