(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
Melancthon Howe ed. Kidd, B.J.
Zwingli Willard Clark, D.
Hamilton Witsius Warfield, B.B.
Farel Beveridge Webb, R.
Rhegius Machen, J.
Bucer Gastrell Boettner, L.
a Lasco Halyburton Lecerf, A.
Calvin Edwards, John Kersten, G.H.
Viret Vanderkemp Berkouwer, G.C.
Bullinger Doutrin Berkhof, L.
Musculus Pictet ed. Henry, C.
Vermigli Wishart Buswell
Beza Hellenbroek Kuiper, R.B.
Becon Boston Packer, J.I.
Bunny Ridgley Hoeksema
Bres Crawford Murray, J.
Marbeck Wyttenbach Henry, C.
Olevian Doddridge Boice, J.M.
Gifford Erskine, R. Muller, R.
Prime Edwards, Jonathan Finlayson, R.A.
Finch De Ronde Reformed Reader
11 Confessions Riccaltoun Smith, M.
Zanchi de Moore Bahnsen, G.
Ursinus Comrie Sproul, R.C.
Geneva Brown, of Haddington Reymond, R.
. Mather Rushdoony
Perkins Smith, S. Cheung, V.
Bucanus Dwight Van Genderen
Cartwright Alexander, A.A. Kelly, D.
Keckermann Hill Gamble, R.
Polanus Smith Horton, M.
Trelcatius Dick Beeke, J.
Parr Belfrage Bray, G.
Rogers Chalmers Frame, J.
Baynes Bogue Beeke & Smalley
Yates Woods Letham, R.
Ames Pres. of Nova Scotia
Robinson Hodge, A.A.
Andrewes Hodge, C.
Ball van Oosterzee
Macovius Smith, H.B.
Binning Vos, G.
Leigh Kuyper, A.
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 175+ 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.
Theological Common Places Buy 1521
Though Melanchthon was a Lutheran, his production was the first systematic theology of the Reformation, and as it was very influential on reformed systematic theologies following shortly thereafter, so it is placed here.
‘…the first Protestant dogmatics, as it is sometimes called, represents the work of a young man writing at the very beginning of the Lutheran Reformation.’ – W. Pauck
A Weighing and Considering of the Interim ([London, 1548]) 54 pp.
The Justification of Man by Faith Only… (London, 1548) 79 pp.
ed. Jackson, Samuel – Ulrich Zwingli: Early Writings Buy (Wipf & Stock, 2000)
ed. Pipkin, H. & E. Furcha – Huldrych Zwingli: Writings, 2 vols. Buy (Pickwick, 1984)
‘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
A Declaration of the Twelve Articles of the Christian Faith with Annotations of the Holy Scripture, where they be grounded in. And the Right Foundation & Principal Common Places of the Whole Godly Scripture, a goodly short declaration to all Christians profitable and necessary for to come to the right understanding of Holy Scripture, compiled for the commodity of all christian people (London, 1548)
Rhegius (1489–1541) was a Protestant Reformer who was active both in Northern and Southern Germany in order to promote Lutheran unity in the Holy Roman Empire. He was also a popular poet. Luther referred to him as the “Bishop of Lower Saxony”.
Rhegius began to support the Reform movement in 1521 (having succeeded Johannes Oecolampadius in Augsburg) and became an arbitor between the different views on the Eucharist expressed by Luther and Zwingli. In 1530 he was one of the collaborators (along with Luther and others) who created the Augsburg Confession.
A Little Treatise after the manner of an epistle written by the famous clerk, Dr. Urbanus Regius, unto a special friend of his wherein he declares the cause of the great controversy that has been [and] is yet at this day in the christian religion and also the diversity between the right worshipping [and] service of God and the ceremonies invented by man’s institution, very fruitful and profitable (London, 1548) 52 pp.
Much of this is very good, though he does take the Lutheran view of the matter (which is clear near the end).
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
Viret (1511-1571) was a Swiss reformed theologian, reformer and professor of theology at Lausanne.
