Written by Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary and long-time editor of Bibliotheca Sacra, this is the first dispensational, premillenial systematic theology ever published. It is a complete, unabridged systematic theology meaning it covers a lot of ground that many earlier theologies did not, such as ecclesiology (e.g., the doctrine of the universal church, the church's rule of life), angelology (e.g., the relationship between Satan and sin), and typology. This is truly one of the heavyweight works of the evangelical movement, very much in demand today.
The Handbook of Evangelical Theologians contains the following discussion of Systematic Theology that touches on its distinctives, influences, and significance:
"Systematic Theology is clearly Chafer’s magnum opus. The product of years of study under Scofield and as professor of systematic theology at Dallas, it represents the culmination of Chafer’s dream of bringing the teaching found in the Bible conferences into formal theological instruction. The work is basically Reformed in its theological orientation. There are many discussions which follow the scholastic pattern of nineteenth-century systematic theologies. Chafer’s moderate Calvinism is seen in his discussion of the decrees of God, predestination, and the atonement. His position on the inspiration and authority of Scripture is identical to that of the Old Princeton theology of Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield, the Bible conferences, and the fundamentalist movement in general. The uniqueness of Chafer’s Systematic Theology is found in what he called its unabridged scope, which refers to its inclusion of material popularized in the Bible conferences and the Scofield Reference Bible. It claimed to be the first premillennial systematic theology; and by virtue of its inclusion of various emphases of the Scofield Reference Bible, Chafer’s work was also seen as the first dispensational systematic theology (“dispensational” is here a reference to the views expressed in Scofield’s notes)."
Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. (1997, c1993). Handbook of Evangelical Theologians (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Writing in Bibliotheca Sacra in 1934, Chafer set out his vision for an unabridged systematic theology (along with the "Evils Resulting from an Abridged Systematic Theology"). He began by defining systematic theology as "the collecting, systematically arranging, comparing, exhibiting and defending of all facts concerning God and His works from any and every source." Chafer went on to outline the most important subjects that should be covered in an unabridged systematic theology: bibliology (facts about the Scriptures), theology proper (God), angelology (angels unfallen and fallen), anthropology (mankind), soteriology (doctrine of sin), ecclesiology (doctrine of the church), and eschatology (things to come).
- An unabridged systematic theology of unparalleled scope
- Contains comprehensive analysis on a wide range of theological items, but is written in understandable language
- All Scripture references appear on mouse-over
Praise for the Print Edition
. . . the definitive statement of dispensational theology.
Though scholarly in the true sense of the word, this work can also be read and understood by those not formally trained in theology.
—Charles C. Ryrie
- Title: Systematic Theology
- Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer
- Publisher: Kregel Publications
- Publication Date: 2003
- Pages: 2,880
About Lewis Sperry Chafer
Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952), American Presbyterian clergyman and educator, was born in Rock Creek, Ohio, studied at New Lyme Academy in Ohio, at Oberlin (Ohio) Conservatory and College, and under C. I. Scofield. Ordained in 1900, he was a traveling evangelist from 1900-1914, and a Bible lecturer from 1914-1924. He also taught Bible at the Philadelphia School of the Bible from 1914-1923. In 1924, he founded the Evangelical Theological College (now Dallas Theological Seminary) and was its president and professor of systematic theology until his death.
Dr. Chafer was also the author of Satan: His Motives and Methods, The Kingdom in History and Prophecy, Salvation, He That Is Spiritual, Grace, Major Bible Themes, The Ephesian Letter, and the multi-volume Systematic Theology. For many years he was also the editor of the theological journal Bibliotheca Sacra.