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Doctrine (Part 1). Theology.

July 5, 2009

Simply put, theology is the study (ology) of God (theo). Two presuppositions must be taken into account in order to step into the stream of theological pursuit. First, one must believe that there is a God. To reject this point is to admit atheism and theology is unnecessary because there is no God. Secondly, it must be understood that God can be known. Without full acceptance of this idea agnosticism wins the day at the concession that humans simply cannot know God nor what he is like. Without both of these preconceptions, theology is meaningless and a chasing after the wind.

In light of these two primal understandings, theology becomes an immense field of possibility. This is both glorious and treacherous. The glory is found in the opportunity for finite beings to attain knowledge of that which is infinitely holy. Yet treachery lurks around the corners of ambiguity, relativism, and preference. Therefore, we must proceed with joyful caution. Every Christian is a theologian and has the mandate to experience this privilege. At this point I would like to submit three principles, applicable for “Everyday Theologians”, that I pray will be helpful in your personal development of theology.

God is the main character of the Bible. This may seem like an obvious thought but unfortunately it is rarely a consistent practice. Think about your quiet time. What sorts of questions run through your mind as you investigate Scripture? Usually we ponder personal spirituality, success, responsibility, and identity. In other words we constantly ask, what does the Bible say about me? Such a proclivity assumes that you and I are the main characters of Scripture. Our development of good theology depends on us constantly asking a different question: what does the Bible say about God? Early and often in our study of the Bible we must look for God. Providentially, in our search for God we will discover ourselves; because our identity rests in his.

Theology is systematic. This means that theological ideas are connected. No one theology is an island. For instance, we cannot claim that Jesus was not God and still maintain a belief in the Trinity. Particular theologies are intrinsically woven into general theology. This is true of both what theology we are thinking on and where in Scripture we are looking. Theology must be developed through a view of the whole counsel of Scripture.

Finally, it is all about Jesus. In a pursuit of becoming an Everyday Theologian, there must be a consistent habit of seeing Jesus. It is all about Jesus in the Old and New Testament. In reference to the OT this means that we not only see Jesus in the explicit prophesies of his coming, but also we see the grand movement of redemption as the recurring anticipation of Jesus’ supreme redemption on the cross. Jesus must be the cornerstone of our theology.

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