“The Better Theologians”

Click to see a larger image of The Christian Faith by Michael S. HortonThe better theologians in history have evidenced a similar submission to mystery [as Paul in Rom. 11:33-36].  For example, at numerous points in his Institutes, John Calvin summarizes his interpretation of a scriptural teaching and then exhorts us to adore the mystery rather than attempt to grasp it.  Centuries before, Anselm of Canterbury wrote even his deepest theological investigations in the form of prayer, such as this famous one: “I do not endeavour, O Lord, to penetrate thy sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree thy truth, which my heart believes and loves.  For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, 23.

Or another earlier American theologian, James Henley Thornwell:

But we must not forget that all cannot be explained.  Our knowledge is a point, our ignorance immense.  But we can know enough to glorify God, and to save our souls

J.H. Thornwell, Collected Writings, 1:582

See also here and here.  Mystery is not a bad word in theology!

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