Van Til on Creedal Progress

Van Til did not believe in creedal fossilization. His brief treatment the relationship between systematic theology and creedal formulas challenges those of us who want to treat creeds as unchanging deposits of truth. In Van Til’s formulation, systematic theology operates within the framework of the creeds, but must go beyond creeds:

“It must be shown over and over again that the standards are based on the Scriptures. In addition to this, the systmatic theologian has to go beyond the standards to see whether he can possibly find a more specific formulation of truths already spoken of in the standards, and whether he can find a formulation of truths of Scriptures not yet spoken of in the standards. In this way he may himself help in some small way the further implication of the church into the truth of Scripture. Creeds must be revised and supplemented from time to time. But it is not until systematic theology has progressed beyond the creeds that the creeds themselves may be revised” (Introduction to Systematic Theology, 4).

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