(In Chronological Order)
Reformed Systematic Theologies in Latin (All the book titles are in English, as well as many of the tables of contents)
Order of Contents
Luther a Brakel The Fundamentals
. Willard ed. Kidd, B.J.
Hamilton Witsius Clark, D.
Farel Beveridge Warfield, B.B.
Bucer Gastrell Webb, R.
a Lasco Halyburton Boettner, L.
Calvin Edwards, John Lecerf, A.
Bullinger Vanderkemp Kersten, G.H.
Musculus Pictet Berkouwer, G.C.
Vermigli Hellenbroek Berkhof, L.
Beza Boston ed. Henry, C.
Becon Ridgley Buswell
Marbeck Crawford Kuiper, R.B.
Olevian Wyttenback Packer, J.I.
Finch Erskine, R. Murray, J.
11 Confessions Edwards, Jonathan Henry, C.
Zanchi De Ronde Muller, R.
Ursinus Riccaltoun Finlayson, R.A.
Geneva de Moore Reformed Reader
Virel Comrie Smith, M.
Rollock Brown, of Haddington Bahnsen, G.
Hopkins Sproul, R.C.
. Witherspoon Reymond, R.
. Dwight Rushdoony
Perkins Alexander, A.A. Cheung, V.
Bucanus Hill Van Genderen
Cartwright Smith Kelly, D.
Keckermann Dick Gamble, R.
Polanus Belfrage Horton, M.
Parr Alexander, A. Beeke, J.
Rogers Chalmers Bray, G.
Yates Bogue Frame, J.
Ames Pres. of Nova Scotia
Robinson Hodge, A.A.
Andrewes Hodge, C.
Ball van Oosterzee
Fisher Smith, H.B.
Norton Vos, G.
van Mastricht Bavinck
About this Collection
This page intends to be a reasonably comprehensive collection of the major reformed systematic theologies in English since the Reformation that are online. If this collection of 110+ authors is a bit over-whelming for your tastes, see some of our recommendations on what systematic theologies to start with on our Systematic Theology page.
Amongst many other things this collection is valuable for, if you are interested in a particular doctrine of the Christian faith (the call of the gospel, the divine attributes, eschatology, etc), this page allows you to see what various theologians through history have said about it by looking in the appropriate place in their systematic works.
Sometimes works that are of a systematic nature, though they would not narrowly be called systematic theologies, have been included in this collection. Where an author has written on most doctrines of the Christian faith in separate works, those works have attempted to be included as well. This page does not pretend to be exhaustive of the works written in the last several decades. A few of the authors below (usually noted) are not recommended. They are included for historical and comparative interest. If you are unfamiliar with some of the authors, most of them can be found on Wiki.
For additional works to consult, see also some of the numerous lengthy (50-200 page) creeds in James Dennison’s Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries, 4 vols. Buy some of which are virtually systematic theologies. Here is the table of contents to the 4 volumes.
Other works that broadly fall in the systematic category are commentaries on confessions and catechisms. See All of the Commentaries on the Westminster Confession of Faith, on the Shorter Catechism, on the Larger Catechism, and on the Confession and Catechisms. Some others (mainly before the 1700’s) have been included on this page as well, though we hope to collect more on other catechisms in the future. Historical theologies also often cover most of the gamut of theology, such as Cunningham, Shedd, Berkhof, etc. Only a few have been included here.
Sometimes additional copies of these works can be found on PRDL & EEBO. ‘PoD‘ means Print on Demand, which books are of a lower quality. If you would like to suggest works to be added to this page, please contact us through Suggest Improvements.
95 Theses 1517
This is not a complete systematic theology; it only covers soteriology, but it is his most systematic work. Contrary to later Lutheranism (influenced by Melancthon), Luther was very calvinistic, as is demonstrated here.
‘In 29 chapters Zwingli discusses all of the principal topics of Christian theology. The result is the most significant dogmatic work which Zwingli ever wrote and the most important systematic statement of Reformed theology before Calvin’s Institutes.’
Brief Christian Instruction, in Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries, ed. Dennison Buy vol. 1, pp. 9-39
Hamilton, Patrick 1504-1528
Hamilton was a proto-reformer and martyr in Scotland. See Wiki.
A Most Excellent and Fruitful Treatise, called Patrick’s Places concerning the Doctrine of Faith, and the Doctrine of the Law: which being known, you have the pith of all divinity. With a brief collection or exposition of a sum of St. Paul’s doctrine touching Justification by Faith, in Jesus Christ: which is the only mark to shoot at, and the only means to obtain salvation 1598
Farel, William – Summary and Brief Declaration of those points very necessary for each Christian Buy 1529
Common Places Buy reprinted 1972 520 pp.
Of the Reign of Christ Buy d. 1551 Note that the edition in English available for purchase is not complete. See its table of contents in the ‘Look Inside’ preview.
a Lasco, John – A Compendium of Doctrine of the One True Church of God and Christ: the London Confession, in Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries, ed. Dennison Buy vol. 1, pp. 551-583
The Decades Buy
1st & 2nd Decades Word of God, Faith, Apostle’s Creed, Law, Commandments 1-7
3rd Decade Commandments 8-10, Ceremonial & Judicial Laws, Good Works, Sin
4th Decade Gospel, Repentance, Trinity, Providence, Prayer, Christ & Offices, Angels & Soul of Man
5th Decade Church, Ministry, Prayer, Sacraments, Various
A ‘decade’ of sermons is 10 sermons. Bullinger compassed the whole of the Christian faith in 50 sermons.