A Christian Instruction, Containing the Law and the Gospel. Also a Summary of the Principal Points of the Christian Faith & Religion, and of the abuses and errors contrary to the same. Done in certain dialogues 1573
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.
A common place was a common subject that was often taken up in discussing the Christian Religion.
Vermigli, Peter Martyr d. 1562
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!
A Brief and Most Excellent Exposition, of the 12 Articles of our Faith, commonly called the Apostles’ Creed: wherein as well plainly, for the capacity of the simple, as pithily for the satisfying of the learned, are handled the principal points of Christian Religion 1578
Predestination and Justification Buy
Dialogue on the Two Natures in Christ Buy
On the Relation of Philosophy to Theology Buy
‘Supralapsarianism: The Fall of Man Was Both Necessary and Wonderful’, Questions 190-194
An Evident Display of Popish Practices, or Patched Pelagianism. Wherein is mightily cleared the Sovereign Truth of God’s Eternal Predestination, the stayed Groundwork of our most assured safety by Christ (London, 1578)
A Little Catechism, that is to say, a Short Instruction Touching Christian Religion… ([London, 1578]) 15 pp.
On Particular Doctrines
Beza on the Trinity, 21 Theses, Part 1 (#1–15) also entitled: ‘Theses or Axioms on the Trinity of Persons and their Unity of Essence as Derived from Theodore Beza’s Lectures’, from Tractationes Theologicae Bezae, Volumen I (Geneva: Jean Crespin, 1570), 651. In Ordained Servant Online, OPC
‘An Excellent Treatise of comforting such, as are troubled about their Predestination, Taken out of the Second Answer of Mr. Beza to D. Andreas, in the Act of their Colloquie at Mompelgart, etc.’ 4 pp. appended to William Perkins, A Golden Chain: or The Description of theology containing the order of the causes of salvation and damnation… Whereunto is adjoined the order which Mr. Theodore Beza used in comforting afflicted consciences (Cambridge, 1600)
On the Church
A Discourse of the True and Visible Marks of the Catholic Church (London [1582?]) 130 pp.
The Judgment of a Most Reverend & Learned Man from Beyond the Seas Concerning a Threefold Order of Bishops, with a declaration of certain other weighty points concerning the discipline and government of the Church ([London, 1585])
On the Lord’s Supper
The Second Oration of Master Theodore de Beze… [on the Lord’s Supper] made and pronounced at Poussy, in the open assembly of [the] prelates of France in the presence of the Queen, mother, and princes of the blood royal, the 26th Day of September, Anno 1561 (London [1562?])
Two Very Learned Sermons of Mr. Beza, together with a short Sum of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper: Whereunto is added a Treatise of the Substance of the Lord’s Supper, wherein is briefly and soundly discussed the principal points in controversy concerning that Question (London, 1588)
Beza, Theodore – A Clear & Simple Treatise on the Lord’s Supper Pre (1559, RHB, 2016)
“[The Lutheran] Westphal’s Defense of the Lord’s Supper served as the subject of Beza’s treatise. The responsibility fell upon Beza primarily because Calvin, who had clearly had his fill of Westphal after composing three rebuttals, decided not to continue the literary battle… Beza, whose predisposition was to soften the hostility between the two sides… Some of Beza’s biographers have argued that this work was less harsh in its attacks on Westphal than one might have expected… Beza… complained that Westphal had been far too personal in his attacks on Calvin, insinuating that he was a drunkard and a glutton and that his mother had been the mistress of a parish priest.
As one reads Beza’s treatise, several emphases are apparent.
First, Beza responded chapter and verse to specific arguments and chapters of Westphal’s work.
Second, Beza was tireless and unapologetic in defense of Calvin, especially in his assertion that the Lord’s Supper is not a bare symbol and that in it we have true communion with the risen Christ.
Third, Beza made great use of the concept of metonymy, or a figure of speech, in his interpretation of the words of institution. Scripture, he argued, was full of such expressions, such as when the lamb is called the Passover meal or when Christ called the cup the covenant in His blood. He asked how the wine can be wine and blood at the same time without a figure of speech.
