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I love systematic theology. I have for a long time. I plan on immersing myself in it for the rest of my life. I hope my congregation will too. I hope especially that pastors will make the study of systematic theology a lifelong pursuit. Yes, I really believe systematic theology is that important.

Objections Against

But, unfortunately, systematic theology often gets a bad rap. It’s not unusual to find even pastors and professors dismissing dogmatics as an inferior version of the real stuff you get from exegetical or redemptive-historical theology. Of course, those are crucial too (and every good systematic theology will be built on both), but systematic theology is just as crucial, no matter the objections.

Objection 1: Systematic theology is not even possible. While it’s certainly true that we cannot know God as God knows himself, we can nevertheless know God truly. Theologians have long made the distinction between archetypal knowledge (which only God has) and ectypal knowledge (that which we can know about God through his revelation to us). God wants to be known.

Objection 2: Christianity is a life, not a doctrine. Of course, Christianity is a life, but it is a life predicated upon a doctrine. The gospel is good news. To fill up that news with content is to immediately move in the direction of systematic theology. If you want your Christianity to be about nothing but Jesus, you still have to answer the question: Who was Jesus and what about him are you all about? Positing an answer is going to require systematic theology.

Objection 3: Systematic theology is too neat and tidy. It’s sometimes suggested that systematic theology–with all its structure and logical rigor–is a modern, Enlightenment creation. What historical nonsense! Let’s not be so full of ourselves to think we are the first people to come up with organization and structure. Besides the study of dogmatics has been around since at least Origen’s Peri Archon (218 AD). If anything, the Enlightenment encouraged a less rigorous exploration of theology, favoring the ethics of personal morality over the fine tuning of theological polemics.

Objection 4: Systematic theology is not biblical enough. This would be a fair objection if systematic theology had no interest in dealing with the text of Scripture, but the best systematic textbooks have always been those that deal carefully with the big picture and the little details of Scripture. We don’t do systematic theology to avoid exegesis, but to pull our exegetical conclusions into a coherent whole.

Reasons For

If those are a few objections against, what are the positive reasons for systematic theology? Let me briefly mention six.

Reason 1: The Bible’s interest in truth demands it. Systematic theology is nothing if it not the pursuit of truth, and truth is essential to biblical Christianity. Jesus said the truth will set you free (John 8:32). The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth (John 14:17). The work of the Holy Spirit was to guide the apostles into all truth (John 16:13). Eternal life is to know the only true God (John 17:3). Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified in the truth (John 17:17). Paul warned that for those who do not obey the truth there will be wrath and fury (Rom. 2:8). We are to be transformed by understanding the truth (Rom. 12:2). People can go to hell for preaching what is not true (Gal. 1:8). People within the church should be corrected when they believe the wrong things. “[An elder] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9). People are sometimes to be kept out of your house for believing what is not true (2 John 9-10). The wicked perish because they refused to love the truth (2 Thess. 2:10). The workman of God must rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). In other words, no Christian worthy of the name should be indifferent to the pursuit of right doctrine. As Louis Berkhof put it, “They who minimize the significance of the truth, and therefore ignore and neglect it, will finally come to the discovery that they have very little Christianity left” (Systematic Theology, 29).

Reason 2: Our view of Scripture demands it. All of Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). This means that everything in the Bible matters. It also means that everything in the Bible possesses a fundamental unity, coming as it does from the same author (Matt. 19:4-6; Hebrews 3:7; 2 Peter 1:21). Systematic theology seeks to make the comprehensive unity seen and savored.

Reason 3: Realism about the human intellect demands it. One way or another, we will come to conclusions about the most important religious questions. Who was Jesus? What is the human predicament? Is there a hell? How can we be saved? How should we treat each other? What does it mean to be a good person? Why is there something rather than nothing? As soon as we set out to answer these questions we are engaging in systematic theology. The human mind can’t help but synthesize and organize.

Reason 4: The history of the church demands it. Why can’t we just let the Bible speak for itself? Because that’s not what we see in the Bible or in the early church. In Nehemiah 8:8, the leaders “read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul refers to the tradition they had received from him. God has always given his people teachers to not only read Scripture but to communicate and guard the truth of Scripture (2 Tim. 1:13-14). This is why the early church naturally wrote creeds and confessions. They did not consider it sub-biblical to explain, defend, and protect the truths that were handed down to them in the Bible.