Musculus, Wolfgang – Common Places of the Christian Religion 1560
A common place was a common subject that was often taken up in discussing the Christian Religion.
Vermigli, Peter Martyr d. 1562
The Common Places of Vermigli 1576
The Table of Contents to this important work, with an Introduction, has recently been made available in a contemporary edition. Read it and wet your taste for more!
Predestination and Justification Buy
Dialogue on the Two Natures in Christ Buy
On the Relation of Philosophy to Theology Buy
The Common Places of Holy Scripture †1567 63 pp. in Prayers and Other Pieces by Thomas Becon, Parker Society
Certain Articles of Christian Religion Proved and Confirmed 87 pp. in Prayers and Other Pieces by Thomas Becon, Parker Society
The Principles of Christian Religion 50 pp. in The Catechism of Thomas Becon with other Pieces, Parker Society
A Firm Foundation: an Aid to Interpreting the Heidelberg Catechism Buy
In 1581, the first Harmony of Protestant Reformed Confessions of Faith was published in Geneva. It was the result of a collaboration between the Huguenot ministers listed above.
They published it in response to the publication of the Lutheran Book of Concord in 1580. It included a comparison of eleven Reformed confessions and the Lutheran Augsburg Confession. In 1842, it was translated into English, reorganized and enlarged by Peter Hall.
Zanchi, Girolamo 1516-1590
The Whole Body of Christian Religion ToC
Confession of the Christian Religion, 2 vols Buy 1586
These were disputations held under the presiding of professors Theodore Beza and Anthony Faius. Only the first 18 of 81 chapters are online.
Virel, Matthew – A Learned and Excellent Treatise Containing all the Principal Grounds of Christian Religion ToC 1594
Rollock, Robert d. 1599
Rollock was perhaps the most important early formulator of covenant theology in Scotland, principally due to this work. A look at the table of contents will show that he covers many of the topics of systematic theology. His main argumentative opponent is Romanism.
Perkins, William, d. 1602
An Abridgement of the Whole Body of Divinity 1654 by Thomas Nicols, being extracts from Perkins’ writings (by Nicols) laid out in systematic form
Bucanus, William – Institutions of Christian Religion Framed out of God’s Word, and the writings of the best divines, methodically handled by questions and answers, fit for all such as desire to know, or practice the Will of God ToC 1st ed. 1602
Bucan (d. 1603) was a professor of divinity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Cartwright, Thomas – A Treatise of Christian Religion, or, the Whole Body and Substance of Divninty ToC d. 1603
Substance of Christian Religion Soundly set forth in two Books, by Definitions and Partitions… Buy
This was a precursor to the following longer work below. This work was translated into English in 1595 and is available by way of fascimile.
A System of Christian Theology, 10 vols. d. 1610 Here is the lengthy Table of Contents in English.
This work is coming available in English on the Bible software Logos, and is currently in the pre-order stage Buy The very reasonable price of $100 is well worth it. For an overview of this important work, see Max Deal’s The Meaning and Method of Systematic Theology in Amandus Polanus.
Parr, Elnathan – The Grounds of Divinity Plainly Discovering the Mysteries of Christian Religion, propounded familiarly in diverse questions and answers: substantially proved by scriptures; expounded faithfully, according to the writings of the best divines, and evidently applyed by profitable uses, for the help and benefit of the unlearned which desire knowledge. To the which is prefixed a very profitable treatise, containing an exhortation to the study of the Word, with singular directions for the hearing and reading of the same. ToC 1614
Rogers, Thomas – An Exposition of the 39 Articles
Rogers (1553-1616) was an Anglican clergyman and, unfortunately, an early opponent of Nicholas Bownde in the Sabbatarian controversy. Augustus Toplady praised Rogers’ Exposition.
Yates, John – A Model of Divinity, Catechistically Composed, wherein is Delivered the Matter and Method of Religion, according to the Creed, Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments ToC 1622
Yates (†1657) was a reformed, English minister in St Andrews in Norwich.
Mayer, John – The English Catechism Explained 1623 680 pp.
Mayer was English and reformed. He was perhaps best known for his commentary on the entire Bible.
New Essays, or Observations Divine and Moral in Works, vol. 1
Robinson (1576–1625) was a pilgrim father, a separatist and reformed in his soteriology.
A Defence of the Doctrine Propounded by the Synod at Dort in Works, vol. 1
A Survey of the Confession of Faith Published in Certain Conclusions by the Remainders of Mr. Smyth’s Company Table of Contents in Of Religious Communion, Private and Public in Works, vol. 3
A Catechism 11 pp. in Works, vol. 3
Polyander, Rivet, Walaeus, Thysius – Synopsis of a Purer Theology Buy 1625
This standard and very influential Dutch textbook of systematic theology was compiled from the lectures of the four professors and their students. Only volume one is available, though volumes 2 and 3 are scheduled to be available by 2018. The ebook is much cheaper than the print edition.
Andrewes, Lancelot – A Pattern of Catechistical doctrine, and other minor works PoD 1626
Andrewes (1555-1626) was a reformed Anglican.
This work has been translated in ‘Reformed Dogmatics: Seventeenth-Century Reformed Theology’, ed. John Beardslee
A Short Treatise containing all the Principal Grounds of Christian Religion, by way of questions and answers, very profitable for all sorts of men, but especially for householders, whereunto are added several questions by the reverend author’s own pen to clear the exposition 1631 380 pp.
