Systematic Theology (Osborne's Model)

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Systematic Theology (Osborne's Model)

  1. 1. DOING SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGYFrom Grant Osbornes Hermeneutical Spiral By Kevin G. Smith
  2. 2. The Nine Steps1. Consciously reconstruct your preunderstanding.2. Gather all the passages which address the topic.3. Exegete each relevant passage in its context.4. Collate all the passages into a biblical theology.5. Trace the contextualisation of the topic through church history.6. Study competing models of the doctrine.7. Recontextualise the traditional model for your context.8. Revise our theological systems.9. Work out the implications for churches and Christians.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  3. 3. 1. PreunderstandingConsciously reconstruct our preunderstanding. 1. We must define where we and our tradition stand on the doctrine before we begin our study. This needs to happen at three levels: individual, church, and denomination. 2. Unless we do this consciously, our preunderstanding will dominate and skew our conclusions, for we naturally want our study to confirm rather than challenge our beliefs. 3. Placing our preunderstanding in front of the biblical data helps us to use it positive (to analyse the evidence) rather than negatively (to shape our conclusions).Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  4. 4. 2. PassagesWe must gather all the passages of scripture which address ourtopic. 1. We should make use of a concordance approach to identify the texts. 2. We should consult books and articles on the topic to see which passages are discussed. 3. We should pay particular attention to passages which seem to disagree with traditions position.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  5. 5. 3. ExegesisWe must exegete all the relevant passages in their context. 1. This is seldom possible for practical reasons of space and time, but it remains the only right way to formulate sound doctrine. 2. There is a danger in placing scriptural texts side by side, since it can distort their intended meaning, which is a variation of the facility called “illegitimate totality transfer”. 3. We must discover what aspect of the topic a text addresses in its context before bring it into dialogue with other texts, that is, before we consider the larger theological truth that emerges when we bring all the texts together.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  6. 6. 4. Biblical TheologyWe must collate all the passages into a biblical theology. 1. Diachronic: We need to see to the diachronic development of the doctrine in scripture, using the history of salvation as our framework. 2. Synchronic: We need to understand the beliefs of Israel or the early church with respect to the doctrine, and viewed on their own terms. 3. We can think of this as a systematic theology of the biblical writers’ beliefs. We must understand what they believed before we can contextualise or reconstruct it for the contemporary church.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  7. 7. 5. Historical TheologyWe must trace the developing contextualisation of the doctrinethrough church history. 1. We should study how the church has restated and applied the doctrine to meet different situations and needs. 2. We learn from both negative restatements (heresy) and positive restatements (creeds; confessions). 3. We should pay particular attention to the development of our own tradition to see where it fits into the development of doctrine.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  8. 8. 6. Doctrinal ModelsWe must study competing models of the doctrine. 1. Our own models of theological truth are influenced by our tradition, community, and experience. We need to critique them in the light of alternative models. 2. Giving serious and continuous consideration to alternative models of constructing the doctrine will help to keep us intellectually honest by pinpointing the weaknesses in our model.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  9. 9. 7. RecontextualisationWe must reformulate or recontextualise the traditional model ofthe doctrine for the contemporary context. 1. The biblical content of a doctrine does not change, but the way it is stated and applied varies by generation and culture. 2. In this sense, it is appropriate to speak of African theology. We need to contextualise the changeless truths of Gods word for African people and contexts.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  10. 10. 8. Systemic ModelsWe must collate the reformulated doctrines into revisedtheological systems which present the relationships betweendoctrines. 1. The ultimate objective of studying doctrine goes beyond clarifying our understanding of a single doctrine. 2. When we have recontextualised various doctrines, we must fine tune our theological system and tradition.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology
  11. 11. 9. ApplicationWe must work out the implications for the community of Godand for the daily life of the believer. 1. Theology is not for the scholar or the classroom; it is for the church and the disciple of Jesus. 2. If a theology is not lived, then in Gods economy it has not been heard or believed (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10). 3. Belief is a community thing that must be worked out in community life. It is more practical than theoretical, more illocutionary than locutionary.Grant Osborne: Systematic Theology

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