Having studied under a small variety of Biblical scholars I have become accustomed to hearing comments such as, “This God isn’t going to fit into your western systematic theology…”
While I think most of these comments betray an unwillingness to interact with systematics on its own terms, I think there is an element of truth there.
Both Arminian and Calvinist positions have nearly conclusive proof texts which the opposite position must gymnastically exegete ad absurdium.
Further, most systematic professors will (hopefully) admit that there is a lot of mystery about God that we just can’t explain.
As a Calvinist, I would like to see more responsible exegesis of texts such as Hebrews 10:26-30. Or consider Genesis 6:6, the one thing we cannot say about this text is that, “God didn’t actually regret creating.” Or of Exodus 32:14, that “God didn’t really change his mind.” To make such claims is to contradict Scripture.
Yet, even in light of these texts, my systematic theology needs to be coherent and I may have to temporarily (and perhaps indefinitely) admit, I have no place to include such texts. Biblical scholars already tell me God’s to big for my theology, so why should I feel bad when I admit they’re right?
So, what am I saying? I am beginning to think I am okay saying the Bible contradicts a theological position I hold. In fact, if I don’t say this, I must claim to be the greatest theologian in history, because none other could claim omniscient biblical interpretation.
That said, I believe the Bible more than I believe my theology. I always want what I say about God (theology=theos+logos) to be informed, shaped, transformed, and reformed by Scripture.