An Outline of Horton’s New ST

The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way I have to admit that I’m not wild about some aspects of the layout of Mike Horton’s excellent new systematic theology, The Christian Faith.  I’m not sure why the editors/publisher didn’t give us a more detailed outline, and I’m not sure what good a tiny glossary does (it is 12 pages or so).  This book is a deep and sometimes difficult read – the reader could use some extra help!  A detailed outline would have been a nice addition since Horton’s way of writing often includes looking back at earlier topics and ahead to future topics. 

Despite these minor annoyances, I am enjoying the content very much.  I’m finished with the first part, and to make for easier reading and future referral, I’ve written a detailed outline with a few page references for help.  I’ll build on it more in the future (this is part 1).  Feel free to do with it what you want, and please let me know if you see corrections that need to be made.  If someone wants to eventually make this available online, we’ll link it instead of doing this.  Also, I’m open to better formatting, since I don’t have time to put extra work into it.

Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith

An Outline by Rev. Shane Lems

 Introduction: The Dogma Is the Drama

1)     Why Theology?

a)      Drama: The Greatest Story Ever Told

b)     Doctrine: The Grammar of Faith

c)      Doxology: Saying Amen!

d)     Discipleship: The Way of Christ in the World

e)      Putting It All Together: God’s New Role for us in His Play

2)     Why Systematic Theology?

3)     Back to the Sources

 Part 1: Knowing God (The Presuppositions of Theology)

Chapter 1: Dissonant Dramas: Paradigms for Knowing God and the World

1)     Dissonant Dramas: The Nature of Reality (p.36)

a)      Pantheism and Panentheism: Overcoming Estrangement

b)     Atheism and Deism: The Stranger We Never Meet   

2)     A Covenantal Account of Meeting a Stranger (p. 41)

a)      Defining the Model

b)     Defending the Model

c)      The Heart of the Model: A Covenantal Relationship

3)     Epistemology: Knowing God (p. 47)

a)      How Can We Know God? Post Reformation Interpretation

i)       God’s Incomprehensible Majesty

b)     The Sovereign Self: Variations on a Theme

Chapter 2: The Character of Theology: A Theoretical or a Practical Science?

1)     Seeing as Certainty: The Way of Vision (p. 81)

2)     Hear O Israel – Covenantal Speech

3)     Hearing is Believing

4)     Theory and Practice (p. 94)

a)      The Theory-Practice Debate in Theology

b)     Faith and Reason

c)      Faith as Confidence in God’s Promise: The Story is the Point

5)     Theology as Wisdom for Invocation (p. 104)

a)      Wisdom

Chapter 3: The Source of Theology: Revelation

1)     Models of Revelation (p. 113)

2)     Toward a Biblical Doctrine of Revelation

a)      Revelation Depends on Divine Initiative

b)     Revelation is a Speech Act

c)      Revelation Serves Redemption

d)     Propositions Without Propositionalism

e)      Revelation and Mediation (p. 126)

f)      Essence and Energies

g)     Trial and Testimony

3)     The Word of God (p. 135)

a)      The Word of God as Law and Gospel

b)     God’s Revelation in Creation: General Revelation

i)       Scriptural Justification for General Revelation

ii)     Historical Interpretations of General Revelation

iii)   Karl Barth’s Rejection of Natural Revelation (p. 146)

Chapter 4: Scripture as Covenant Canon

1)     God’s Ruling Constitution: Word as Canon (p. 151)

2)     Inspiration: God’s Word and Human Words

a)      Trinitarian Cooperation in Inspiration

b)     God’s Energies: Fiat and Fruitfulness

c)      Verbal-Plenary Inspiration

d)     Divine and Human Agency in Inspiration

i)       Undervaluing the Humanity of Scripture: The Docetic Temptation

ii)     The Gospel and the Priority of God’s Agency in Inspiration

e)      Inspiration and Illumination (p. 167)

f)      Collapsing the Distinction Between Inspiration and Illumination

3)     The Truthfulness of Scripture (p. 173)

a)      The Princeton Formulation of Inerrancy

b)     Inerrancy after Barth

Chapter 5: The Bible and the Church: From Scripture to System

1)     The Sufficiency of Scripture: Canon and Community (p. 186)

a)      Sola Scriptura: The Reformation Debate

i)       Roman Catholic Teaching

ii)     Reformation and Post-Reformation Interpretation

b)     Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture in Modern Theology

c)      Gospel and Culture (p. 201)

2)     The Nature of Doctrine: From Scripture to System

a)      George Lindbeck’s Models of Doctrine

b)     A Covenantal Model of Doctrine: From Drama to Dogmatics

i)       Scripture to Dogma

ii)     Creeds and Confessions


5 thoughts on “An Outline of Horton’s New ST”

  1. I am looking forward to getting a copy; does he cover a lot of new ground, i.e. ground not covered in his four volume work ?


    1. Richard – there is quite a bit more material in this ST than in his four volume set. His set didn’t deal with all the systematic categories, so while you’ll find overlap, they are not at all the same (different genre, different audience, different concerns, etc.). I’m guessing you’ll enjoy it.


  2. I just got the book yesterday–and am enjoying it. But you are right, Rev. Lems–an outline would be helpful. Thank you for your work on this.


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