Reason 5: The unity of the church demands it. True ecumenicity is not possible apart from robust theological fidelity. Church unity requires doctrinal agreement: “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). How can we contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) if we do not have a deep understanding of that faith?

Reason 6: The duty of the church demands it. Why waste time on systematic theology when there are people who need to hear the gospel?! Because those people need to hear the true gospel. If we are to proclaim the message, we must know what that message is. We owe it each other, we owe it to other churches, and we owe it to the world to give a clear articulation of our faith. “An open statement of the truth” is what Paul called it (2 Cor. 4:2).  “The Church of Jesus Christ,” Berkhof observed, should never seek refuge in camouflage, should not try to hide her identity” (31).Clarity requires carefulness, carefulness requires precision, and precision requires systematic theology. Get into it. Stick with it. Pass it on.


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80 thoughts on “Why Should We Study Systematic Theology?”

  1. A. Amos Love says:

    Eric F

    Again, really enjoyed your comment @ September 4, 2015 at 1:38… :-) :-) :-)

    This was really good. Never saw this before. Thanks

    His captives… as gifts…
    They are showing them how to become captives.

    WooooHoooo – Makes me want to shout…

    “Now what are the gifts that He gave to men?
    He gave **His captives** to them as gifts.
    God’s men are *His Servants.*
    His servants are gifts to men.
    And what are they doing for men?
    They are showing them how to become captives.”

    Yes – WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Kings and Priests, His Church…
    Are – His bond “Servants.”

    Showing others – They can also be – His bond “Servants.”

    Available to ALL – Available to who-so-ever will…

    IN-clusive… A low place – ”Servant”
    That all who believe can aspire to…

    EX-clusive… A High Place – “Leader”
    That is only Available to a special few…

    But, bond “Servant???” Available to ALL…

    Jesus, as man, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation…
    And took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8. KJV.

  2. A. Amos Love says:

    Grahame Smith

    Yes – Much agreement when you say @ September 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm…

    “…the new temple of the HS is now our bodies.
    Thus, as the temple is flesh and blood inhabited by God the Holy Spirit,
    thus there can only be “ONE” High Priest and Leader being Jesus Christ.”

    Yes – Jesus never taught His Disciples to follow a Mere Fallible Human.
    Jesus always said, “Follow Me.” “The “ONE” Leader”

    When I checked for myself, the only “Leader” Jesus taught His Disciples to “Follow”
    was “Himself.” Except once – where they were to follow a pitcher of water. :-)

    For your reading pleasure… ;-)
    Mt 4:19 …*Follow me,* and I will make you fishers of men.
    Mt 8:19 … I will *Follow thee* whithersoever thou goest.
    Mt 8:22 …*Follow me;* and let the dead bury their dead.
    Mt 9:9 … *Follow me.* And he arose, and *FOLLOWED him.*
    Mt 16:24 …let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and *Follow me.*
    Mt 19:21 …and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and *Follow me.*
    Mr 2:14 …Levi… *Follow me.* And he arose and *Followed him.*
    Mr 6:1 …came into his own country; and his disciples *Follow him.*
    Mr 8:34 …Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself…and *Follow me.*
    Mr 10:21 …One thing thou lackest…take up the cross, and *Follow me.*
    **Mr 14:13 …there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: Follow him.
    Luke 5:27 … Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: said unto him, *Follow me.*
    Luke 9:23 And he said to them “ALL” If any man will COME AFTER ME,
    ……let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and Follow me.
    Luke 9:57 …Lord, I will *Follow thee* whithersoever thou goest.
    Luke 9:59 And he said unto another, *Follow me*…
    Luke 9:61 …Lord, I will *Follow thee;* but let me first go bid them farewell…
    Luke 18:22 …distribute unto the poor… and come, *Follow me.*
    **Luke 22:10 …bearing a pitcher of water; *FOLLOW him* into the house…
    John 1:43 …Jesus… findeth Philip, and saith unto him, *Follow me.*
    John 10:4 …and the sheep *Follow him:* for they know his voice.
    John 10:5 And *a stranger will they not Follow,* but will flee from him…
    John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they *Follow me:*
    John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him *Follow me*…
    John 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.
    ……. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, *Follow me.*
    John 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come,
    …… what is that to thee? *Follow thou me.*