A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace 1645 380 pp.
The Bible’s Abstract and Epitome, the Capital Heads, Examples, Sentences, and Precepts of all the Principal Matters in Theology: Collected Together for the most part alphabetically, with the doctrine and uses compendiously explained of all the chief points therein contained, taken out of the best modern divines ToC 1642
Expositions of Catechisms
The Common Catechism with a Commentary thereupon, by Questions and Answers, following the very words, as they lie in their order without alteration ToC 1630
A Double Catechism, one more large, Following the Order of the Common Authorized Catechism, and an Exposition Thereof ToC 1607
Good Christian look to thy Creed, for a True Trial of an Holy Profession, and of the Truth of Religion, from all crooked bypaths ToC 1630
Joshua’s Godly Resolution in Conference with Caleb, Touching Household Government for Well Ordering a Family with a Twofold Catechism for instruction of youth; the first short, for the weaker sort, set forth in six principal points; the latter large for other of greater growth, and follows the order of the Common Authorized Catechism, and is an Explanation thereof ToC 1612
Maccovius, John – Scholastic Discourse Buy 1644
Maccovius was a supralapsarian Polish theologian. Per Dr. Ryan McGraw, Dr. Herman Selderhuis is working to have this work put on the web for free soon.
Ussher, James – A Body of Divinity, or the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion Buy 1645
This work became popular in the Scotland in the early 1700’s (and since) at its republication by the influence of Thomas Boston. It covers covenant theology, the Law, soteriology, sanctification and practical living, and so hits many or most of the topics of systematic theology.
Fenner, William – The Spiritual Man’s Directory. Guiding a Christian in the Path that leads to true Blessedness in his three main Duties towards God: How To Believe, To Obey, and to Pray, Unfolding the Creed, 10 Commandments and the Lords Prayer PoD 1651
The first book in his works specifically, ‘The Common Principles of the Christian Religion’, treats of much of Christian theology in 25 sermons.
Lyford, William – The Instructed Christian, or the Plain Man’s Senses Exercised to Discern Both Good and Evil, being a discovery of the Errors, Heresies, and Blasphemies of these Times, and the Toleration of them… †1653 350 pp.
Dury, John – A Summary Platform of the Heads of a Body of Practical Divinity 1654, 12 pages, with a letter from Archbishop James Ussher recommending that such a body of practical divinity be written
John Dury (1596-1680) grew up with connections to the heads of state, and was advised by an eminent chaplain that to reconcile the divisions of the protestant churches would be the greatest work of peacemaking (Matt 5:9) that one could do. Dury subsequently devoted his entire adult life’s work to this end, with indefatigable journeys, letter writing and conferencing among the leading church figures of the day. The titles of his many writings also bear out this purpose.
This particular work is the first part of a brief summary outline of practical scriptural living and ethics, intended as an ecumenical effort to unite churches abroad. Previous to this work, a letter was written by William Gouge, Obadiah Sedgwick and others to James Ussher asking him to lead a joint project to write such a body of divinity. Ussher was favorable to the project but it was interrupted by the English Civil War. Other signers to this effort included: John Downame, George Walker, Adoniram Byfield, Sidrach Simpson, Richard Culverwell, George Hughes and Joseph Symonds. Dury ended up writing the desired outline of practical divinity. HT: Andrew Myers.
A Treatise of Divinity Consisting of Three Books: the First of which handling the Scripture or Word of God, treats of its divine authority, the canonical books, the authentic edition, and several versions, the end, properties, and interpretation of Scripture; the Second handling God, shows that there is a God, and what He is, in his essence and several attributes, and likewise the distinction of persons in the divine essence; the Third handles the three principal works of God, decree, creation and providence 1646
A Treatise of the Divine Promises in Five Books: in the first, a general description of their nature, kinds, excellency, right use, properties, and the persons to whom they belong; in the four last, a declaration of the covenant it self 1641
Leigh, Norton – The Orthodox Evangelist, or a Treatise wherein many great Evangelical Truths are Briefly Discussed, Cleared and Confirmed 1654 The table of contents is on p. 356 with a subject index following
Norton was a New England puritan who wrote the biography of John Cotton.
van Mastricht, Peter – Theoretical-Practical Theology 1655
The is systematic of the German born, Dutch professor of theology after the Voetius tradition is currently being translated from the Latin and Dutch into English by the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.
Clarke, Samuel – Medulla Theologiae, or the Marrow of Divinity contained in Sundry Questions and Cases of Conscience, both Speculative and Practical, the Greatest Part of them Collected out of the Works of our Most Judicious, Experienced and Orthodox English Divines 1659
This Samuel Clarke (1599-1682) was reformed, puritan in the Church of England and a writer of ecclesiastical biographies. He is to be distinguished from the Bible Annotator Samuel Clarke (1626–1701), who was a non-conformist and had Baxterian influences.
Lawson, George – Theo-Politica, or, a Body of Divinity containing the Rules of the Special Government of God, according to which, He orders the immortal and intellectual creatures, angels, and men, to their final and eternal estate: being a method of those saving truths which are contained in the Canon of the Holy Scripture, and abridged in those words of our Savior Jesus Christ, which were the ground and foundation of those apostolical creeds and forms of confessions, related by the ancients, and, in particular, by Irenæus, and Tertullian Buy 1659
Dickson, David – Truth’s Victory Over Error: or the True Principles of the Christian Religion Buy 1662, being the first positive commentary on the Westminster Confession. It is polemical in nature.
