01 Introduction to Theology

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Theological Research Seminar: Presentation 1

Theological Research Seminar: Presentation 1

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  • 1. By Kevin G. Smith Introduction to Theology Theological Research Methodology
  • 2. THE NATURE OF THEOLOGY What is theology?
  • 3. What is theology? • In its most basic form, the word theology would mean the study of God. • We do theology when we reason and discourse about the nature, will, and purposes of God. • However, we cannot study God. God cannot be the direct object of human research.
  • 4. What is theology? If we cannot study God, how can we discern his nature, will, and purposes? • We can know the Lord indirectly through two sources: (a) God’s revelation and (b) people’s faith. • Theology, then, is the systematic study of divine revelation and human faith.
  • 5. The Roman Catholic theologian Anselm defined theology as faith seeking understanding. We reason and discourse about God because we believe in him, and we want to discover more about his nature and purposes so that we can live according his will. Faith seeking understanding
  • 6. THE GOAL OF THEOLOGY What is the goal of theology?
  • 7. The goal of theology is discern the will of God in our generation and context, so that we might live and act in ways that are faithful to his nature and purposes. This is the goal across the sub- disciplines. Theology is the systematic study of God’s revelation and of people’s faith. Its goal is to restate the implications of God’s revelation for our context so that we might believe and live in a way that is faithful to God’s will. What is the goal of theology?
  • 8. THE TASK OF THEOLOGY How must theology go about its task to achieve its goal?
  • 9. What are the tasks of theology? If the goal of theology is discern the will of God in our context, so that we might live and act in ways that are faithful to him, then it has many implications for the way we approach the task. Here are some non-negotiables: 1. God-focused 2. Bible-based 3. Christ-centred 4. Spirit-led 5. Mission-minded
  • 10. What are the tasks of theology? If the goal of theology is discern the will of God in our context, so that we might live and act in ways that are faithful to him, then it has many implications for the way we approach the task. Here are some non-negotiables: 6. Historically-informed 7. Context-sensitive 8. Practically-applied 9. Scientifically-plausible
  • 11. THE BRANCHES OF THEOLOGY What is the relationship between the theological sub- disciplines?
  • 12. How is theology sub-divided? • Theology is fundamentally a single discipline! The various sub-disciplines contribute important perspectives on the whole of theology. • Each theological sub-discipline contributes towards a holistic understanding of the will of God for our context. Theology is a single discipline tasked with discerning and restating God’s will for our context. It can only do so by taking into account the perspective that each sub-discipline contributes.
  • 13. This is an inadequate way to view the relationship between the sub-disciplines. It implies that each subdiscipline is essentially separate from the others, and that theology is fragmented into its sub- disciplines. How is theology sub-divided?
  • 14. This is a better way to view the relationship between the sub-disciplines. It shows that theology is a single, holistic field of study. Each sub-discipline contributes valuable perspective to the whole. How is theology sub-divided?
  • 15. THE METHODS OF THEOLOGY What are the attitudes and techniques by which we do theology?
  • 16. Theology can mean ‘reasoning and discoursing about God’. We do theology by thinking and speaking about God’s word and our faith. • Hermeneutical: we interpret • Critical: we re-evaluate • Dialogical: we discuss • Correlational: we compare The Methods
  • 17. CONCLUSION How are we doing?
  • 18. • We can only do theology to the extent that we have a clear vision of what theology is and, flowing from that vision, a clear commitment regarding how it should be done. • Theology is faith seeking understanding through reasoning and discoursing about God. We seek to know God’s nature, will, and purposes through a Bible-based, Christ-centred, and Spirit-led approach. Conclusion
  • 19. THE END