I recently posted this question How does the reader of Isaiah and Daniel reconcile these end-time prophecies? and it was put on hold because "Questions regarding systematic theology are off-topic.

This question here appears to be a similar question to the one i posted and it also appears to be based on systematic theology.

Considering these two questions,and the comments posted on my post, i am left feeling a little confused.

My question is how did the person's (who voted to put my question on hold) arrive at the conclusion that one question is based on systematic theology (my question) and the other question is not?


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    Regarding the question you link as similar: that one involves "reconciling" only in the sense of understanding Jesus' words in John (assuming he knew the Hebrew Bible). That's different from your question which, aptly, asks how the reader should reconcile these prophecies. I'm not sure that's off-topic, but it's different. Also, FYI, there was some discussion about this question in chat. – Susan Jan 18 '15 at 10:29
  • @Susan thanks! i will study the link you give. – Bagpipes Jan 18 '15 at 10:49
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    @Bagpipes Hi Bagpipes, and welcome from this side of the pond! Perhaps the only 'questionable' part of your question(IMO) was the reference to ScottS's answer which was in reference to Revelations-which some may have considered 'anachronistic' and 'off-topic'. However, the fact of reconciling 2 OT prophecies concerning the end times is ENTIRELY on-topic and provides another avenue of examination this site needs more of. If the answers 'stayed' within the boundaries of the OT text(certainly NT references can be used to illuminate understanding), then it's not 'anachronistic'(again-IMHO). – Tau Jan 20 '15 at 4:11

I will start with the Wikipedia definition:

Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs. Subdisciplines are dogmatics, ethics and philosophy of religion.1(Taken from here)

I will finish with Caleb's answer:

There have been reams of words spilled on that already, but generally we know at least this: questions really need to start with a text, be specific, and leave the door open for answers to take the text wherever specific interpretive frameworks take it.(taken from here)

While methodologies are "on-topic", "doctrines" aren't. That means questions posed about the many Christian doctrines are "off-topic". That does not mean, however, that one cannot refer to a doctrine in understanding a text, or discuss a doctrine(for example: laying on of hands) when it specifically is mentioned within the text.

Obviously, as the rest of your question refers to a question you posed, it is a judgment call, and not everyone parses this issue quite the same. In your 2nd example, the scriptural reference, John 3:13-14 was NT, and therefore entirely "on topic" with reference to Enoch and Elijah, who are mentioned in NT texts as well.

As a 'Rule of Thumb', I always comment when I VtC a question, giving the individual specific references as how to edit their question to conform to site guidelines. There's no sense in "throwing the penalty flag"(in American football terms), when you haven't explained the infraction.

  • Hullo and welcome from a peaceful UK.Your answer and especially your second last paragraph, along with @Susans comment,are very helpful and i understand what you are both saying.As an American detective once said "I have just one more question before i go." Lets say,I am asking a question about Daniel 9:27 and to help the reader understand more about what i am asking,i introduce into the question an end-time event as recorded in Matthew 24:15.Would i be correct in my thinking to say that what i am asking is "deemed to be based on systematic theology?" – Bagpipes Jan 24 '15 at 10:49
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    @Bagpipes Ahhhiiiyaaa.....that's the kind of question that would require(IMO) a specific scriptural reference in the NT, which would explain textually the reference to Dan. 9:27. You can use a hermeneutical framework(historical/grammatical) and be entirely on-topic; however, if you 'argue' from a theological viewpoint(say-pre-tribulation rapture), you would wander into an off-topic discussion. The key is: 1)Exegeting the text, 2)On the basis of your exegesis bring into comparison your NT text, which would highlight, augment, or supplement the meaning of the OT text. – Tau Jan 24 '15 at 20:15
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    @Bagpipes (cont.) No one can discredit your question(or answer) when you address the plain meaning of the text. The problem arises when we use the OT reference as a means to 'prop-up' a doctrine or theological discussion(in your example, let's say the "One New Man" theology) without taking the necessary time to understand the text. Then it becomes a theological discussion, which may have it's merits, but outside(as the guidelines are written) our site directives. As I have stated, it is a judgment call, but IMO following the recipe I prescribed eliminates those challenges. – Tau Jan 24 '15 at 20:29

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