‘Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’ (Matt. 16:17). Christian systematic theology takes place in the wake of that breathtaking dominical announcement. Yet it remains an earthly, flesh and blood enterprise, far indeed from the theology of the blessed, communicated to the perfected saints by the permanent intellectual light of the presence of God through the mediation of the Son. It is the rational work of the children of Adam who are only slowly learning what it is to be the children of God. This relativizes systematic theology in the present condition of creaturely infirmity after the Fall; yet it is accompanied by a promise of divine wisdom, already given and to be given again, by which creatures can be conducted from ignorance and unhappiness to knowledge and bliss. If systematic theology is to survive in a culture which has been deprived of a sense that rational creatures have a celestial final cause and which cannot envisage contemplation as a mode of science, it will find itself turning with some urgency to the divine promise.
John Webster, “Principles of Systematic Theology” in International Journal of Systematic Theology 11/1 (January 2009): 71.