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Introduction to Systematic Theology. OLD CATHOLIC THEOLOGY. Not Identical with Roman Catholic Theology Modern RC Theology is based on the Council of Trent and Vatican Councils I and II Old Catholic Theology occurs prior to division between the western church and the eastern church in A.D. 1054

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old catholic theology
  • Not Identical with Roman Catholic Theology
    • Modern RC Theology is based on the Council of Trent and Vatican Councils I and II
    • Old Catholic Theology occurs prior to division between the western church and the eastern church in A.D. 1054
  • Patristic Theology, is the theology of the fathers, the first 4, 5 centuries 

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology3
  • A period of expansion in which there was little time for serious reflective work
  • Scripture received with a naïve faith; practice was valued above theory
  • Attempts to redefine or absorb Christianity by other systems, e.g., Gnosticism
  • Reflective, scientific theology began with the Apologists, A.D. 120-220
    • Aristedes, Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Tertullian
    • Often, they defended Christianity by using pagan philosophical terms
    • Such “synthesis thinking,” using pagan concepts or terms to defend Christianity, robbed Christianity of its absoluteness

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology4
  • TERTULLIAN warned against the union of Athens and Jerusalem
    • Nevertheless he introduced terms: Trinitas, Substantia, and Persona into Trinitarian debate
  • The use of pagan terms is acceptable when filled with Christian meaning; e.g., John 1:1: kai ‘o logoj sarx egeneto
  • Summary of first three centuries: Theology was a by-product of apologetic activity.

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology5
  • In the Fourth century, there was the rise of internal conflict
    • Theology developed in a polemical context
    • Controversial theology developed over Trinitarian/ Christological issues
  • Controversy was primarily within the geographical bounds of the eastern church
  • The first four councils of the Church occurred in the East (Asia Minor, or modern day Turkey)

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology6

Four Ecumenical Councils

ChalcedonA.D. 451

ConstantinopleA.D. 381


A.D. 325


A.D. 431

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology7

Concern with being/Trinity

Concern with relation of Man to God

Interested in nature of Sin

defined in terms of God Holy and Just

participation in corruption /salvation is participation in deity)

Ontology- Being/Non-being


Roots in Scripture: JOHN focused on the Person of Christ, the Ontology of Redemption


Concern over Person of Christ

Man guilty before God

Emphasis on Legal (forensic)

Law and Grace


Roots in Scripture: PAUL focused on the Economy of Redemption, Justification, Union with Christ


Certain trends developed within the two geographical divisions

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology8

Old Catholic Church

Eastern Orthodox

Roman Catholic




Heavily Forensic

Mystical Purged

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology9
  • Origen
    • Wrote De Principiis,
      • On First Principles
      • Regarded by some as the first Systematic Theology text
  • John of Damascus
    • Finalized the Eastern doctrine of Trinity
    • The most influential of the Greek theologians

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology10
  • Augustine
    • Enchiridion ad Laurentium, Handbook for Lawrence
      • Based on a 3-fold division of faith, hope, love [doctrine, Lord’s Prayer, ethics]
      • Division often reflected in many Protestant catechisms
    • Influenced early in life by Manichaeism and Neo-Platonism
    • Developed theology of original sin- against Pelagianism
    • Developed theology of church/sacrament- against Donatus
    • Known for his work in Trinitarian theology and his development of double predestination.

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

old catholic theology11
  • Methodological Considerations
    • Little awareness of covenant
    • First principles inconsistently applied
      • Priority of Scripture for some
      • Priority of pagan philosophical concepts for others
    • Cultural influences determined trajectory of developing theologies (Eastern/Western)
    • Trinitarian/Christological controversies led to significant creedal development

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology
  • The Period, A.D. 1050-1517
    • This chronology is based on Gordon Clark, Thales to Dewey, 249
    • See also the chronology in William Cunningham, Historical Theology, 1, 414
  • Three smaller periods
    • Early Scholasticism, A.D. 1050-1200
      • Lanfranc- Albertus Magnus
    • High Scholasticism, A.D. 1200-1340
      • Albertus Magnus, Aquinas, Bonaventura, Duns Scotus
    • Late Scholasticism, A.D. 1340-1517

