It is, of course, essential to remember that theology is not merely a matter of intellect but also of experience.  Theology is concerned with spiritual realities and must include personal experience as well as ideas.  Pectus facit theologum.  This association of theology with experience will always prevent the former from continuing merely abstract and philosophical.  Dogmatics, as Martensen points out, must come from within the church and not from outside.  It is a science of faith, with faith as its basis and source.  In past days, theology has been too closely limited to metaphysics, intellectualism, and philosophy.  The Articles bear the marks of this tendency of the age which produced them.  But, while the intellectual element must necessarily always be at the basis of every presentation of Christian truth, the intellect is not the only, perhaps not the dominant factor, and other elements must enter.  The feeling, equally with the reason, must share in the consideration of theology because theology is of the heart, and the deepest truths are inextricably bound up with personal needs and experiences.  The moral consciousness of man must also find a place and conscience be allowed to take its part in the provision of a true creed.  This is only one instance out of many which proves the impossibility of limiting ourselves to that which is merely rational, and also the absolute necessity of emphasizing the personal and ethical in our discussion of theology.  Time was when dogmatics and ethics were separated, and the latter regarded as subsidiary and supplementary to the former.  But this is not possible today.  A theology which is not ethical, while it includes ethics, cannot be rightly called theology.

From: The Principles of Theology: An Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles by W. H. Griffith Thomas (London: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1930), p. xxv.


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