Fourth, like Calvin, Beza referred extensively to the church fathers, especially Augustine, in defense of his position.
Finally, at the end of the treatise, Beza pled for some degree of accord between the two sides by showing all the areas they had in common compared to few topics of disagreement. Ultimately his attempt at reconciliation would fall short as the gap between the Lutheran and Reformed views of the Eucharist was simply too vast.” – Introduction
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
Bunny, Edmund – The Whole Sum of Christian Religion, Given Forth by Two Several Methods or Forms… (London, 1576)
Bunny (1540–1619) was an English Calvinistic divine who also published an abridgment of Calvin’s Institutes.
Brès, Guy de – The Staff of Christian Faith Profitable to all Christians, for to Arm Themselves Against the Enemies of the Gospel: and also for to know the Antiquity of our Holy Faith, and of the True Church. Gathered out of the works of the ancient doctors of the church and of the councils… 1577
Bres (1522-1567) was a Walloon pastor, Protestant reformer and theologian, a student of Calvin and Beza in Geneva.
A Firm Foundation: an Aid to Interpreting the Heidelberg Catechism Buy
Gifford (d. 1620)
Prime, John – A Fruitful and Brief Discourse in Two Books: the one of Nature, the other of Grace with Convenient Answer to the Enemies of Grace, upon incident Occasions Offered by the Late Rhemish Notes in their New Translation of the New Testament, and Others 1583
Prime (c.1549-1596) was reformed.
ed. DeLaune, William – An Abridgement of The Institution of Christian Religion written by Mr. John Calvin. Wherein brief and sound answers to the objections of the adversaries are set down trans. Christopher Fetherstone (Edinburgh, 1585) IA
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
Speculum Christianum or, A Christian Survey for the Conscience. Containing, Three Tractates of that eminent, grave and learned divine, master Hierome Zanchius. 1. Of the End of the World. 2. Of the Perseverance of the Saints. 3. A Summary Abridgment of his Protections [about Perseverance] (London, 1614)
Students of Geneva – Propositions & Principles of Divinity Propounded & Disputed in the University of Geneva by Certain Students of Divinity there, under Mr. Theodore Beza & Mr. Anthony Faius… Wherein is contained a methodical summary, or epitome of the common places of divinity… (Edinburgh, 1591)
These were disputations held under the presiding of professors Theodore Beza and Anthony Faius in Geneva. This work is something akin to the later, Dutch, Leiden Synopsis (1625).
Bastingius, Jeremias – An Exposition Or Commentary Upon the Catechism of Christian Religion which is Taught in the Schools and Churches Both of the Low Countries & of the Dominions of the County Palatine (Cambridge, ca. 1591)
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
Cases of Conscience, Book 2 in Works, vol. 2 (of 3)
An Abridgment 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 (1602; London, 1606)
Bucan (d. 1603) was a professor of divinity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
This was a precursor to the following longer work below.
A System of Christian Theology (d. 1610) Here is the lengthy Table of Contents in English, translated from this Latin work.
For an overview of this important work, see Max Deal’s The Meaning and Method of Systematic Theology in Amandus Polanus.
Trelcatius, Jr., Lucas – A Brief Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinity, Wherein, the Truth of Every Place is Proved, and the Sophisms of Bellarmine are Reproved 2nd ed. (1610) 595 pp.
Trelcatius Jr. (1573-1607) was a professor of theology at Leiden. Robert Bellarmine was a prominent Roman Catholic apologist.
Parr, Elnathan – The Grounds of Divinity Plainly Discovering the Mysteries of Christian Religion, Propounded Familiarly in Diverse Questions & 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 (1614)
Parr (d. 1622)
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 (†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. The ebook is much cheaper than the print edition.
For an introduction, and an English translation of the preface by Herman Bavinck to the 1800’s edition, see Henk van den Belt & Mathilde de Vries-van Uden, ‘Herman Bavinck’s Preface to the Synopsis Purioris Theologiae’ in Bavinck Review 8 (2017): 101–114.
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.
