A Systematic Theology for Today

I like theology. A lot. I dislike reading more recent systematic theology texts. They are terrible. They are written in a bubble. They are theologies for theologians, not for the church. The are theologies that neglect culture by and large. They are theologies that do not allow us to wrestle with the most difficult questions of our time.

But what would a systematic theology for our day and time look like? Stanley Grenz and his book Theology for the Community of God is probably the best recent attempt in my opinion (and that was in 2000). But that was before 9/11. And before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And before we elected a black president. What would a present-day systematic theology cover? Would it rehash the most pertinent doctrines of the 3rd and 4th centuries? Or would it seek to interact with the questions and challenges of our time and place here? I am not suggesting we neglect former doctrines and theologians. But, we do need to engage our culture at the same level that theologians of the past have.

What are things we should address in this 21st century theology from an American perspective (I am thinking about my particular context as an American citizen and a product of conservative evangelicalism)? The problem of evil would be near the top of the list. And postmodernism, consumerism, civil religion, environmentalism, terrorism (and warfare in general) must be addressed with more than a paragraph or two. Maybe the trustworthiness of the Bible. An eschatology that leaves behind Left Behind eschatology. I think it must even address the roots of the country and its manifest destiny. And the ideals of freedom and liberty. And capitalism. What else would a present-day systematic theology book need to address in order to be mindful of our time and place?

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