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II. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

A SYSTEMATIC EXPOSITION BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH


INTRODUCTION (§§ 1-311414The paragraph references are to the corresponding portions of the original work.)

At the outset of this undertaking it is necessary to explain the meaning that is here attached to the term dogmatics and to set forth the method and the arrangement appropriate to it. For, while Christian communions generally make use of dogmatical (doctrinal) statements both in their own internal economy and in their intercourse with other religious bodies, an examination of the theological writings best known among them will discover great diversity and confusion in the articulation of the different theological disciplines and in the application of them to the purposes of the societies concerned. Of dogmatics this is true in an eminent degree.

The greatest differences in the orderly development of the subject will occur, of course, in those works which represent thoroughly different conceptions of dogmatics, but minor differences appear even in works which repose on a similar basis. In any case the method and order of treatment are best justified by results and, in order to the best results, should be set forth for the reader at the beginning.

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