A Treatise on Justification: or The Disputatio de Justitia Habituali et Actuali…, vol. 1, 2 trans. Josiah Allport (1631; London: 1844/46) ToC 1, 2
The Determinations, or Resolutions of Certain Theological Questions, Publicly Discussed in the University of Cambridge trans. Josiah Allport (1634; 1846) ToC bound at the end of John Davenant, A Treatise on Justification, or the Disputatio de Justitia... trans. Josiah Allport (1631; London, 1846), vol. 2
Most of the theses determined in this work are contra Romanism. Some of them show Davenant’s episcopal Anglican leanings.
Baptismal Regeneration & the Final Perseverance of the Saints. A Letter to Dr. Samuel Ward trans. J. Allport (1864)
Davenant argues for a form of baptismal regeneration, that original sin is taken from infants in the act. This view was argued against by Rutherford, John Edwards and numerous others of the reformed and is not recommended. The work is important in understanding the historical context of the early 1600’s.
A Dissertation on the Death of Christ, as to its Extent & Special Benefits: Containing a Short History of Pelagianism, and Showing the Agreement of the Doctrines of the Church of England on General Redemption, Election & Predestination with the Primitive Fathers of the Christian Church, and above all with the Holy Scriptures as bound at the end of vol. 2 of his Exposition of Colossians trans. Josiah Allport (London, 1832)
Davenant was a hypothetical universalist with respect to the atonement, involving a form of a general atonement (not recommended).
Animadversions… upon a Treatise entitled, God’s Love to Mankind [by Samuel Hoard] (Cambridge: 1641) 536 pp.
Kellet, Edward – Miscellanies of Divinity, divided into Three Books, wherein is Explained at Large the Estate of the Soul in her origination, separation, particular judgement, and conduct to eternal bliss or torment 1635
Cradock (c.1620-1706) was a reformed, non-conformist tutor in England.
“One of the best systems of divinity which a plain man can read.” – David Bogue
Stoughton (1593-1639) was a reformed English minister.
Davenport. John – The Profession of the Faith of that Reverend & Worthy Divine, Mr. J. D…. Made Publicly before the Congregation at his Admission into one of the Churches of God in New-England. Containing twenty several heads… (London, 1642)
Davenport (1597-1670) was an Anglican, puritan clergyman. Later he was a co-founder of the American colony of New Haven and an Independent, puritan minister (which this work reflects).
The Bible’s Abstract & 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 (1642)
Expositions of Catechisms
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 (1612)
Maccovius, John – Scholastic Discourse: The Distinctions & Rules of Theology & Philosophy Buy 1644
Maccovius was a supralapsarian Polish theologian. These distinctions and rules are laid out in systematic form, in 23 chapters.
A Discourse of the Religion Anciently Professed by the Irish and British 1631 in Works, vol. 4
An Answer to a Challenge Made by a Jesuit in Ireland wherein the Judgment of Antiquity in the Points Questioned is Truly Delivered and the Novelty of the Now Romish Doctrine Plainly Discovered in Works, vol. 3
The Principles of Christian Religion 20 pp. in Works, vol. 11
The Method of the Doctrine of Christian Religion 25 pp. in Works, vol. 11
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.
Collier (fl.1647-1691). John Saltmarsh, an Antinomian, wrote a commendatory letter to the reader in this volume, saying that he was glad to read “that no difference of outward administration, or Ordinances, should divide Christians that are baptized into one Spirit; which truth I did much rejoice to see from his pen…”
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.
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.
The Earnest Breathings of Foreign Protestants, Divines & Others to the Ministers & Other Able Christians of these Three Nations for a Complete Body of Practical Divinity… & an Essay of a Model of the Said Body of Divinity (London, 1658)
This work also contains an appended letter by William Gouge, Obadiah Sedgwick and others to James Ussher asking him to lead a joint project to write a body of divinity. Ussher was favorable to the project but it was interrupted by the English Civil War. Other signers included: John Downame, George Walker, Adoniram Byfield, Sidrach Simpson, Richard Culverwell, George Hughes and Joseph Symonds. HT: Andrew Myers.
