Doxology: Saying “Amen”
“When the doctrine is understood in the context of its dramatic narrative, we find ourselves dumbfounded by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, surrendering to doxology.”(p. 22) I have heard people say they just love Jesus, and doctrine isn’t that important. But I agree with Horton, “without knowing the dramatic plot and its doctrinal significance, our doxology becomes unfocused.” (p. 23) Interesting too, that many of those people who I heard say that, went astray and today wouldn’t even say they love Jesus.
Discipleship: The Way of Christ in the World
The last of the D’s is Discipleship. “We become reshaped in Christ’s image as new characters in the drama.” (p. 23) Here Horton makes a case for discipleship including study of theology. “Unless we are relocated from the stories of this fading age to our identity in Christ and begin to understand the implications of this new script, our discipleship will be little more than moralism.” (p.24) We need the creed, we need the practice and we need to be students of theology. Horton has given a good case for why we need to study theology. I am thankful for the churches I have attended that have provided opportunities for me to do that.
Putting it All Together & Systematic Theology
Horton wraps up the Introduction by reminding of us of God’s role for us in His play and that there will be up and downs. He also explains that systematic theology works with the drama, doctrine, doxology and discipleship. It relies on carefully exegesis of Scripture, and looks to practical (sometimes called pastoral) theology but is closest to biblical theology. Systematic theology puts all this together logically. “If biblical theology is a topographical map, systematic theology is more like a street map.” (p. 29) I recently went on a 5 hour trip and the map I had from an online service had some mistakes within 30 miles of my destination. It was quite frustrating to be trying to find my way with a map that was wrong. Phone service was spotty at best as I was in the mountains so the phone GPS was not working and every call was getting cut off. Thankfully, I spotted a bus that I knew was going to the same place I was so I followed them. A good street map is crucial.
Thus, Horton finishes the introduction and I think these 20 plus pages could be put in booklet form as they are that good. They definitely made me want to continue reading the book. This book is subtitled A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way and so Pilgrim, have you gotten your copy yet? I hope this discussion of the introduction has whet your appetite for more. I find Horton, to be readable and yet profound. Next time we will start Part I: Knowing God.
Who has helped you grow in your theological thinking?
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