    ———-

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  3. Ross Riggan says:

    I believe this will be my last comment directly relating to this discussion on leadership. I’m afraid it is coming upon an impasse in the view of Biblical leadership. For whatever reason, if I use the word “leader” it is automatically assumed that I am arguing for an individual setting themselves above everyone else in an overbearing, power-seeking, glory-hoarding way. That is NOT what I think of when I mention Biblical leadership. I would affirm these leaders should have the hearts of servants and are charged with guiding and protecting the flock. Just because you have experiences of people abusing leadership this is NOT an effective argument against Biblical leadership. Everyone who gives from time to time has wrong motives for their giving. This does not invalidate God’s Word that we should seek to be cheerful givers. There have been circumstances where Scripturally-mandated church discipline has not been done correctly. We do not stop doing church discipline because it can be done wrongly. I repeat this argument you keep coming back to of people abusing leadership is not an effective argument against leadership. People are evil in and of themselves and many will get into leadership positions wrongfully and act wrongfully as well. This does not invalidate Biblical leadership roles of elder, deacon, and pastors and teachers. For me, your word study of the Hebrews passage is unconvincing. Whether you choose to translate that word guide, influencer, or leader, the meaning is the same and to get hung up over not using the word “leader” as a valid translation does not make sense to me. Also, just because we have no record of one of the apostles being called “leader” or an elder making sure he has the “leader” title for me is also not convincing. The Bible while complete and authoritative in every area it addresses does not directly treat each area of life we meet. The Bible says nothing directly about Internet pornography or abortion or how often we should or should not check Facebook. The Bible is complete in the sense though that it prepares us for life and Godliness so that we can take Biblical principles and inform our decisions on all these extra-Biblical situations. Over and over again you have Paul referring to himself as an apostle and others using this title as well. That word in and of itself has the idea of leader in it. The word means messenger, but you cannot deny they had a level of authority others did not. To me, that makes them leaders. Obviously when the apostles were acting rightly, their leadership was expressed as servanthood, but I doubt anyone in the early church had any confusion on who their “leaders” were. Consider this passage:

    6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
    7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. – 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7.

    Paul recognized his position, but at the same time, he knew Jesus desire that His leaders be servants and not lord it over people.

    In my view, the Bible does support men holding leadership roles that are characterized by servanthood and act primarily through influence of Godly character and authority of Scripture. These offices, positions, roles however you want to label them have been delineated in qualified ways as elders and deacons. I call those people leaders. If you feel Scripturally obligated to use another term, that is your freedom to do that. I will continue to refer to them as leaders knowing what the Bible and Jesus specifically desires their hearts to be.

  4. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    You write…
    “I believe this will be my last comment directly relating to this discussion on leadership.”

    Thanks for letting me know. I understand your angst. I was in leadership.
    It was a challenge for me to understand when someone first told me…
    “The “ONE” Leader” is {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}} It took me a couple of years.

    What about the qualifications for pastor/elder/overseer…

    You mentioned “the qualifications of elders” @ September 3, 2015 at 11:35 am…
    “Paul gives specific instructions for the qualifications
    of elders and deacons in the church in Titus and 1 Timothy.”

    You also mentioned “the qualifications of elders” @ September 3, 2015 at 5:08 pm…
    “The qualifications and job description of elders as detailed in
    Titus and 1 Timothy…”
    ———-

    And I commented about the “…specific instructions for the qualifications of elders…”
    @ September 4, 2015 at 12:14 pm… And @ September 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm…
    And only talked about three quaifications, of over 16, for pastor/elder/overseer.
    1 – For a bishop (overseer) “Must Be” *Blameless.* 2 – Just. 3 – Holy.
    ———

    And ended those comments with…

    Do ALL your pastors-elders-leaders-overseers meet ALL the Qualifications?
    If a pastor/leader/reverend does NOT meet the qualifications – Now What?
    ———-

    If an existing pastor/elder/overseer does NOT meet these qualifications?
    Shouldn’t they be honest and remove themselves?
    And be a good example to the flock?

  5. Cody says:

    Heh. A Amos Love seems to want people to do what he says. To follow him, as it were. Doesn’t that make him a would-be leader?

  6. Ross Riggan says:

    When I have made my points and someone else has made theirs and neither one is convinced of the other’s viewpoint, there is little reason to continue the conversation, merely restating earlier points.