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 itself 1641
A Brief & Excellent Treatise Containing the Doctrine of Godliness, or Living unto God: Wherein the Body of Divinity is Substantially Proposed, and Methodically Digested, by way of Question & Answer 1648
The Orthodox Evangelist, or a Treatise wherein many great Evangelical Truths are Briefly Discussed, Cleared & Confirmed 1654 The table of contents is on p. 356 with a subject index following
Norton (1606-1663) 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.
A Mixture of Scholastical Divinity, with Practical: in Several Tractates: wherein some of the most Difficult Knots in Divinity are Untied, many dark places of Scripture cleared, sundry heresies, and errors, refuted 1656
Jeanes (1611-1662) was a puritan.
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
Pearson (1613–1686) This exposition of the Apostle’s Creed was the most widely used Anglican body of divinity in the post-Restoration (1660) Church of England. Pearson was somewhat reformed.
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.
Stone, Samuel d. 1663
The Whole Body of Divinity in a Catechetical Way Handled (Hartford, CT: probably sometimes between 1647-1663) 950 pp. as transcribed by Samuel Willard
Stone was a New England puritan. This was the first comprehensive theology produced in the American colonies. See the Congregational Library & Archives for more background.
Samuel Stone’s Catechism: reissued with an Introductory Sketch, from the original edition printed in 1684 ([Hartford, Conn.], 1899) There is a lengthy introduction; the catechism starts here and is only 12 pages.
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
This was Baxter’s first printed book, and his most controversial book. Here he lays out his erroneous theological articulation of Justification and related themes, which earned his paradigm the name, ‘Baxterianism’ and ‘Neo-nomianism’ (which means, ‘New-Law’). Baxter went on to further qualify much in this book in later writings, but continued to hold to the heart of it till his death. On this work, and numerous of the works below, see William Orme’s survey of his doctrinal works in Life and Writings of Baxter, ch. 2, ‘Doctrinal Works’ in Baxter’s Practical Works, vol. 1.
Despite Baxter’s serious doctrinal problems, J.I. Packer could refer to him as “The most outstanding pastor, evangelist and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced.”
On this, see Orme, bottom of p. 455 ff.
This is the closest thing that Baxter has to a systematic theology in English. Note his significant errors regarding Justification, the Covenant, the definition of Faith, the nature and extent of the Atonement, etc.
12 conferences, or disputations, with various opponents on all sides regarding soteriology.
The Protestant Religion Truly Stated and Justified 1692 240 pp.
Baxter corrects 52 misrepresentations of Protestantism from the accusations of Romanists.
This work, with his Latin work, Method of Christian Theology, was intended to comprise a whole body of divinity (the theological in Latin and the practical in English). 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.
“The most outstanding pastor, evangelist and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced.” – J.I. Packer
Polhill, Edward 1673
See his works at PRDL. Polhill touches on 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.
Gale, Theophilus – Book 2 of vol. 4, ‘Of Reformed Philosophy’ of The Court of the Gentiles (London, 1677)
This covers the doctrine of God, Creation & Providence. Book 1 covers ‘Moral Philosophy’, including the doctrine of Sin.
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.
vol. 1 – Providence, Existence & Attributes of God
vol. 2 – Existence & Attributes of God
vol. 3 – Regeneration, Reconciliation, Christ’s Blood
vol. 4 – Knowledge of God, Unbelief, Lord’s Supper
vol. 5 – Discourses
Charnock (1628-1680) intended to compile a full systematic theology via his discourses, but died after the existence and attributes of God.
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.
Steele, Richard – A Scheme & Abstract of the Christian Religion, Comprised in Fifty-Two Heads, with the Texts of Scripture on which they are grounded: & Some Short Indications how they were more largely handled (London: 1684) 22 pp. This is an annotated outline: likely his outlines for a year’s worth of sermons he preached.
Steele (1629-1692) was an ejected presbyterian puritan.
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 Evans 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.
Doutrin, John – A Short Scheme of Divine Truths: wherein is Given a General Idea of Divinity Buy
Doutrin (1662-1722) was an evangelical Dutch preacher and professor at Dort. Doutrin was a prominent exponent of the Cocceian movement, and Friedrich Adolph Lampe was one of his disciples.
