This article examines how Reformed scholasticism can be relevant for systematic theology today. ‘Reformed Scholasticism’ denotes the academic practice in which the doctrines of the Reformation are expounded, explained, and defended. It is primarily a method and attitude in search of the truth, based on a careful reading of Scripture, drawing on patristic and medieval traditions, and interacting with philosophy and other academic disciplines. In addition to these methodological features, important contributions on various doctrinal topics can be discovered. The doctrine of God has a foundational role in the sense that God is the primary subject of the other topics (creation, salvation, etc.). Reformed scholastic theology not only examines God’s inner essence, but also the concrete relation and operation of God toward his world. In a Trinitarian understanding of God’s essence, a distinction is maintained between God’s immanent relatedness as three divine Persons, and his outward relation to created reality. The doctrines of creation and providence gave occasion for Reformed scholastics to engage in debates with the emerging natural sciences, and also articulated important theological insights concerning the involvement of God in creaturely affairs. In Christology, the Reformed orthodox maintained the classic doctrine of the two natures of Jesus Christ, against Socinians and other opponents. These ontological statements are the necessary conditions for a proper understanding of the salvation by Christ. While the doctrinal positions of Reformed scholastic theology cannot be automatically transmitted to contemporary discussions, we can profit from this tradition on several levels of method and content.
Allen M, Swain SR (2015) Reformed Catholicity. The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Baars A (2004) Om Gods verhevenheid en Zijn nabijheid. De Drie-eenheid bij Calvijn. Kampen: Kok.
Barth K (1932) Kirchliche Dogmatik I/1: Die Lehre vom Wort Gottes. Munich: Chr. Kaiser.
Barth K (1940) Kirchliche Dogmatik II/1: Die Lehre von Gott. Zollikon: Verlag der Evangelischen Buchhandlung.
Beck AJ (2007) Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676). Sein Theologieverständnis und seine Gotteslehre. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Boersma H (2009) Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology. A Return to Mystery. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crisp OD (2010) Retrieving Doctrine. Explorations in Reformed Theology. Milton Keynes: Paternoster.
Crisp OD (2011) Analytic Theology. Expository Times 122(10): 469-477.
Dempsey MT, ed (2011) Trinity and Election in Contemporary Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Frank G, Selderhuis HJ, eds (2012) Philosophie der Reformierten. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog.
Goudriaan A (1999) Philosophische Gotteserkenntnis bei Suarez und Descartes im Zusammenhang mit der niederländischen reformierten Theologie und Philosophie des 17. Jahrhunderts. PhD thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden.
McCall TH (2010) Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism? Philosophical and Systematic Theologians on the Metaphysics of Trinitarian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
McGrath AE (2005) The Making of Modern German Christology 1750-1990, second edition. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.
Muller RA (2003a) Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics. The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725, 4 volumes, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Muller RA (2003b) After Calvin. Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Rea MC (2009) Introduction. In Crisp OD and Rea MC (eds) Analytic Theology. New Essays in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-30.
Rehnman S (2013) The Doctrine of God in Reformed Orthodoxy. In Selderhuis HJ (ed) A Companion to Reformed Orthodoxy, pp. 353-401.
Selderhuis HJ, ed (2013) A Companion to Reformed Orthodoxy. Leiden: Brill.
Te Velde D (2013) The Doctrine of God in Reformed Orthodoxy, Karl Barth, and the Utrecht School. A Study in Method and Content. Leiden: Brill.
Te Velde D and others, eds (2014) Synopsis purioris theologiae / Synopsis of a Purer Theology, volume 1. Leiden: Brill.
Trueman CR and Clark RS, eds (1999) Protestant Scholasticism. Essays in Reassessment. Carlisle: Paternoster; reprinted as Trueman CR and Clark RS, eds (2007) Protestant Scholasticism. Essays in Reassessment. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.
Van Asselt WJ and others (2011) Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformed Heritage Books.
Van Asselt WJ, Bac JM, and te Velde DT, eds (2010) Reformed Thought on Freedom: The Concept of Free Choice in the History of Early-Modern Reformed Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Van Asselt WJ and Dekker E, eds (2001) Reformation and Scholasticism. An Ecumenical Enterprise. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Verbeek T (1992) Descartes and the Dutch. Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy 1637-1650. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
Vermij R (2002) The Calvinist Copernicans. The Reception of the New Astronomy in the Dutch Republic, 1575-1750. Amsterdam: Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschapen.
Vos A (2001) Scholasticism and Reformation. In Van Asselt WJ and Dekker E (eds) Reformation and Scholasticism, pp. 99-119.
Webster J (2007) Theologies of Retrieval. In Webster J, Tanner K, and Torrance I (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 583-599.