    For the record, I am not a leader in any capacity in my church, but I still believe that Scripture teaches that Biblical leadership should exist. Further, the pastors, elders, and deacons in my church are held to the qualifications made of them in Scripture and yes I do think they uphold them, albeit imperfectly because they are imperfect people. The Holy Spirit would not have detailed those positions if He did not expect that there would be imperfect men who could fulfill them within reason. At my church, we have a process where current elders and deacons are reviewed and affirmed every so often to make sure they are still maintaining those qualifications. If anyone of them were found to be deficient beyond reasonable expectation, they would be removed.

  7. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    This is one way to reason this out when you say @ September 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm…
    “The Holy Spirit would not have detailed those positions
    if He did not expect that there would be imperfect men
    who could fulfill them within reason.”

    But, “fulfill them within reason” is NOT part of the qualifications. (*Must Be* Blameless, Just, Holy.)
    When I realized, I did NOT meet these very tough qualifications, questions for me became…
    Why did God, through Paul, write such very tough qualifications?
    Why do so many “Ignore” and “Twist” these qualifications?

    Here is another option…
    Could the lists of qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus, be — * A Test* of someone’s “Integrity?”
    God does test and prove “His People” A Lot in the scriptures. Yes? Here is just two…
    Psalm 7:9 NKJV …For the righteous God “tests the hearts and minds.”
    Psalm 26:2 NKJV Examine me, O LORD, and “prove me;” try my reins and my heart.

    Why would someone assume the role of pastor/elder/overseer… say they are a pastor/overseer…
    If they know they do NOT qualify to be a pastor/elder/overseer?”

    Could it be a lack of “Integrity?”

    What would you call someone, who called them self a pastor/elder/overseer…
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a pastor/elder/overseer?

    What would you call a medical Doctor, who said they were a Doctor..
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a medical Doctor?

    What would you call a Lawyer, who said they were a Lawyer…
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a Lawyer?

    Would you recommend a Doctor or a Lawyer to a friend?
    If you knew they did NOT qualify to be a Doctor or a Lawyer?
    Or, would you warn your friend? – They do NOT qualify?
    Would you take the time to warn the Doctor? The Lawyer?
    That you know – They do NOT qualify?

    Wouldn’t it be dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on…
    A Doctor, or a Lawyer who does NOT qualify?

    In my experience…
    It is dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on pastor/elder/overseers who do NOT qualify.

    Maybe that’s why “The Religious System” of today is in such a mess. It’s full of pastor/elder/overseers – who do NOT qualify. Pastors are burnt-out, depressed, 77% say they do NOT have a good marriage, 80% of spouses wish they would choose a different profession. 80% say pastoral ministry has had a negative effect on Thier family.

    If pastor/elder/overseers, are NOT managing “Well” their own house…
    How will he take care of the church of God? 1 Tim 3:4-5. Another qualification.

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  8. Ross Riggan says:

    Amos, you seem to have an anti-leadership agenda which is directing your interpretation of Scripture which is very dangerous. I see this in two areas from your last post.

    1 – Experience. You said:

    “In my experience…
    It is dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on pastor/elder/overseers who do NOT qualify.”

    When you allow your experience to interpret Scripture or determine the relevance or importance of a certain passage, that is dangerous. Experiences do not interpret Scripture. Scripture interprets experience.

    2. Isegesis – You said:

    “Here is another option…
    Could the lists of qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus, be — * A Test* of someone’s “Integrity?”
    God does test and prove “His People” A Lot in the scriptures. Yes?”

    Nowhere in the passages of 1 Timothy and Titus does Scripture identify the lists of qualifications as merely an integrity test. That is something you are inserting into the text: isegesis. Undoubtedly, someone who fulfills this list will be a man of integrity, but nowhere does the text in any way indicate that it is anything other than what it says: a rigorous set of qualifications for the men God wants to lead, guide, influence, set an example for (however you wish to describe their action) His church. For you to decide that this list is not meant to be used in actuality for the elders and deacons in God’s church is not only unreasonable, but it is going against the plain reading and meaning of Scripture to validate your experience. Very dangerous.

