ICS Calendar Title: Systematic Theology: Past, Present and Future

ICS Course Code: ICS 220807 W12

Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell

Term and Year: Fridays, 9:30 am-12:30pm, Winter 2012

Last Updated: December 2, 2011

Course Description

Systematic theology has often been an attempt to develop a theology for all times and all places. But systematic thinking can also be consciously situated in history. In time, our web of beliefs may become reconfigured and re-centred. In this course, we will read Paul Helm’s systematic study, John Calvin’s Ideas (together with selections from Calvin’s Institutes) alongside and up against Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland’s Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes in order to stimulate our own reflections on the best way to develop a theology in and for today.

Course Learning Goals

  1. To understand the nature, goals, limits and possibilities of systematic theology in our own context(s)
  2. To understand the character of Calvin’s systematic theology and the tradition of theology for which it is seminal
  3. To evaluate two approaches to systematic theology (that of Calvin and that of a contemporary theologian) in a historically sensitive way

Course Requirements

a.        Total  reading : 1250 pages total, including research for paper, of which approximately 60-70  pages per week is required to prepare for class

b.        In-seminar leadership: In addition to reading the assigned readings participants are expected to do regular class presentations based on the readings.

c.        Description of course papers: Essay of 3000 -5000 words (Masters), 5000-7000 words (PhD).

d.        Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

  1. Class participation: 20%
  2. Seminar Presentations: 20%
  3. Research Paper: 60%

Required Readings


Paul Helm, John Calvin’s Ideas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9418 .H46 2006]

Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland, eds., Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT75.3 .C66 2005]

John T. McNeill, ed., Calvin: Institutes Of The Christian Religion, vols 1 and 2, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960) (selections) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9420 .I65 B3 1960 v.1-2]

Recommended Readings

G.C. Berkouwer, Studies In Dogmatics, vols 1-14 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952-76)

[ICS Library Reserve Shelf: Divine Election BT810 .B443; Faith and Perseverance BT68 .B413; Faith and Sanctification BT765 .B413; General Revelation BT127 .B4713; Man: the Image of God BT701.2 .B4713; The Person of Christ BT201 .B4713; The Providence of God BT135 .B4713]

William J. Bousma, John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9418 .B68]

Jane Dempsey Douglass, Women, Freedom, And Calvin (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1985) [Robarts Library: BT810.2 .D68 1985]

William R. Estep, Renaissance And Reformation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986) [Robarts Library: BR280 .E87 1986]

Colin E. Gunton, ed., The Cambridge Companion To Christian Doctrine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT80 .C29 1997X]

Dewey J. Hoitenga, Jr., John Calvin And The Will: A Critique and Corrective (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1997) [Robarts Library: BX9418 .H57 1997X]

Jacob Klapwijk, “John Calvin (1509-1564)” in Bringing Into Captivity Every Thought: Capita Selecta in the History of Christian Evaluations of Non-Christian Philosophy, ed. Jacob Klapwijk, Sander Griffioen, and Gerben Groenewoud (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1991), chapter 6, 123-142 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR100 .B75]

Sallie McFague, Models Of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT102 .M425 1987]

John T. McNeill, The History and Character of Calvinism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967) [Robarts Library: BX9422.2 .M32 1967]

Donald K McKim, ed., The Cambridge Companion To John Calvin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9418 .C396 2004]

––––––––––, ed., The Westminster Handbook To Reformed Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9406 .W47 2001]

Richard A. Muller, Christ And The Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988 [1986]) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT198 .M827 1988]

––––––––––, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vols. 1-4. Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9422.3 .M85 2003X v.1-3]

––––––––––, The Unaccommodated Calvin: Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) [Robarts Library: BX9418 .M79 2000X and e-resource available through UTL]

T.H.L. Parker, Calvin: An Introduction to his Thought (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1995) [Robarts Library: BX9418 .P33 1995]

Charles Partee, Calvin And Classical Philosophy (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 2005 [1977]) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9418 .P374]

Susan E. Schreiner, The Theater Of His Glory: Nature and the Natural Order in the Thought of John Calvin (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1995 [1991]) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9418 .S36]

Victor Shepherd, The Nature And Function Of Faith In The Theology Of John Calvin (Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2004 [1988]) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT771.2 .S5 1983]

Ninian Smart and Steven Konstantine, Christian Systematic Theology In A World Context (New York: HarperCollins, 1991) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT75.2 .S57 1991]

Gordon J. Spykman, Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT75.2 .S69]