During my time at Westminster I had my favorites as every student does, Vern Poythress was a favorite. I took as many of his classes as I could, I even took two of his ThM courses as well. One of the lasting contributions Vern has made to the church today is helping people from different perspectives respect and listen to one another. He’s done this with the cessationist vs n0n-cessationist groups, he’s done this with the dispensationalist vs. covenantal group and he continues to pursue this for everyone who has differences amongst themselves in the body of Christ. I’ve heard Vern is most famous across the pond for his Symphonic Theology book.

Here are twelve maxims for symphonic theology that Vern lays out;

    1. Language is not transparent to the world.
    2. No term in the Bible is equal to a technical term of systematic theology.
    3. Technical terms in systematic theology can almost always be defined in more than one way. Every technical term is selective in the features it includes.
    4. Boundaries are fuzzy.
    5. No category or system of categories gives us ultimate reality.
    6. Different human writers of the Bible bring differing perspectives to bear on a given doctrine or event.
    7. The differences between biblical writings by different human authors are also divine differences.
    8. Any motifs of the Bible can be used as the single organizing motif.
    9. We use different motifs not to relativize truth but to gain truth.
    10. We see what our tools enable us to see.
    11. Error is parasitic on the truth.
    12. In theological debates, we should preempt the other person’s strong points.