  9. Lourdes says:

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  10. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    Thanks for the warning @ September 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm…

    Was wondering…
    Why is it okay for you to add to the qualifications “fulfill them within reason” ?
    “That is something you are inserting into the text: isegesis.”
    (Ooops – Is that plagerism?) ;-)

    But, it’s NOT okay for me to ask the question…
    Could this list be, * A Test* of someone’s “Integrity?”

    Do “Your Rules” only apply to me?
    How come “Your Rules” do NOT apply to you? :-)

    “Nowhere in the passages of 1 Timothy and Titus
    does Scripture identify the lists of qualifications as” – “fulfill them within reason” ?
    (Ooops – Is that plagerism? Again?) ;-)

    Mat 23:3 NIV …But do NOT do what they do, for they do NOT practice what they preach.
    ——-

    You write…
    “but it is going against the plain reading and meaning of Scripture
    to validate your experience. Very dangerous.”

    Well, If you’re correct? Then it’s “Very dangerous” for both of us… Oy Vey!!! ;-)

    Because – “the plain reading and meaning of Scripture” in 1 Tim 3, and Titus, is…
    A pastor/elder/overseer —- 1 – *Must Be* Blameless, 2 – Just, 3 – Holy.

    Have you noticed?
    You have NO problem changing? “the plain reading and meaning of Scripture?”

    By adding to the list of Qualifications, – “fulfill them within reason” ?

  11. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    You write @ September 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm…
    “Amos, you seem to have an anti-leadership agenda
    which is directing your interpretation of Scripture which is very dangerous.”

    And, Ross, “you seem to have an” Pro-leadership agenda…

    Whether elder/overseers qualify or NOT… There has to be leaders…
    Even though these leaders can NOT meet the tough qulifications…
    Even though NO elder/overseer ever called them self leader…
    Yes – We Must Have leaders NO matter what. – Full speed ahead…

    “which is directing your interpretation of Scripture which is very dangerous.”
    (Ooops – Is that plagerism? Again? And Again?) ;-)

    And I always thought I had a Pro-Jesus agenda… “The “ONE” Leader.”

  12. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    Was wondering…
    Have you noticed? Where it seems Paul leaves Titus “a way out?”
    Where Titus does NOT have to ordain overseers, if they do NOT meet the qualifications?

    Titus 1:5-7 KJV
    5… and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
    6 If any be *blameless,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop “must be” *blameless,* as the steward of God; not self willed,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    Don’t know if you have noticed this – But…
    In Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus, …ordain elders in every city.
    BUT – In verse 6, Paul “Introduces a Condition”
    “Before” Titus ordains anyone – by saying…

    5… and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
    6 – *IF* any “be blameless.”

    This is a very LARGE, little word, *IF.* – This *IF* is found many times in scripture. Yes?

    Gen 18:26, Gen 18:28, Gen 18:30, Psalm 66:18, Psalm 130:3, Isa 1:19, Isa 1:20, Jer 18:8, Jer 18:10, Eze 33:9, Eze 33:13, John 5:31, John 8:31, John 8:54, John 12:26, etc., etc,…a

    This “IF” in “Titus sounds like “IF” someone is NOT blameless then do NOT ordain them.
    Because – In verse 7, Paul explains why he “Introduces this Conditional” *IF*

    7 – For a bishop *Must Be* “Blameless.”

    Paul seems serious about this one qualification. *Must Be* Blameless.
    Using “Blameless” Three times. Twice in Titus and once in 1 Tim 3.

    Titus 1:5… and ordain elders…
    Titus 1:6 **IF** any be blameless…
    Titus 1:7 For a bishop *must be* blameless…
    Titus 1:8 …Just, Holy…

    Must Be – Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
    Blameless – Thayers – that cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused.
    Just – Thayers – observing divine laws, innocent, faultless, wholly conformed to the will of God.
    Holy – Thayers – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, observing every moral obligation, pure holy.

    NOPE – I can NOT find in these lists of qualifcations…
    “fulfill them within reason”
    ——–

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  13. Ross Riggan says:

    The same rules do apply to me as you as well as everyone. Therefore if my saying “within reason” was adding to the text I gladly retract it. What remains still is what I have been arguing for this whole time which is that churches are to have men leading in the roles of elder and deacon that meet the qualifications listed. My belief is that someone actually can fulfill those qualifications. Your belief is apparently they can not which in my view makes no sense at all. Your mention of the “if” from Titus does not seem convincing to me and would caution you against throwing out the qualifications over one word, especially when that word does not necessarily mean that Titus is off the hook of finding men to fulfill those roles.