Voetius, Gisbert – Politica Ecclesiastica, 4 vols. 1663
A portion of this work, ‘Concerning Practical Theology,’ has been translated in John Beardslee’s ‘Reformed Dogmatics: Seventeenth-Century Reformed Theology’ Buy
Ambrose, Isaac d. 1664
The first things are regeneration and the beginning of the godly life. The middle things are secret, private and pubic ordinances for sanctification. The last things are meditations on life, death, judgment, hell, the sufferings of Christ and heaven.
Gouge, Thomas – The Principles of Religion Explained to the Capacity of the Meanest, with Practical Applications to Each Head 1668 128 pp. †1681
While not a complete systematic theology in the traditional sense, this work includes four parts: (1) Christian Ethics (Private Duties), (2) Christian Economics (Family Duties), (3) Christian Ecclesiastics (Church Duties), and (4) Christian Politics (Corporate/Civic Duties). These volumes do not contain Baxter’s errors on justification found in other works of his.
Polhill, Edward 1673
See his works at PRDL. Polhill touches on many of the many of the topics of systematic theology, including the divine attributes, the atonement, Christ, Faith, etc. He was a Hypothetical Universalist, and defends it at length.
Vincent, Thomas – An Explicatory Catechism; or, An Explanation of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Buy d. 1678
Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 vols. Buy 1679–1685 translated by James Dennison Jr.
Various Puritans – Puritan Sermons: The Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, vols. 5, 6 Buy 1659-1689
This 6 volume set of puritan sermons was given over a 30 year period in the late 1600’s on weekday mornings by puritan ministers near London. Vol. 5, in 28 sermons, briefly compasses the whole of the Christian Faith, though it is not online. Vol. 6 is another set of sermons against the many tenets of Romanism, which is of a similar systematic nature. Here is a table of contents to all of the volumes. The set is well worth your $180, being less than the weekly food budget of many people.
Nicholson was a reformed Anglican.
Leighton, Robert – Works, vol. 4 d. 1684
Leighton (1611-84) was a reformed, evangelical and pious Scottish bishop. This volume includes his Theological Lectures, a short catechism and his expositions of the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 Commandments.
Anonymous – Catechism made practical: the Christian instructed I. in the principles of Christian religion, positively, in the shorter [English] catechism, II. in what he is to refuse, and what to hold fast in the greatest points of controversy, III. in the practice of several duties, viz., (1) the practical improvement of the Holy Trinity, (2) baptism, (3) prayer, and (4) preparation for the Lord’s Supper ToC 1688
Bates, William d. 1699
Including: A Treatise on the Existence of God, The Immortality of the Soul, The Divinity of the Christian Religion, and The Harmony of Divine Attributes in in the contrivance and accomplishment of man’s redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Including: The Everlasting Rest of the Saints in Heaven; The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
Howe, John †1705
Christian Theology: Selected and Systematically Arranged ed. by Samuel Dunn 1836 522 pp.
Howe was an English dissenting minister. This is an anthology of Howe’s writings put together as a systematic theology by Dunn.
“As a minister, I have derived more benefit from the works of Howe, than from those of all other divines put together. there is an astounding magnificence in his conceptions.” – Rev. Robert Hall
Willard, Samuel – A Complete Body of Divinity in 250 expository lectures on the assembly’s Shorter Catechism Buy PoD 1726, d. 1707
Willard was a New England puritan.
Witsius wrote a systematic theology through the lens and outline of the covenants of God. He took a mediating position between that of Voetius and Cocceius. His exposition of the Lord’s Prayer and Apostles’ Creed below also cover a large gamut of theology.
Beveridge was a reformed, bishop in the Church of England (this is not the same Beveridge that translated Calvin’s Institutes).
Gastrell was a reformed Anglican.
While this is not a systematic theology, the first three volumes (of four) of the modern reprint cover much of the substance of Christian theology. Halyburton was an influential Scot.
Edwards, John d. 1716
Theologia Reformata: or, The Body and Substance of the Christian Religion, comprised in distinct discourses or treatises upon the Apostles creed, the Lord’s prayer, and the Ten Commandments; in two volumes. The whole adjusted to the Sacred Scriptures and the judgement of the Protestant Reformed Churches, vols. 1, 2 1713
John Edwards (1637–1716) was a reformed Anglican, the son of Thomas Edwards, who wrote the famed book ‘Gangraena’ in the 1640’s.
Pictet, Benedict – Christian Theology d. 1724
Pictet was the Swiss professor of divinity in Geneva after Turretin. He was the last to hold the orthodox faith there before the rise of the Enlightenment.
Hellenbroek, Abraham – A Specimen of Divine Truths for the instruction of Youth, who prepare themselves for a confession of their Faith IA †1731 100 pp.
A Brief Explication of the First Part of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism †1732 133 pp. in Works, vol. 7, pp. 9-142 The commentary is up through Question #38.
The fourfold state of man is: (1) Upright in Eden, (2) Fallen in Adam, (3) Regenerate in Christ, (4) Glorified in heaven. A look at the table of contents will show that he hits many of the topics of systematic theology under these heads.
These were sermons preached through the Larger Catechism.
Crawford, William – A Short Practical Catechism wherein there is an Instruction in the principal Articles of the Christian Religion 1745 186 pp.
Crawford (1676-1742) was a minister in England.
