Samuel Wakefield, A Complete System of Christian Theology

, posted by SEA

Please click on the link to view Samuel Wakefield, A Complete System of Christian Theology or A Concise, Comprehensive, and Systematic View of the Evidences, Doctrines, Morals, and Institutions of Christianity (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1862).

An assessment by one of our members: Over the past few months I’ve been reading Samuel Wakefield’s Complete System of Christian Theology. I would recommend adding this to the annotated list on the site. Wakefield was an American Methodist pastor who published his system in 1862. Some have misleadingly portrayed it as merely an abridgment of Watson, and the preface itself is somewhat responsible for that impression, but in comparing the table of contents and some of the same topics in both, the theological views may be the same (orthodox, Wesleyan, penal substitution), but the writing is like night and day. Wakefield is truly systematic in organization, both precise and concise, with often beautiful writing that is incredibly readable for a book written 160 years ago (compared to Watson, Pope, Raymond, Ralston, Miley). He is consistent in laying out definition, biblical basis, and defense (sometimes polemical) against major opposing views. He does not provide an exhaustive historical theology, which some may view as a weakness, but I’ve found to be a strength for straight-through reading rather than academic study. The only significant disagreement I’ve had through 420/650 pages is regarding his polemic tone on Genesis 1 (he argues strongly for the literal 6 24-hour day reading). That said, I would go as far as to say I think overall it’s even better than Oden’s abridged version head-to-head, due to better organization, focus and clarity.