An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Systematic Theology

An approach to theology that integrates revealed truths and theological reflection into a coherent whole. For example, systematic theology may be applied to consider how salvation in Christ is made available to humanity through the church. The relationships between truths of faith and Christian doctrines are synthesized and arranged in terms of various ordering principles so that Christian faith will be intelligible to those outside the Christian community as well as to those who believe. Systematic theology may integrate philosophical, historical, scientific, economic, and humanistic studies. Although Anglicanism has not produced many comprehensive “systems” of theology, there have been notable exceptions. The Episcopal theologian William Porcher DuBose has been described as one of the few and one of the best systematic theologians in Anglicanism. DuBose's theology was rooted in the “turning points” of his life experience, and he described that relationship in his autobiographical and theological work Turning Points in My Life (1912). John Macquarrie's Principles of Christian Theology (2d ed., 1977) takes as its philosophical grounding the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger. See DuBose, William Porcher.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.