    I promise you that I have no “leadership” agenda. I have a “Bible” agenda ultimately because I have a “Jesus” agenda. If His Word plainly called for no leaders at all, I would be perfectly happy with no leaders. But His Word does call for two roles: elder and deacon. I’m sorry Amos, but if you have a Jesus agenda, then I would ask you to seriously take His Word for what it plainly says.

  14. Ross Riggan says:

    After reading the Titus passage, it is clear that the “if” is present as a condition on who can be an overseer, not a condition on whether to have them at all. The if does not support your point.

  15. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    “If His Word plainly called for no leaders at all, I would be perfectly happy with no leaders.”

    But, Ross, WE…

    His Sheep, His Disciples, His Servants, His sons…

    Already have a Leader… ;-)

    His Word Plainly calls for “The ONE Leader” – {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Mat 23:10 NASB – New American Standard Bible
    Do NOT be called leaders;
    for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.

    Mat 23:10 The Interlinear Bible –
    NOR be called leaders,
    for “ONE” is your leader the Christ.

    Mat 23:10 Phillips Modern English –
    you must NOT let people call you leaders,
    you have only “ONE” leader, Christ.

    Mat 23:10 Today’s English Version –
    NOR should you be called leader.
    your “ONE” and only leader is the Messiah.

    Jesus told **His Disciples** NOT to be called **leaders**
    And NONE did.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

    **His Disciples** all called themselves **Servants.**
    None called themselves “Leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “Servant-Leader.” None.

    Seems, In the Bible, His Disciples, elders, deacons, believed {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Because – In the Bible…
    NOT one of His Disciples ever called them self a Leader…
    NOT one elder/overseer ever called themself a Leader…
    NOT one deacon ever called them self a Leader…

  16. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    “If His Word plainly called for no leaders at all, I would be perfectly happy with no leaders.”

    But, Ross, WE…

    His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Called Out Ones, His Ambassadors…
    His Kings and Priests, His Servants, His Disciples, His sons…

    Already have a Leader… ;-)

    His Word Plainly calls for “sons of God” to be *LED* by {{{{{{ The Holy Spirit }}}}}}

    Rom 8:14 KJV
    For as many as are *Led* by “the Spirit of God,” they are the sons of God.

    Gal 5:18 KJV
    But if ye be *Led* of the Spirit, ye are NOT under the law.

    Yes – WE, His sons, – Already have a Leader…

  17. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    “If His Word plainly called for no leaders at all, I would be perfectly happy with no leaders.”

    But, Ross, WE… His Kids, – Already have a Leader… ;-)

    His Word Plainly shows “The Psalmist” calling out to a leader {{{{{{ The LORD Thy God }}}}}}

    Psalm 5:8 KJV
    **Lead me,** “O LORD,” in thy righteousness
    because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

    Psalm 23:1-3
    The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He (The LORD) maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
    He (The LORD) **leadeth me** beside the still waters.
    He (The LORD) restoreth my soul:
    He (The LORD) **leadeth me** in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

    Psalm 25:5 KJV
    **Lead me** in thy truth, and teach me:
    for thou art “the God” of my salvation…

    Psalm 27:11 KJV
    Teach me thy way, “O LORD,”
    and **lead me** in a plain path…

    Psalm 31:3 KJV
    For thou art my rock and my fortress;
    therefore for thy name’s sake **lead me,** and **guide me.**

    ———-

    Deut 8:2 KJV
    And thou shalt remember all the way which
    “the LORD thy God” *Led thee* these forty years in the wilderness,
    to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart…

    ————

    Yes – WE, His Kids, – Already have a Leader…

  18. Ross Riggan says:

    The Bible, Jesus Word, calls for elders and deacons. They are leaders in my opinion and in my opinion that does not violate any other passage. You have your opinion. I have mine.

  19. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    You write…
    “The Bible, Jesus Word, calls for elders and deacons.
    They are “leaders” in my opinion…”

    But, But, But… “deacon” in the Greek actually means “to be a Servant.”

