corpus doctrinae: body of doctrine; specifically, the body of doctrine held by the church as true throughout its history and developed systematically during the various ages of the church; therefore, also, a theological system.

I selected this phrase for Muller Monday because within the definition there is a good corrective for an assumption held by many today about systematic theology. Many believe its merely a product of modernity or the Greek cultures abiding influence in the church, Muller points out however that the corpus doctrinae developed throughout the ages of the church, though it was held as true in each age of history. You get a sense that systematic theology had a very organic and living relationship between the church and culture in each age. Which is not to deny that there were periods where the connection looked and was more like a disconnection.

Might we be so bold as to say that systematic theology is the remnant of contextual situations the church engaged in with God’s revelation throughout her story. Of course its more than this, its the systematic exposition of all of scripture based on the analogia fidei. But its not less than this either, which is not to say there aren’t poor applications of ST in the churches life. Still I get the impression from conversations in the Church today that we need to fight against the tendency to throw out the baby with the bath water…of course the baby may need another bath since the water it was bathing in was mirky the first go around.