Analytical Reformed

With an analytical method, one first considers the building itself in general; the point of departure is the whole. From there each element is considered, brick by brick, in order finally to arrive at the foundation. The synthetic method, on the other hand, implies that one first consider the foundation. Then all the other parts follow until one finally has an impression of the entire building.

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After an initial preference for the analytical method, over the course of time few Reformed theologians—certainly in comparison to the Lutherans—chose to follow it. This led to the remarkable situation in which Lutheran theologians oriented themselves after the Heidelberg Catechism, which has an analytical structure, while the majority of Reformed theologians—who had an analytical catechism in their background—followed the synthetic method.

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It may well be that Reformed thought holding up the salvation of mankind as the end of theology went too far. Theology ought, after all, to be concerned with God.

 


God Ad Extra and Covenantal Condescension

This does not mean, however, that for Junius the identity of archetypal theology with the divine essence of God renders Him incapable of communicating to the created order. God Himself bridges the gap by graciously revealing ectypal theology to His creatures by an act of His free and contingent will ad extra. At the same time, the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology underscores the fact that human beings do not have direct access to the knowledge of God. Thus, humans are dependent on God’s external self-disclosure. In other words, there is no way of access from man to God, but only from God to man.

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...the overarching paradigm for understanding the principles and task of theology was the archetypal/ectypal distinction, and the parallel distinction between the essential or ad intra dimension and the contingent or ad extra dimension of divine agency.

 


Junius' Christological Framework of Revelation and Ad Extra

This christological framework is unmistakably present as Junius makes the point that the theology of union in Christ is the principle of the two other forms of ectypal theology—the theology of vision and revelation. Whereas archetypal theology is the matrix of all forms of theology, the theology of union is the mother (mater) of the two other forms of ectypal theology, that is, the theology of vision and revealed theology.

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The conclusion seems to be justified that in True Theology Christology undergirds the presuppositions and approach to the nature of true theology.

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The use of the archetypal/ectypal distinction and the crucial significance of the theology of union in its relation to the two other forms of ectypal theology was, for the Reformed orthodox, a means of developing the principles and task of theology, a discipline to be determined by a strong Trinitarian and christological framework.

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