Muller: Scholasticism Is A Method Not A Doctrine

In my own usage, throughout the study, I have attempted to work with terms that have substantive use in the historical documents and I have tried to confine my meanings to the meanings of the era. Thus, ‘scholastic’ indicates an academic style and method of discourse, not a particular theology or philosophy. The denominator ‘Reformed scholastic’ refers to a writer or a document belonging, confessionally, to the Reformed as distinct from the Lutheran wing of the magisterial Reformation, and characterized by the use of an academic or scholastic method…the use of ‘scholastic’ and related terms with reference to the writers of the Reformation and post-Reformation eras assumes an academic context influenced by both the Renaissance and the Reformation, a context not at all identical with that of medieval scholasticism. Similarly, ‘Reformed orthodox,’ used with reference to the same writers or documents, indicates an individual or a theology that stands within the confessional framework of the Reformed churches and which is understood as conveying the ‘right teaching’ of those churches, whether scholastic, catechetical, exegetical, or homiletical, as determined by the standards of the era… Given the diversity of the movement and the fact that Calvin was not the primary author of any of the confessional norms just noted, the better part of historical valor (namely, discretion) requires rejection of the term ‘Calvinist’ and ‘Calvinism’ in favor of the more historically accurate term, ‘Reformed.’

Richard A. Muller | Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Prolegomena to Theology, Second Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 1:29–30.


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