Theology: PROLEGOMENA (Preface and Introduction)

Theology at one time in our history was important in the Sciences, however this is not true in all circles today.

 

Thiessen in his systematic theology states, “Until rather recent times Theology was considered the queen of the sciences and Systematic Theology the crown of the queen. But today the generality of so-called theological scholarship denies that it is a science and certainly the idea that it is the queen of the sciences.” (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 23)

 

When they speak of the Sciences, what do they mean? Math, biology, chemistry, electronics, logic etc. are considered Sciences. What are the Arts? Psychology, language, history, art, philosophy, etc. are the Arts.

 

What are the Sciences based on? The Sciences are based on discoverable fact, known fact, systematic research, principles of fact finding, etc. Upon what are the Arts based? The Arts are based on thought, creativity of the mind and hand, philosophy, etc.

 

The study of Sciences in college leads to a Bachelor of Science degree, while the study of the Arts leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Since most Bible Colleges give B.A. degrees, they must feel that the study of the Bible and theology is in the area of thought and philosophy, or the Arts.

 

In the thinking of the world this classification is correct. However if we feel that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and correct in all that it says, then we would determine our study from the facts and not thought. This would technically place us within the idea of the Sciences. Indeed, I have run across a Bible college or two that offer the B.S. degree rather than the B.A.

 

James Orr in 1909 stated,

 

“Every one must be aware there is at the present time a great prejudice against doctrine – or, as it is often called ‘Dogma’ – in religion; a great distrust and dislike of clear and systematic thinking about divine things. Men prefer one cannot help seeing, to live in a region of haze and indefiniteness in regard to these matters. They want their thinking to be fluid and indefinite – something that can be changed with the times, and with the new lights which they think are being constantly brought to bear upon it, continually taking on new forms, and leaving the old behind.” (Orr, James; “Sidelights On Christian Doctrine”; London: p 3)

This Was Spoken Almost 80 Years Ago. How Much More True It Is Today. Does this sound like the electronic church of today — don’t bug me with the facts — I want experience? One Charismatic mentioned that fundamentalists should box their brains up and shoot them into outer space — they let their minds control them. Let yourself go. Now, is he not in essence saying you have to be mindless to be like he is? Sounds somewhat like rationalism which we will see later.

 

In the past all sciences allowed for God within their ideas, however today very few sciences allow for God of any kind and have replaced Him with man. Does that remind you of any passages in Scripture? Romans 1:21-23, “Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”

 

Americans have turned to humanism for their religion. How long before they turn to animals, beasts, and creeping things?

 

What does the word “Prolegomena” mean? “Prolegomena” comes from two Greek words. “pro” meaning before & “legein” which means to speak

— “to say before” says, Webster. (4302 in Strong’s is the base word “prolego”. 2 Corinthians 13:2; Galatians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 3:4. These are the only usages in the New Testament.)

 

Ryrie states of the prolegomena, “It furnishes the author with the opportunity to let his readers know something of the general plan he has in mind, both its extent and limitations, as well as some of the presuppositions of his thinking and the procedures he plans to use.”

 

 

(Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 13)

 

Prolegomena is a twenty-five dollar word for preface or introduction that allows you to impress people.

 

As we move along we need to understand some words.[1]

 


[1] by Stanley L. Derickson. DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

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