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.
Blackwell, Sr., Thomas – Forma Sacra, or, A Sacred Platform of Natural and Revealed Religion (Boston, 1774)
Blackwell, Sr. (c.1660-1728) was a professor of theology at Aberdeen, Scotland. Blackwell was an early enlightenment thinker (not recommended).
Wishart, William – Theologia: or Discourses of God, delivered in 120 Sermons, vol. 1 (ToC), 2 (ToC) d. 1729
Wishart (1660-1729) was an influential Church of Scotland minister, professor and principal of Edinburgh University. His work is similar to Charnock’s work.
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.
Doddridge, Philip – A Course of Lectures on Pneumatology, Ethic and Divinity, part 1, part 2, Lectures on Preaching and the Ministerial Office Table of Contents d. 1751 Being 168 lectures
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
Warden, John – A System of Revealed Religion Digested under Proper Heads and Composed in the Express Words of Scripture, Containing all that the Sacred Records Reveal with Respect to Doctrine and Duty (London, 1764) Table of contents This is both volumes in one.
Warden (d. 1764), according to PRDL, was reformed.
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.
Venema, Herman – Institutes of Theology, part 1 trans. Alexander Brown (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1850) Buy
Venema (1697-1787) was a professor at Franeker. Venema “maintained the fundamental line of confessional orthodoxy without drawing heavily on any of the newer philosophies… and maintained a fairly centrist Reformed position. Venema… evidence[s] the inroads of a rationalistic model…” – Richard Muller
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.
Smith, Samuel Stanhope – A Comprehensive View of the Leading and Most Important Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion 1816 550 pp.
Smith (1751-1819) was an evangelical presbyterian and president of Princeton College.
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 was an orthodox Scottish secessionist minister.
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.
Morris, Edward Dafydd – Outlines of Lectures on the Christian Doctrine: Printed for the use of Students in Lane Theological Seminary (1849) Morris appears to be moderate in his views, as he is in his book on the Theology of the Westminster Symbols.
Morris (1825–1915) was a fixture at Lane Theological Seminary in Ohio for 30 years, a professor of Church history and systematic theology, a moderator for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PC-USA), a writer and pastor, and an important player in the effort to reunite the Old and New Schools of the PC-USA.
Morris is remembered for his Theology of the Westminster Symbols. See more at Logos.com. B.B. Warfield gave Morris’s A Calm Review of the Inaugural Address of Prof. Charles A. Briggs (on Biblical Authority, Briggs being a liberal; the review is critical of Briggs) a favorable review.
See also Wikipedia on Lane Theological Seminary.
Bogue was a Scot who became a congregationalist in England and wrote the 3 volume, History of the Dissenters.
Woods, Leonard – Works, vol. 1 (Lectures: Prolegomena-Decrees), 2 (Providence-Regeneration), 3 (Regeneration-Personal Religion), 4 (Letters to Unitarians, Perfectionism), 5 (Letters, Tracts, Sermons) 1851
Woods (1774–1854) was a Harvard grad, a congregationalist minister and the first professor of Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, USA. He was an orthodox Calvinist known for his argumentation against Unitarianism.
Anderson, Abraham – Lectures on Theology Buy 1857 768 pp.
Anderson (1821-1855) was an American pastor in the Associate Presbyterian Church (from the Secession in Scotland) and a professor at their seminary in Cannonsburg, PA. The outline of this systematic is based on the latin, Dutch refomed systematic of Johannes Marck (1656-1731).
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
This volume completes Hodge’s systematic theology. While the volume is very helpful for its detailed discussions and references of the finer points of Church government, yet do note that Hodge lived in a time in which the finer points of Church government were changing from the older classical model (from the Church of Scotland), which changes are not usually recommended.
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.
Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles 1898 720 pp.
Kuyper’s dogmatics are still in Dutch, but what little of his works are being translated in English, we will add here.
Lectures on Calvinism 1898 290 pp.
The Work of the Holy Spirit 700 pp.
