Introduction: The Issue
I have always been interested in why there are so many types of theology: systematic, biblical, historical, liturgical, etc. As a pastor who plans and leads worship in the local church, I have spent much time pursuing an understanding of liturgical theology. For good reason, many pastors with whom I have served have been more familiar with systematic theology. Do these disciplines connect? If so, how do they connect? Or, are these two areas of theological reflection separate from each other?
To address my questions, the purpose of this paper is to discover and discuss the similarities and differences between systematic theology and liturgical theology. Through examining the pertinent texts and lecture material, I will formulate an initial understanding of the identity and purpose of systematic theology. Next, I will explore several opinions as to the definition and purpose of liturgical theology. I will consult ideas from several liturgical theologians representing different church traditions so that a wider consensus may be attained. Then, I will compare the identifying characteristics gleaned from these opinions to the identity and purpose of systematic theology. Finally, while providing points of support and disagreement, I will offer my own understanding on the matter.
Many theologians have attempted to define systematic theology. Some of their definitions include…