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By John Miley / Hunt & Eaton / 1892–1893
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What is the relationship between theology and philosophy? Between theology and the sciences? And what is the proper task of theology? In his 2-volume Systematic Theology, John Miley presents a unified and concise sum of Christian doctrine which understands God in light of philosophical and scientific criticism, and affirms the veracity of God’s revelation. The depth of Miley’s theological reflection and the clarity of his thought have made his Systematic Theology one of the key texts in Methodist theology ever since.
Miley’s enterprise is as apologetical as it is theological—he begins with a bold affirmation of theism and the existence of God, disassembling the sturdiest scientific and philosophical refutations of God and Christian revelation. From there, he outlines the attributes of God, the doctrine of the Trinity, and the incarnation. Miley’s Systematic Theology also includes sections on theological anthropology, the doctrine of Christ and salvation, and eschatology—and he discusses at length the atonement, justification, and the freedom of the will in relation to salvation. He concludes with an appendix on the inspiration and authority of Scripture.
This is probably the most scholarly and extensive Arminian systematic theology ever written.
[Miley’s Systematic Theology] is clearly, directly, and strongly written; it is characterized by candor, restraint, and modesty; it is orderly in arrangement and lucid in discussion. It is altogether a good book, which the Arminian should find satisfying, and the Calvinist should count it a privilege to join issue.
John Miley was born in 1813. He attended Augusta College, and became the chair of systematic theology at Drew University in 1873. Throughout his lifetime, he remained an active Methodist preacher and scholar, and appropriated John Wesley’s theology to contemporary issues. John Miley died in 1895.