In summary, this author determined to complete a definitive, philosophical, and epistemological review of systematic theology. The first step was to pose the question, “What is systematic theology?” Several definitions from scholars were considered, and this definition of systematic theology was offered: “Systematic theology is the gathering, categorizing, delineation, and communicating of all resources necessary to determine God’s truth as found in the Scriptures.” The goal of such a study is to assist the twenty-first century Christian in answering contemporary questions concerning faith and practice.
The second step was to perform a philosophical review of systematic theology. The question posed was, “Why do systematic theology?” Grudem provided three reasons. First, it satisfies the requirement of the Great Commission to teach everything that Jesus Christ taught to his disciples. By studying systematic theology, the individual can be prepared to teach those things of Jesus Christ to the disciples of today. Second, the study of systematic theology can help one avoid incorrect theology. Third, the study of systematic theology can help the church when new doctrine arises. Finally, the study of systematic theology can assist the Christian in growing.
The third step was to conduct an epistemological review of systematic theology, and the question was posed, “Who would benefit from a study of systematic theology?” Epistemology is the study of the journey from naivete to knowledge. Many people, including the new Christian, church officer, and even a Sunday School teacher can benefit from a study of systematic theology. For one group of individuals, the study of systematic theology was determined to be indispensable: the pastor. The church and those who occupy the pews wander theologically. It is up to the pastor to lead his flock to embrace orthodoxy. The study of systematic theology also reminds the pastor of his responsibility to guard and teach the truth. Finally, a thorough knowledge of theology is necessary to the growth of the church.
The only admonition that follows the conclusion of this discussion is the one given to Timothy by the Apostle Paul, “Study to show yourself unto God, a workmen that need not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of truth” (II Timothy 3:16).