Erskine, Ralph – Works, vol. 10 d. 1752
This is virtually a systematic theology in poetry. Though it does not hit every topic, it does hit most. This volume is volume 7 in the 7 volume series of Erskine’s Works that is more commonly available for sale. The Free Presbyterians recently reprinted the first 6 volumes, but not the seventh. There is much left out of this last volume in the ‘Gospel Sonnets’ paperback reprint by SGCB. For another systematic work in verse, see that of Benjamin Keach in Reformed Baptist Systematic Theologies.
While Edwards never wrote a systematic theology, he did write treatises on: Original Sin, Eschatology (A History of the Work of Redemption), Predestination and Free-will, Ethics, Apologetics, and the Eternal state, and was very influential on later theologians that did write systematic theologies. His sermons cover about every other topic not in the previous list. The 2 volume edition is handy, but if you are not satisfied (and are rich), try his 26 volume complete works from Yale. Buy
De Ronde, Lambertus – A System Containing the Principles of the Christian Religion, suitable to the Heidelberg Catechism Buy PoD 1763
Riccaltoun, Robert – ‘Essays on Human Nature and Several Doctrines of Revelation’ 1771 455 pp. being vol. 1 of his Works
Riccaltoun (1691-1769) was one of the leading Marrow Men. Not a whole systematic theology, but a substantial coverage.
de Moor, Bernard – Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Didactic-Elenctic Compendium of Christian Theology Buy 1761- 1772
Only volume 1 is presently (2015) available, but look for further volumes in the future. As portions are translated, excerpts are being put up at the blog. Here is a review of the first volume by Dr. Ryan McGraw.
Comrie, Alexander – The ABC’s of Faith Buy d. 1774 182 pages
Comrie (1706-1774) was Dutch reformed.
Brown, John, of Haddington
Brown is noted for his Biblicism: his citing of many scripture verses to establish each of his points.
Hopkins, Samuel – The System of Doctrines contained in divine revelation explained and defended, vols. 1, 2 Not recommended Buy PoD 1793 This is here for reference.
Hopkins followed Jonathan Edwards and advocated for a modified Calvinism, known as the New Divinity which was erroneous on numerous points. For a list of Hopkinsianism’s distinctive tenets, see Wiki.
Witherspoon, John d. 1794
Containing ‘an Essay on Justification’ and ‘a Treatise on Regeneration’.
Mather, Moses – A Systematic View of Divinity, or the Ruin and Recovery of Man 1813 245 pp.
Mather (1719-1806) was a New England, puritan minister of the older variety.
Dwight, Timothy – Theology: Explained and Defended in a Series of Sermons, vols. 1, 2, 3, 4 Buy d. 1817
Dwight followed in the steps of the New England school after Jonathan Edwards (see Hopkins above). He denied the imputation of Adam’s guilt to his posterity, but other than that, he was pretty good. Joel Beeke has a very good introduction to his life and theology in the Solid Ground Christian Books reprint of this text.
Alexander, Archibald, A.
A Brief Compend of Bible Truth 1846 210 pp.
Alexander, in the Preface:
“The volume now given to the public comprises a brief system of theology, and may be found useful to such as may not have the opportunity of studying larger works. As it is not intended for the learned, but for plain, common readers, technical phrases and abstruse disquisitions have been avoided; yet, the author has attempted to establish every doctrine advanced, by solid arguments, derived from reason and Scripture.”
Lecture Notes of Archibald Alexander on Systematic Theology 1818 284 pp. being a hand-written manuscript by Charles Hodge
Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary. His lectures on Theology are unavailable in any other form. A treasure.
Table of Contents
1. Philosophy of the Mind 1
2. Theology 19
3. Revealed Theology 37
4. Prophecy 44
5. Inspiration 53
6. Attributes 61
7. Scientia Media (Middle Knowledge) 72
8. Trinity 87
9. Decrees 109
10. Predestination 117
11. Election 121
12. Reprobation 131
13. Creation 135
14. Providence 147
15. The Covenant of Nature, or of Works 193
16. On the Will 221-263
Hill, George d. 1819
Hill was a leader of the moderate party (contra the evangelicals) in Scotland. His textbook was widely influential, and according to Thomas Chalmers, was orthodox, though without the warm fervor that should attend evangelical doctrine. Chalmers used the work with his students of divinity as a platform for his own lectures. See Chalmers’ assessment of Hill’s divinity here.
This is comprised of 3 parts: (1) Heads of Lectures in Divinity, (2) View of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland, (3) The Pastoral Office: public and private duties.
Smith was an orthodox presbyterian in New York during the early 1800’s. His theology is sound and good.
Dick was an orthodox Scottish professor of theology in the Secession tradition. Excellent systematic.
Belfrage, Henry – A Practical Exposition of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism: Exhibiting a System of Theology in a Popular Form, and Particularly Adapted for Family Instruction, vols. 1, 2 1834
Belfrage was an orthodox Scottish secessionist minister.
Originally published for the blind, a winsome and easy to read summary of Bible truth. Great for beginners and young people.
Chalmers, Thomas d. 1847
Chalmers was a moderate turned evangelical and was one of the great leaders of the Free Church of Scotland.
Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity 265 pages
Chalmers initially, before he wrote his own Institute of Theology, used George Hill’s (see above) Lectures in Divinity as a platform for lecturing to his students. The first three pages give Chalmers’ assessment of Hill.
Bogue was a Scot who became a congregationalist in England and wrote the 3 volume, History of the Dissenters.
Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia – A Course of Study in Systematic and Pastoral Theology and Ecclesiastical History 1857
This contains only outlines of 130+ lectures on systematic theology. The outlines themselves are very good, and the books for further reference listed at the end of each outline are even better.
A.A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and followed his father as a professor of systematic theology at Princeton.
Cunningham, William d. 1861
Cunningham was one of the bright lights of the Free Church of Scotland. His historical theology covers most off the gamut of systematic theology, along with his work below on the theology of the Reformation.
These lectures cover the content of chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession on Scripture.
Discussions on Church Principles: Popish, Erastian and Presbyterian, Buy 1863, 565 pages, with a four page preface by James Buchanan and James Bannerman
Heppe collected a compendium of quotes from early reformed sources and organized them in the fashion of a systematic theology (many of which are inaccessible otherwise). Invaluable. Heppe gives a special emphasis to the German Reformed tradition. Here is a helpful blog review of the book with the table of contents to the first three chapters.
Popular treatments of the practical teachings of Christianity aimed to produce holiness
Familiar Lord’s Day afternoon addresses to Princeton students, arranged in topical fashion
vol. 1 – Theology, 625 pages
vol. 2 – Anthropology, vol. 2, 695 pages
vol. 3 – Soteriology and Eschatology, 800 pages
Index, 120 pages
Hodge’s systematic is a classic and has rightly earned him a place as one of America’s preeminent theologians. Below are some helpful accessories to his systematic:
Systematic Theology: a Series of Questions Upon the Lectures Delivered Buy PoD 1865, 150 pages, by Charles Hodge
Questions on the Text of the Systematic Theology of Dr. Charles Hodge: Together with an Exhibition of Various Schemes Illustrating the Principles of Theological Construction Buy PoD 1885, 196 pages, by A.A. Hodge, his son and successor at Princeton
Breckinridge, Robert 1869
Oosterzee (1817 – 1882) was an orthodox Dutch professor of systematic theology at the University of Utrecht.
Volume 1: Theological; 2: Theological and Ethical; 3: Theological and Controversial; 4: Ecclesiastical
Discussions Buy 1890 This is the unedited version. The Banner of Truth edition is heavily edited.
Plumer, William d. 1880
A systematic theology for children.
Something of a plain and simple systematic theology for regular people.
‘Earnest hours’ was the term for the hours of Saturday evening before the Lord’s Day, as we ought to prepare for the Lord’s Day, and hence be earnest in these hours. The book contains many systematic topics.
Smith was the professor of systematic theology at Union Theological seminary. He has some German liberal influences.
Girardeau, John L.
This book covers the gamut of the breadth of soteriology.
Discussions of Philosophical Questions, 1900, 532 pages
A modern title to this book would be “Conflict of Worldviews”. This work and the below work contain much of Girardeau’s writings on systematic issues. Many in his day desired him to write a systematic theology, but it did not happen.
Discussions of Theological Questions Buy 534 pages, see the ‘Buy’ link for the table of contents.
Contains, amongst other things, Girardeau’s significant contribution on the doctrine of adoption and the Fatherhood of God over all creation.
The Federal Theology: its Import and its Regulative Influence Buy 55 pages
A discussion of the nature and importance of Federal Headship, Imputation and Covenant Theology. An important contribution.
This is Girardeau’s significant contribution to the topic of Predestination. In it, he (rightly) critiques Jonathan Edwards’ philosophical necessitarianism.
Schaff is most well-known for his volumes on the history of the Christian Church and also his Creeds of Christendom. He was a professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary in New York in the late-1800. His denomination stemmed from the German Reformed tradition, though he was a particular proponent of the Mercersburg theology (not recommended). He also had some German/liberal influences.
Orr was originally in the Free Church of Scotland, though joined with the merger in 1900 into the United Free Church of Scotland. He became a professor with the latter, and consistent with the trajectory, had some weak (erroneous) points in his theology, the the whole of it was mainly sound and conservative.
This is Orr’s work on historical theology.
Denny was a professor in systematic theology and the N.T. from 1897-1915 at Glasgow College, Scotland. He defended orthodoxy from liberalism but was willing to concede that the Bible might contain minor errors.
Vos, Geerhardus – Reformed Dogmatics, 5 vols. Buy 1896
This very significant systematic was only translated from the Dutch by Richard Gaffin in the last few years. Currently (2015) only the first three volumes are in print, but all five volumes are available on Logos, the Bible software system (for a cheaper price).
Our Reasonable Faith, Buy 1956, 576 pages, a one volume popular digest of his four volume Reformed Dogmatics
Reformed Dogmatics, 4 volumes, Buy 3,024 pages
A major contribution to systematic theology from the Dutch church. Bavinck is always careful, balanced and historical in his treatment of Biblical doctrines. You won’t go wrong with him. Put down your modern systematic theologies and read a real theologian.
Macpherson was an eminent professor of Free Church of Scotland.
Various – The Fundamentals, 4 vols. Buy 1909
This was the foundational work of fundamentalism as a counter-response to the growing liberalism of the day. These volumes were intended to be a systematic defense of Christianity against liberal errors. It includes 100 articles authored by leading scholars including B. B. Warfield, James Orr, G. Campbell Morgan, Charles Erdman, H. C. G. Moule, and Bishop Ryle. This set is solid. It does not contain the numerous distinctive weaknesses that fundamentalism would later develop.
