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Systematic Theology and Pastoral Ministry – Ligon Duncan

April 14, 2009
Dr. Duncan is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, MS. He serves on several boards and councils. He is a native of Greenville South Carolina and a graduate of Furman University, Covenant Theological Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh. He has authored books and edited several as well.

FPC Blog

These notes will be from Dr. Duncan’s talk. Stay Tuned for the audio, which will be posted when available.

Read Nick’s notes here.

Systematic Theology and Pastoral Ministry:
Why a Concern for Sound Doctrine is Essential to Biblical Church Planting
and to Faithful Ministry in the Local Church

being A Joyful Defense and Declaration of the Necessity and Practicality of Systematic Theology
for the Life and Ministry of the Church
Ligon Duncan

An Anti-doctrinal Age?

Why Dubiety of Doctrine Doesn’t Work
Misdiagnosing our culture, our problem, and the relation of Scripture and theology.

A Threefold Discussion
1. The very ideas of doctrine, theology, and systematic theology are under great duress in our own time.
2. Systematic theology is necessary, important, and, in fact, unavoidable.
3. Systematic theology (in general) and doctrine (in particular) are important for.

Aims:
(1) To alert you to an unhealthy contemporary attitude—that doctrine, theology, and systematic theology are under great suspicion in the church today. (2) To demonstrate from the Bible that systematic theology is a biblical discipline (and not an alien philosophical imposition on the Bible), and that doctrine and theology are important. (3) Then, to look at some specific biblical examples of what is doctrine important for.

I. The Concepts and Legitimacy of Doctrine, Theology, and Systematic Theology are under great duress in our own time

People vs. Truth

Deeds over Creeds

Person not Propositions

Systematic Theology is Rationalist/Modernist

Biblical Theology instead of Systematic Theology

Some Examples of these tendencies
Doing not Debating
Dangerous Doctrine
The Self-Contradictive Critique
What’s behind the Allergy?
Relativistic Tolerance or Transcendent Toleration?
A Gospel Opportunity to Engage the Culture
Summary
Emerging Problems with Systematic Theology?
Rejoinder
Systematic or Biblical Theology?
A skewed description of Systematic Theology
Conclusion: Doctrine may be held in suspicion but it is unavoidable and important

II. Scripture shows that truth, doctrine and theology are necessary and important for the Christian life, and that systematic theology is, in fact, unavoidable.

Six Passages that show the legitimacy of the categories and importance of truth, doctrine and theology

Truth is for Joy and Growth

Truth is to be lived

Errant Doctrine destroys, True doctrine leads to love

Life and Doctrine are inseparable

Good doctrine promotes godliness

Servants of the word minister so that faith and truth issue forth in the godliness of believers

Is evangelicalism neo-Erasmian?
But what about Systematic Theology?

The Locus Classicus of Biblical Theology (and ST!)

Apollos and Paul, Systematic Theologians
Further Biblical Testimony for the Practice of Systematic Theology

How are New Testament Books Organized and what does that say about ST?

What do the citation formulas of the NT teach us about ST?

Conclusion

III. What is theology, truth, doctrine important for?

Let us consider four great passages and what they teach us about the application of theology.
God’s Glory

Assurance

Marriage

Joy

And when the detractors of doctrine come. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we must . . .

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