Systematic Theology and Experiential Theology

Here are a couple of paragraphs from the “Introductory Preface” of my PhD thesis:  “The Problem of Polarization: An Approach based on the Writings of G C Berkouwer”.
“With the writings of G C Berkouwer providing its focal-point, this study may be regarded as a study in systematic theology …. attention is drawn to both the use and abuse of systematic thinking in theological reflection. This study seeks to understand the relationships between different aspects of Christian truth. Care is taken to avoid imposing a ’system’ on Christian truth, which does not permit the Gospel to be understood and proclaimed in the fulness of its Biblical perspectives” (p. xi)
” … this study could (also) be regarded as a study in experiential theology. There is, throughout this study, a concern with the relationship between Christian experience and Christian doctrine. There is a concern to speak of both ‘the Christian faith’ and ‘Christian faith’ without the definite article (note: “Berkouwer uses both expressions in “A Half Century of Theology, Movements and Motives”, pp. 186-187)”). The aim is to draw attention to both the uniqueness of the revealing and reconciling activity of God in Jesus Christ and the necessity of faith to be a ‘life response of the total person, at the depths of his being, to the summons and opportunity of the Gospel’ (This quotation is taken from L B Smedes’ article on “G C Berkouwer” in “Creative Minds in Contemporary Theology”)” (p. xiii).


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