‘Kidd compiled over 350 selections from crucial Lutheran and Reformed documents. This work was a standard in classrooms for years. It is primarily of value to academics, since many of the selections are in Latin and French. Included are documents predating the Lutheran reformation, through the Ninety-five Theses, to the Peace of Augsburg (1555). The Reformed tradition is represented by Zwingli, Farel, and Calvin, including the disputes with Anabaptists. The collection closes with a selection of Calvinism beyond Geneva, with representative documents from France, the Netherlands, and Scotland.’
David Clark was Gordon Clark’s father. The book is dedicated to the Princeton scholars A.A. Hodge, Francis Patton and John Cairns, his professors in systematic theology.
Warfield, Benjamin, B. d. 1921
Works, vol. 1 – Revelation and Inspiration Buy
Warfield, an old Princeton scholar, was one of the greatest Biblical scholars of the 20th century.
Works, vol. 9 – Biblical and Theological Studies Buy
The Person and Work of Christ Buy
An exhaustive book-length, Biblical defense of the divinity of Christ from nearly every N.T. passage that related to it.
This is a very important work. It lays out systematically the differing views of the order of God’s decrees and argues for Calvinistic Infralapsarianism.
This has a similar layout as John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied. The Doctrine of Christian Salvation is salvation accomplished; the experience of it is salvation applied.
The Reformed Doctrine of Adoption Buy
This is one of the few book length works that reformed theology has given us on the doctrine of adoption. In it is included the doctrine of the covenants, related doctrines of salvation and of the Fatherhood of God over all mankind by creation.
Theology of Infant Salvation Buy
Webb argues Biblically and historically that all infants dying in infancy are elect and go to heaven (a popular view amongst 1800’s reformed American theologians). This work touches on much of soteriology, though this webmaster has found the Biblical (and some of the historical arguments) unpersuasive.
Studies in Theology Buy
While not a complete systematic theology, it includes sections on: 1) Inspiration of Scripture, 2) Christian Supernaturalism, 3) The Trinity, 4) The Person of Christ and 5) The Atonement.
Boettner argues for postmillennialism
Lecerf, Auguste – An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics Buy d. 1943
Dr. Lecerf (1872-1943) was a professor in the Protestant Faculty of Theology, University of Paris and was an orthodox calvinist.
Kersten, G.H. – Reformed Dogmatics, 2 vols. Buy d. 1948
Kersten (1882-1948) was a very high calvinist, Dutch-American, reformed theologian. Though orthodox, the denominarion he helped to lead, the Netherlands Reformed Congregations, has since become hyper-calvinistic.
Berkouwer, G.C. – Studies in Dogmatics,14 volumes Buy 1949–1972
Berkouwer was a professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam (the university that Abraham Kuyper started in Holland) from 194-1976. He comes from a critical reformed perspective and is weak on
Scripture and Election.
One of the best, easy to read introductions to the Christian faith at the beginner level.
Manual of Christian Doctrine Buy 372 pages
A concise and easy to read, medium length abridgment of his Systematic Theology
Introduction to Systematic Theology Buy
This covers Prolegomena issues such as theological definition and method, and General and Special Revelation. It was published initially as a separate work and has not always been included in editions of the his systematic theology.
This is a classic, brief, one volume systematic theology. It was originally intended to be an abbreviated summary of the thought of Bavinck’s four volume Reformed Dogmatics. The online link does not include Berkhof’s introduction to systematic theology, though the copy for purchase linked does.
Various – Contemporary Evangelical Thought: Basic Christian Doctrines, ed. Carl Henry Buy 1962, 301 pages
This contains 43 chapters, in systematic form, from many of the leading evangelical teachers in America from the mid-1900’s, including: Allis,Berkouwer, Bromiley, F.F. Bruce, Buswell, Geldenhuys, Gerstner, Hoekema, Philip Hughes, Klooster, Leon Morris, Motyer, John Murray, Roger Nicole, J.I. Packer, Van Til et al.
Buswell was a professor of systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary from 1956-70. While reformed and presbyterian, he has broad evangelical influences, is premillennial and defends evidential apologetics.
Kuiper, R.B. d. 1966
The Bible Tells us So Buy
This is a short systematic for beginners. At the same time it is worth the reference of the advanced student to read the concise thoughts of this great Dutch-American theologian.
The Glorious Body of Christ Buy
This is a medium length systematic theology on the Church. Unique in its field, solid, balanced and very much worth the read.
Knowing God Buy
Concise Theology: a Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs Buy 288 pages
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God Buy 126 pages
Collected Writings, vols. 1, 2 of 4 Buy d. 1975
Volumes 1 and 2 hit most of the topics of systematic theology. Much of the content can be found online at Monergism.
Redemption Accomplished and Applied Buy
This covers most of soteriology and is some of the best on the topic.
The Imputation of Adam’s Sin Buy
Invaluable for clearly discerning and navigating the issues.
Christian Baptism Buy
Murray expounds numerous issues related to baptism, including its meaning, who should be baptized, infant baptism and baptism by sprinkling.
Henry, Carl – God, Revelation and Authority, 6 vols. Buy 1976-83
Henry was an influential evangelical of the mid-1900’s and professor of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. His work is massive, philosophical and something of a bedrock in its field. While not a complete systematic theology, it is a more than complete defense of the doctrine of God and revelation.
Muller, Richard – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 4 vols. Buy 1987
Muller is one of the world’s leading reformed historians. This set is why. Muller analyzes and summarizes both the reformation and later puritan theology of the 1500-1600’s in the layout of a systematic theology. The four volumes do not include the whole of systematic theology, but only the beginning part, including: (1) Prolegomena (beginning things), (2) Holy Scripture, (3) God’s nature and attributes, and (4) the Triunity of God.
