The Exegetical Systematician: Read Calvin’s Institutes

The Institutio is not only the masterpiece of Christian theology; it is a devotional classic. It is theologu, therefore, shot through with the warmth of ardent devotion. —John Murray, Calvin as Theologian and Expositor

The Dogmatician: How Unbiblical Terms Help You Be Scriptural

Furthermore, reflection on the truth of Scripture and the theological activity related to it is in no way possible without the use of extrabiblical terminology. Not only are such extrabiblical terms and expressions used in the doctrine of the Trinity but also in connection with every other dogma and throughout the entire discipline of theology. Involved in the use of these terms, therefore, is the Christian’s right of independent reflection and theology’s right to exist. Finally, the use of these terms is not designed to make possible the introduction of new—extrabiblical or anti biblical dogmas, but, on the contrary, to defend the truth of Scripture against all heresy. Their function is much more negative than positive. They mark the boundary lines within which Christian thought must proceed in order to preserve the truth of revelation. Under the guise of being scriptural, biblical theology has always strayed farther away from Scripture, while ecclesiastical orthodoxy, with its extrabiblical terminology, has been consistently vindicated as scriptural. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics

The Dogmatician: Dogmatics vs. Ethics

Dogmatics describes the deeds of God done for, to, and in human beings; ethics describes what renewed human beings now do on the basis of and in the strength of those divine deeds. In dogmatics human beings are passive; they receive and believe; in ethics they are themselves active agents. In dogmatics, the articles of the faith are treated; in ethics, the precepts of the decalogue. In the former, that which concerns faith is dealt with; in the latter, that which concerns love, obedience, and good works. Dogmatics sets forth what God is and does for human beings and causes them to know God as their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; ethics sets forth what human beings are and do for God now; how, with everything they are and have, with intellect and will and all their strength, they devote themselves to God out of gratitude and love. Dogmatics is the system of the knowledge of God; ethics is that of the service of God. The two disciplines, far from facing each other as two independent entities, together form a single system; they are related members of a single organism. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics

The Pugilist: How to do Systematic Theology

The systematic theologian is pre-eminently a preacher of the gospel; and the end of his work is obviously not merely the logical arrangement of the truths which come under his hand, but the moving of men, through their power to love God with all their heart and their neighbors as themselves; to choose their portion with the Savior of their souls; to find and hold him precious; and to recognize and yield to the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit whom he has sent. With such truth as this he will not dare to deal in a cold and merely scientific spirit, but will justly and necessarily permit its preciousness and its practical destination to determine the spirit in which he handles it, and to awaken the reverential love with which alone he should investigate its reciprocal relations. For this he needs to be suffused at all times with a sense of the unspeakable worth of the revelation which lies before him as the source of his material, and with the personal bearings of its separate truths on his own heart and life; he needs to have had and to be having a full, rich, and deep religious experience of the great doctrines with which he deals; he needs to be living close to his God, to be resting always on the bosom of his Redeemer, to be filled at all times with the manifest influences of the Holy Spirit. The student of systematic theology needs a very sensitive religious nature, a most thoroughly consecrated heart, and an outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon him, such as will fill him with that spiritual discernment, without which all native intellect is in vain. He needs to be not merely a student, not merely a thinker not merely a systematizer not merely a teacher – he needs to be like the beloved disciple himself in the highest, truest, and holiest sense, a divine. – B.B. Warfield, Studies in Theology