What is Systematic Theology?



Three types of systematic theology are distinguished, each with its own form, function, interests and location: ‘official’, produced by the institutional church; ‘ordinary’ theological reflection, engaged in by virtually all believers; professional-academic systematic theology. Viewed in the context of the theology of the church, official theology would benefit from a more realistic understanding of ordinary theologies. Academic systematic theology mediates between the other two, critically and constructively, and engages university disciplines likewise. It belongs within the sphere of the church but at some distance from the institution, and thus is usefully (though necessarily uneasily) located within the university.