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology13
  • Libri Quatuor Sententiarum
    • Peter Lombard, Four Books of Sentences written, 1150-1160
  • Sic et Non
    • Peter Abelard, Yes and No, lived 1097-1142
  • Corpus Juris Canonici
    • Gratian, Body of Canon Law, ca .1150

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology14
  • Anselm, A.D. 1033-1109
    • Methodology summarized in slogan, Credo Ut Intelligam, “I believe in order that I may understand”
    • For Anselm, Faith is prior to Reason
  • Reacted against the mystical tendencies of medieval theology
  • Cur Deus Homo, (Why the God Man?)
    • Introduced satisfaction theory of atonement based on God’s majesty being offended
  • Proslogion and Monologion,
    • Developed Ontological argument for existence of God

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology15
  • Abelard, A.D. 1079-1142
    • Wrote Sic et Non (“Yes and No”)
    • Was enthusiastic about dialectical thinking (this is the style of Sic et Non)
  • Used dialectics to attempt to explain the mysteries of the faith and contradictions found in the church fathers.
  • Methodology is summarized in the slogan, “I believe that which I may understand.”

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology16
  • Peter Lombard, A.D. 1095-1159
    • Lombard was a pupil of Abelard
    • His Sentences became the most useful and popular text on theology in the middle ages
      • Taught 7 sacraments
      • Based on Sic et Non
      • Was dialectical in style
      • God, Angels and Men, Christ, Church and Sacraments
  • Much of medieval theology a mere commentary on the Sentences

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology17
  • Thomas Aquinas, A.D. 1225-1274
    • Wrote Summa Theologiae, (“Compendium or Totality of Theology”)
    • Most important theology text to come from the Scholastic period.
  • He employed a Nature/Grace scheme
    • Grace complements and completes Nature
    • Synthesized Aristotle and Scripture
      • Begin with Reason
      • Revelation complements and completes Reason

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology18
  • For Aquinas, the value of natural theology
    • Its provision of a foundation of truth accessible to all
    • Other truths about God (i.e., his Tri-unity) are not available through natural theology
    • These must be accepted on the authority of the Church
  • The Summa consists of three parts
    • God as he is in himself
    • God as man’s end (and the way back to God)
    • Christ as man’s way to God

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology19
  • Trends in Scholasticism
    • see Tillich, History of Christian Thought, 140
  • Dialectics (Yes and No; Nature and Grace; Reason and Revelation)
  • Augustinianism and Aristotelianism
    • For Augustinians- priority of faith
    • For Aristotelians- priority of reason
  • Thomism and Scotism
    • Thomists: intellect, preeminent characteristic of God
    • Scotists: will, preeminent characteristic of God
  • Nominalism and Realism

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology defects
  • Methodologically: No clear authority governing how one does theology
    • No principium theologiae, “first principle,”
      • How does that differ from today!?
    • The Word of God was greatly neglected
      • Many could not read the biblical languages and worked only with the Latin Vulgate
    • Instead, there were several substitutes for the authority of the Word
      • Tradition
      • Philosophy
      • Mysticism

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology defects21
  • The results of Scholasticism may be described as ambiguous
    • Much discussion about useless/unprofitable questions
    • Much mental activity and the development of elaborate systems with endless distinctions and differences
    • Failure to distinguish between what was legitimate investigation and what was not
    • Little awareness of significance of covenant
    • Priority of Reason over Revelation

Intro to Systematic Theology 4

scholastic theology benefits
  • Scholasticism is the “immediate antecedent of the Reformation”
    • William Cunningham, HT, 1:418
    • Provides the background for Reformation, especially late medieval nominalism
    • See H. Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology
  • Scholasticism provided much useful theological vocabulary
    • E.g., the term satisfactio, in relation to the atonement of Christ

Intro to Systematic Theology 4