    Deacon – Strongs – #1247 – diakoneo —– From Strongs – #1249 – diakonos
    Strongs – to be an attendant, wait upon, minister (unto), serve…
    Thayers – 1) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
    ——–

    From Strongs – #1249 – diakonos
    Strongs – an attendant, a waiter (at table or in other menial duties), servant.
    Thayers – 1) one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master – a servant, attendant.
    1a) the servant of a king
    1b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church,
    cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use
    1c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink
    ——-

    Luke 22:27 KJV
    For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that “serveth?” (#1247 – diakoneo)
    is not he that sitteth at meat?
    but I (Jesus) am among you as he that “serveth.” (#1247 – diakoneo)

    John 12:26 KJV
    If any man “serve me,” (#1247 – diakoneo)
    let him follow me; and where I am,
    there shall also my “servant” be: (#1249 – diakonos)
    if any man “serve me,” (#1247 – diakoneo)
    him will my Father honour.

  20. Ross Riggan says:

    Amos, the Bible, Jesus Word, calls for elders and deacons. They are leaders in my opinion and in my opinion that does not violate any other passage. You have your opinion. I have mine.

  21. You can certainly see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  22. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    You write @ September 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm…
    “The Bible, Jesus Word, calls for elders and deacons.
    They are “leaders” in my opinion…”

    But, But, But… “deacon” in the Greek actually means “to be a Servant.”

    Deacon – Strongs – #1247 – diakoneo —– From Strongs – #1249 – diakonos
    Strongs – to be an attendant, wait upon, minister (unto), serve…
    Thayers – 1) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
    ——–

    From Strongs – #1249 – diakonos
    Strongs – an attendant, a waiter (at table or in other menial duties), servant.
    Thayers – 1) one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master – a servant, attendant.
    1a) the servant of a king
    1b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church,
    cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use
    1c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink
    ——-

    Luke 22:27 KJV
    For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that “serveth?” (#1247 – diakoneo)
    is not he that sitteth at meat?
    but I (Jesus) am among you as he that “serveth.” (#1247 – diakoneo)

    John 12:26 KJV
    If any man “serve me,” (#1247 – diakoneo)
    let him follow me; and where I am,
    there shall also my “servant” be: (#1249 – diakonos)
    if any man “serve me,” (#1247 – diakoneo)
    him will my Father honour.

  23. A. Amos Love says:

    Ross

    Thank You…
    For the respectful conversation… ;-)

    Malachi 3:16
    Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
    and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
    and a book of remembrance was written before him
    for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

  24. Simon says:

    I don’t think one can necessarily identify doctrine with systematic theology. If we take the dogmatic statements of faith, such as the Nicene Creed or Apostles Creed, what we don’t find is systematic theology in the way it is presented from the Reformation on-wards. On of the objections to systematic theology the author raises is that it is modern invention. I think there is actually some truth to this. In the early Church going up right up to the early middle ages, works that we would classify as systematic theology are quite rare – even in the Western Church. The “Summa” works were really a result of scholasticism in the early middle ages and were influenced heavily by Islamic philosophers such has Averroes in Spain. You had Aquinas and not really much else. Origen’s peri archon, mentioned above, cannot be classified as a true “Summa” in the strictest use of that term. In the East, there is virtually nothing that could be classified as systematic theology.

    The more telling criticism of systematic theology that the author recognises is that Christianity is fundamentally about a life lived and our union with God. So classical Christian writings were far more interested in how we were to live and what we are to do given the fact of the Gospel. Doctrine is vitally important because it influences our beliefs about God and therefore our lives. Doctrine is not simply a set of true propositions unrelated to our life in the faith. Rather, they are instruments to help us live correctly in our walk towards salvation. What should be obvious to everyone is that the dogmatic statements of the Church are rather brief and can in no way be classified as systematic theology. Furthermore, and more tellingly, the scriptures do not contain any systematic theology. It’s even a stretch to classify Paul’s letter to the Romans as systematic theology.

    We should be careful about what we assert about God. We should know the limits of what can and cannot be asserted of Him. My opinion is that systematic theology often overreaches these limits. Rather than systematic theology, the Church sets out doctrinal imperatives, a prayer and liturgical life, and a disciplined life that point us towards salvation.

  25. Cody says:

    Honestly, I don’t what is wrong with something being a modern invention. I like lots of modern inventions. Electricity. Indoor plumbing. Air conditioning. The list goes on.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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