Joseph Mattera, who organized the conference I mentioned attending about a week-and-a-half ago, noted what he believes to be 21 Seismic Shifts of the Evangelical Church. In his 14th point he says in part:
Regarding how we approach theology: Systematic theology is losing steam because it usually only includes about 20-30 topics of the Bible, based on what each writer deems important.
Biblical theology is gaining more popularity because this discipline takes the approach of studying the Bible as it was written (instead of topically and thematically) which enables each subject or topic to unfold as we inductively study each book in both the New and Old Testaments, as God’s word originally intended. (This is in contrast to artificially lifting passages out of various books of the Bible and systematizing Scripture thematically.)
What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? This sounds remarkably like the debate over topical vs. expository preaching. Here, systematic theology would be likened to topical preaching in the sense that it lifts passages and systematizes them, whereas expository preaching lets the Scriptures unfold like Biblical theology (although I’d say Biblical theology has a lot more going on than just that; the interplay between and within testaments is a key feature that requires not only unfolding, but also some ironing and hanging in the closet—excuse the metaphor).