Petrus van Mastricht’s Theoretical and Practical Theology presents one of the most comprehensive methods of treating Christian doctrine. In it, Mastricht treats every theological topic according to a four-part approach: exegetical, dogmatic, elenctic, and practical. As a body of divinity, it combines a rigorous, scholastic treatment of doctrine with the pastoral aim of preparing people to live for God through Christ. Students and pastors will find it a valuable model for moving from the text of Scripture to doctrinal formulation that will edify the people of God.
Volume 1, Prolegomena, provides an introduction to doing systematic theology. Mastricht begins by addressing the nature of theology, wherein he lays out the proper method, subject matter, and definition of theology. He then discusses Scripture as the rule of doing theology, as it is the only infallible source and foundation for knowing God. Finally, Mastricht gives his rationale for the best distribution of theological topics. This volume also includes Mastricht’s homiletical aid “The Best Method of Preaching,” as well as a biographical sketch by Adriaan Neele to help readers understand the significance of Mastricht’s life and ministry.
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A new appreciation has grown in our time for the great post-Reformation theologians of the Reformed tradition, and Petrus van Mastricht was a towering giant among them. Jonathan Edwards thought he was better than Francis Turretin! Mastricht’s magnum opus Theoretical-Practical Theology, however, is virtually unknown and unquoted today, accessible only to competent and determined Latinists. This translation does for Mastricht what Giger and Dennison did for Turretin—it provides a readable, critical, annotated English translation that puts Mastricht within easy reach of pastors, seminarians, and other students of theology. A sound and experiential divine, who (it may surprise you to learn) interacts with and criticizes Kabbalah and Islam as well as Descartes and Socinians, Mastricht is always concerned to show that true theology is practical and never merely notional. Truth is unto godliness.
—Ligon Duncan, chancellor and CEO, John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary
Van Mastricht is one of the greatest of the Reformed orthodox, exerting a profound influence on subsequent theologians, including Jonathan Edwards. His grasp of the tradition, his ability to interact with contemporary issues, and his careful articulation of orthodoxy exemplify the best of Protestant theology after the Reformation. Yet the lack of an English translation has meant that he has been known more by reputation than by content in the Anglophone world. Here at last is an English translation which will allow a whole new audience of pastors, theologians, and laypeople to draw once again on this profound theological source.
—Carl R. Trueman, professor of biblical and religious studies, Grove City College
With each translation of the formative Reformed theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries comes the possibility of our churches being renewed by forgotten treasures. This is one of those gold mines. So important is van Mastricht that even Descartes felt obliged to respond to his critiques and Jonathan Edwards drew deeply from the well of his Theoretical-Practical Theology. It is a distinct pleasure to recommend this remarkable gem.
—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
Petrus van Mastricht (1630–1706) was a Dutch theologian who studied at Utrecht under Gisbertus Voetius and Johannes Hoornbeeck. He pastored churches in the Netherlands and taught at the universities of Duisburg and Utrecht. His Theoretical and Practical Theology was praised by many as one of the great works of systematic theology and is noted for treating Christian doctrine comprehensively from its exegetical foundations to its practical use for one’s soul.