Monday, March 3, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter A20, "Theology and Method"

Chapter A20, “Theology and Method”

Pieper now turns his attention to the way theologians arrange the concepts they will discuss. There are two basic methods of arrangement, “synthetic” and “analytic.” In a synthetic arrangement the theologian moves from whole to parts, beginning with the doctrine of God then moving to men, salvation, etc.  In the analytic arrangement the theologian moves from parts to whole, beginning normally with last things, eternal life, then moving to man, salvation, and the causes of salvation. Both arrangements have been used well by a variety of theologians. Both work well, as they are predicated on adherence to Scripture as the authority. Pieper contrasts this to the modern theologies which assert that adherence to Scripture leaves no place to begin or to develop theology. This did not seem to be a problem for theologians in the past. The only means of constructing a theology which Pieper sees as impossible is when it is constructed on religious experience or self-consciousness.

Pieper spends significant time in his discussion to document theologians who constructed their systems on Scripture, holding to purity. He speaks at length of C.F.W. Walther in the Missouri Synod, as well as Franz Delitzsch, multiple lay writers, and Adolf Hoeneke, who steadfastly defended an orthodoxy drawn from Scripture. Pieper also engages in a discussion of the charges of Calvinism made against the Missouri Synod. As Pieper describes it, biblical theology is poised to thrive in North America.

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