[This post is part of The Christian Faith series]
In the introduction to The Christian Faith, Michael Horton lays out the idea that Christian theology, rather than being dull dogma, is a dogma that is drama. He takes this from a Dorothy Sayers quote and then uses it as a launching pad for the rest of the introduction.
He traces this idea through the following headings:
- Drama: The Greatest Story Ever Told
- Doctrine: The Grammar of Faith
- Doxology: Saying “Amen”
- Discipleship: The Way of Christ in the World
- Putting it all together: God’s New Role for Us in His Play
He then rounds out the intro with a good discussion outlining why we need systematic theology and also gives us his modus operandi for writing this particular systematic theology:
I am writing from the perspective of a Reformed Christian living in North America. I do not presume to speak for all Christians from a supposedly unbiased “view from nowhere,” but I do hope to speak to all Christians from a Reformed perspective concerning the faith we hold in common. To put it differently, I do not believe there is any such thing as a “Reformed faith,” any more than there is a “Lutheran faith,” or “Baptist faith.” There is one faith – the Christian faith – and this volume is an attempt to explore that faith as it is summarized in the confessions of Reformed Christianity (pg. 30).
This, to me, is a very helpful distinction and frees Horton up to articulate theology from his own tradition while not claiming absolute supremacy over all others. He obviously believes that the Reformed perspective on the Christian faith makes the most sense of the Scriptures or he wouldn’t have written the book. But I like that he acknowledges his limitations and is very forthright about his own perspective.
Overall, the introduction had a very sermonic quality to it, and establishes early on Horton’s rich use of metaphors and word pictures. In my reading so far, I have found these to be helpful and they lend a literary quality to his writings that can sometimes be lacking in systematic theologies. This promises to make it a good read, but we’ll see as we move along.