by Vincent Cheung
Preface to 2003 Edition
The most important task a Christian can perform at any stage of his spiritual development is to study systematic theology. This may sound extreme to the anti-intellectual mindset of popular Christianity, but it is a necessary conclusion derived from the nature of theology. Theological study possesses intrinsic value, and it is the precondition of every Christian concept and activity. For example, it is the intellectual enterprise of theology that governs the object and mode of prayer, defines the reason and manner of worship, and formulates the message and strategy for evangelism.
I consider this book an adequate text for the beginning reader. Perhaps some will even find it challenging. But being an introduction, it cannot include everything important to a comprehensive understanding of theology. And since its primary purpose is to provide a positive construction or statement of biblical doctrines, the emphasis is not on polemics. The reader should pursue my other writings for more detailed discussions on the topics mentioned in the following chapters.
This book emphasizes the interrelatedness of biblical doctrines, and arranges them in a logical progression from the epistemological precondition of a worldview to the preservation of the believer. The three central motifs of this book are the infallibility of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, and the centrality of the mind. Some of my other works offer additional explanation and defense of these biblical pillars of the Christian system. Especially relevant is my book, Ultimate Questions, which serves well as a companion text to Systematic Theology by giving biblical answers to the questions of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and soteriology. Whereas Systematic Theology is an outline of Christian theology, Ultimate Questions is an outline of Christian philosophy and apologetics.
Cheung, Vincent – Systematic Theology