Particular Grace: A Defense of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation Buy
On the Church Buy
Rooted and Grounded: The Church as Organism and Institution Buy
Our Program: a Christian Political Manifesto Buy 432 pp.
The Problem of Poverty Buy
The South-African Crisis 85 pp.
On Islam Buy
To be Near unto God 620 pp.
The Practice of Godliness Buy
Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader ed. James Bratt Buy
Bosma was an American, Dutch reformed pastor in Grand Rapids.
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.
“Webb (1856-1919), professor of apologetics and systematic theology at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Kentucky at Louisville (1909-1919), writes from a Reformed and Presbyterian perspective.” – Robert L. Reymond
This work 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.
Machen, J. Gresham – Things Unseen: A Systematic Introduction to the Christian Faith and Reformed Theology ToC (1935; Westminster Seminary Press)
“On a Sunday afternoon in 1935, J. Gresham Machen stepped into a broadcast booth at WIP Radio in Philadelphia and began something no one had tried before: teaching Reformed theology over the radio. In the vein of C.S. Lewis’s landmark “Mere Christianity” talks, Machen’s addresses are a crystal-clear articulation of the basics of the Christian faith, unfolding into an exceptional and persuasive explanation of Reformed theology. Things Unseen is both an accessible systematic theology, and a masterclass in evangelistic apologetics.”
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.
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.
A Treatise of the Compendium Buy (Netherlands Reformed Book & Publishing Co., 1989) 144 pp.
“Our Synod of 1956 decided to have the explanation of our ‘Compendium,’ written by the late G.H. Kersten, translated for publication in the English language.”
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 pp.
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.
Niesel, Wilhelm – Pt. 3, ‘The Gospel & the Churches of the Reformation’ in Reformed Symbolics: a Comparison of Catholicism, Orthodoxy & Protestantism tr. David Lewis (Oliver & Boyd, 1962), pp. 169-303
ed. Henry, Carl – Contemporary Evangelical Thought: Basic Christian Doctrines Buy (1962) 301 pp.
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.
“…provides interesting and original interpretations of many biblical texts. His systematics is very readable.” – Robert L. Reymond
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 pp.
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God Buy 126 pp.
Hoeksema, Herman – Reformed Dogmatics Buy This is now being published in a 2 vol. edition.
Hoeksema (1886-1965) was one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC), a Dutch denomination in America.
Due to Hoeksema’s tendency towards hyper-calvinism, his significant errors regarding covenant theology and his adamant denial of common grace, this systematic is not recommended.
“Hoeksema’s variance with the Westminster standards may be seen on many points of doctrine. But more that disagreement on a number of individual points, there is a systemic contrast. His opposition to the free offer is not incidental to his theology, but is integral to his wide-ranging reconstruction of covenant theology.” – Sherman Isbell, ‘Samuel Rutherford and the Preached Covenant’ in ed. Vogan, Samuel Rutherford – An Introduction to his Theology (Scottish Reformation Society, 2012)
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.
Boice, James Montgomery – Foundations of the Christian Faith: a Comprehensive and Readable Theology Buy 1986
“Boice, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, writes popularly form a Reformed and Presbyterian perspective. The laity will find Boice’s volumes very helpful.” – Robert L. Reymond
This work was previously published in 4 vols.: The Sovereign God (1978), God the Redeemer (1978), Awakening to God (1979), God and History (1981).
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 pp.
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, J. & W.H. Velema – Concise Reformed Dogmatics tr. Bilkes & Van der Maas Buy (P&R, 2008) 944 pp.
See Dr. McGraw’s review. For an extensive review, see James E. Dolezal, The Confessional Presbyterian, vol. 5, 2009, 278-283. See also the review by Wes Bredenhof.
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.
Allen, Michael & Scott R. Swain – Christian Dogmatics: Reformed Theology for the Church Catholic Buy (Baker, 2016) 416 pp.
Beeke, Joel & Paul Smalley – Reformed Systematic Theology, vol. 1: Revelation & God Buy 2019 This will be a mutli-volume set.
Letham, Robert –