Systematic Theology; what does that bring into your mind? Perhaps you think that it’s too complicated for you, or that it’s too dull, or perhaps you don’t really know what it is about. For me Systematic Theology is about piety. The point of studying anything is not merely to gain knowledge about it; no, it must be in order to use it to the glory of God. The aim of Systematic Theology, therefore, is to become pious.
What is piety? Often people speak of a pious person as if it’s a bad thing. But piety is devotion and reverence for God, it’s putting Him first in all of our decisions in life, it’s hating sin and pursuing righteousness, it’s delighting in the things of God, loving His people, and caring about the lost. In short, piety is being like our Saviour Jesus Christ.
As I teach this class, my concern is not that the students will gain in their knowledge about God, but rather that will become more pious. In order to do this, I must first take the log out of my own eye before trying to extract specks from the eyes of others. And when you think about it, that’s what makes studying Systematic Theology harder. It’s easy to learn facts about God; you could easily pick up a book and learn that. It’s harder to learn piety. We like learning in the abstract, but we are defensive when it demands changes in our lives. But that’s what makes the class dynamic, instead of a drudgery.
Is it worth it? Absolutely! We are doing exactly what David says in Psalm 27. He desired to be in the house of God, beholding and admiring God’s beauty. Systematic theology is about seeking God’s face.
– Stephen McCollum