Finlayson, R.A. – Reformed Theological Writings Buy d. 1989 272 pages
Finlayson was one of the last century’s best reformed theologians in the world, though unknown to many in America. He was a professor of systematic theology in the Free Church of Scotland. This, one of his main works, follows the order of the Westminster Confession in expositing the Christian faith. Though this is a medium sized work, the most knowledgeable person in systematics will find many insights and much that is original and helpful.
ed. Johnson, William & John Leith – Reformed Reader: A Sourcebook in Christian Theology: Volume 1: Classical Beginnings, 1519-1799 Buy 1993 See the ‘Look Inside’ link on the Buy link for the table of contents and a preview.
This volume, as it is an anthology for early Reformed Theology laid out in systematic form (some of which selections are not easily available elsewhere), is great. Volume 2, from 1800 to the modern day, is largely a collection of liberal ambiguity and is not worthy your time or money.
Systematic Theology, 2 volumes Buy 1994
Smith was a founding professor of both RTS, Jackson and Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. This set is something of the form of notes that he used for much of his classes on systematics. His focus is on the Dutch and Southern Presbyterians.
Testimony Buy 1986 148 pp.
This work is a brief systematic overview of Christian theology at the beginner or intermediate level.
Bahnsen, Greg – ‘Outline of Systematic Theology’ †1955 41 pp. This outline was designed for eldership training
Sproul, R.C. (in order of simple to more in-depth)
Essential Truths of the Christian Faith Buy 1998
Sproul writes for the person in between an adult Sabbath school class and seminary. Sproul systematically explains 100 doctrines of the Christian faith. If you are a new Christian, this book will be helpful; if otherwise, see below.
What is Reformed Theology? Understanding the Basics Buy
Sproul covers foundations of the Reformed Faith and the 5-Points of Calvinism.
Everyone’s a Theologian: an Introduction to Systematic Theology Buy
A step up from the previous work, but perhaps one of the most readable and engaging beginner systematic theologies out there. Great for the common Christian.
Chosen by God Buy
The modern, beginner classic on unconditional election and God’s full predestination. This work has taught a whole generation of emerging reformed folk. The weakness of the book is that it is a bit school-book-like and is lacking in experiential relevance, savor and depth. For the latter see works on the same topic by John Newton or Charles Spurgeon.
Truths we Confess: a Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, 3 vols. Buy 2006-7
A commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, forming a layman’s Systematic Theology.
Reymond, Robert – A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith Buy 1998 1,210 pp.
This is one of the better newer systematic theologies. Reymond was a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary for over 25 years. Reymond follows in the lead of Gordon Clark on numerous issues. See the review of W. Gary Crampton.
The work does have important weaknesses to stay away from, including the non-Augustinian teaching that time is co-ordinate with God, and, in some editions, a bringing into question the Son’s eternal begotteness.
Since 2000 (9)
Rushdoony (1916–2001) was something of the father of the modern Reconstructionist and Theonomy movement. He often uses innovative paradigms, and, for that reason, is not always a reliable guide.
This systematic is self published. Cheung largely follows in the footsteps of Gordon Clark and emphasizes philosophical aspects of the Christian faith. The systematic does not include sections on ecclessiology and eschatology. Other works of his, some of which are of a systematic nature, are here.
Van Genderen and Velema – Concise Reformed Dogmatics Buy 2008, 944 pages
See Dr. McGraw’s review. For an extensive review, see James E. Dolezal, The Confessional Presbyterian, vol. 5, 2009, 278-283.
Kelly, Douglas – Systematic Theology, 3 vols. Buy 2009
Kelly was a long-time professor at RTC Charlotte. Only the first two volumes are out now (2015). The third will be coming, Lord willing, shortly.
Gamble, Richard – The Whole Counsel of God: Volume 1: God’s Mighty Acts in the Old Testament Buy 2009, 718 pp.
See Dr. McGraw’s review.
Horton, Michael – The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way Buy 2011, 1052 pp.
See Dr. McGraw’s review.
Beeke, Joel and Mark Jones – A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life Buy 2012, 1060 pp.
Here are 60 chapters, each analyzing the puritans, or a given puritan, on a specific doctrine, laid out after the form of a systematic theology. While this volume will be welcome to any that love the puritans, contains much heart religion and valuable contributions are made on numerous topics, sometimes the chapters read like a series of 20 page seminary papers.
God is Love: a Biblical and Systematic Theology Buy 2012 768 pp.
God has Spoken: a History of the Christian Theology Buy 2014
The Faith we Confess: an Exposition of the 39 Articles Buy 2009
The Doctrine of God Buy 1992
The Church: a Theological and Historical Account Buy 2016 288 pp.
Yours is the Kingdom: a Systematic Theology of the Lord’s Prayer Buy 2007, 208 pp.
editor, Documents of the English Reformation Buy 1995 674
‘The Trinity: Where do we go from here?’ in ed. McGowan, A.T., Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology Buy 2007 365 pp.
editor, We Believe in One God (Ancient Christian Doctrine) Buy 2009, 201 pp.
Knowing Jesus Buy 1986 192 pp.
A Christian Theological Language Buy 1989 38 pp.
Frame, John – Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Christian Belief Buy 2013 View the table of contents through the ‘Look Inside’ link on Amazon.