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15 Integrated Theology

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Theological Research Seminary: Presentation 15

Theological Research Seminary: Presentation 15

Published in: Spiritual

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  • Scripture plays a normative and authoritative role in evangelical theology. Since God and his will are infallibly revealed only through his written word, the quest to discern God’s will must be grounded in scripture. Therefore, if we are to interpret God’s will for our world, we must interpret his word faithfully and accurately. Evangelical theology is exegetical theology.Our theological reflection should be informed by church history, historical theology, and the history of interpretation (of scripture). It should be traditional in the sense that it is informed by the way previous generations have interpreted God’s word and contextualised his message. We must make a serious attempt to understand the forces that shaped the development of theological traditions. It should not be traditional in the sense of trying to defend and perpetuate our religious traditions. We must understand our traditions as they developed—as historical attempts to remain faithful to God in particular contexts. Traditions are beliefs and practices that arose in response to situations. We need to understand them historically so that we can evaluate them critically.
  • In church life, appeals to the mysteries of God and the leading of the Spirit are often used to excuse lazy and sloppy thinking. This sometimes fuels the feeling of the world that faith is irrational. Theology, when done properly, demonstrates that God’s revelation goes beyond reason but not against it. It advocates the fact that a biblical, theistic worldview is the most coherent way of viewing the world. The way we do our theological reflection must uphold high standards of logic. We seek to present a coherent, non-contradictory worldview. We present an interpretation of reality (the word and the world) that is plausible, and we defend our conclusion rationally, humbly, and persuasively.RationalRationalisticLet us be clear, however, that rational does not imply a negative attitude toward the supernatural. Rational does not mean rationalistic. It is quite rational to believe that the all-powerful Creator can perform miracles, and even raise the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. We offer a rational explanation of reality that is consistent with the premises of our faith.
  • Our model needs to be missional through and through. We seek to understand the mission of God for creation so that we can discern our place in his purpose. The mission of God unfolds across the pages of scripture in two intertwined themes:Salvation History: The whole Bible tells the story of God’s plan and actions to redeem humankind and reconcile all people to himself.Kingdom of God: The whole Bible is about God’s work to restore his righteous and benevolent reign over all creation, and especially over all human beings.The mission of the church is the continuation of the mission of God. Church history furnishes insight into how God has continued to work in the world to save the lost and to restore his rule over creation. Missiology should permeate our model, and appropriate insights from the history of missions, the theology of missions, and the strategies for missions should be brought to bear on our theological reflection at appropriate points, especially our analysis of the implications for contemporary praxis.Theology is fundamentally practical. We begin with questions that arise from practical concerns. Our goal is to understand the will of God in the complexities of contemporary life so that the people of God might respond in ways that are faithful to him. We ultimately aim to strengthen the faith of God’s people, and improve the effectiveness of the church’s ministry, so we have practical goals. Furthermore, the present practices of the church are theory laden, and our revised theories will hopefully produce improved practices (Browning 1993, passim).
  • Our model needs to be missional through and through. We seek to understand the mission of God for creation so that we can discern our place in his purpose. The mission of God unfolds across the pages of scripture in two intertwined themes:Salvation History: The whole Bible tells the story of God’s plan and actions to redeem humankind and reconcile all people to himself.Kingdom of God: The whole Bible is about God’s work to restore his righteous and benevolent reign over all creation, and especially over all human beings.The mission of the church is the continuation of the mission of God. Church history furnishes insight into how God has continued to work in the world to save the lost and to restore his rule over creation. Missiology should permeate our model, and appropriate insights from the history of missions, the theology of missions, and the strategies for missions should be brought to bear on our theological reflection at appropriate points, especially our analysis of the implications for contemporary praxis.Theology is fundamentally practical. We begin with questions that arise from practical concerns. Our goal is to understand the will of God in the complexities of contemporary life so that the people of God might respond in ways that are faithful to him. We ultimately aim to strengthen the faith of God’s people, and improve the effectiveness of the church’s ministry, so we have practical goals. Furthermore, the present practices of the church are theory laden, and our revised theories will hopefully produce improved practices (Browning 1993, passim).
  • Transcript

    • 1. By Kevin G. Smith An Integrated Model Kevin Gary Smith
    • 2. THE ELEMENTS We believe these are essential ingredients of an integrated model for evangelical theology.
    • 3. In the light of the way we have defined theology, what are the essential elements that belong in our model of theology? In alphabetical order, we propose the following: 1. Canonical 2. Christocentric 3. Contextual 4. Ecclesiastical 5. Exegetical 6. Historical 7. Logical 8. Missional 9. Practical 10. Scientific 11. Systematic 12. Trinitarian Elements of a Model
    • 4. Elements of a Model Canonical • The Bible in its entirety and the Bible alone is our normative guide for faith and practice. Therefore, the canon is the locus of theology. Christocentric • What Jesus said and did should function as an interpretive lens for knowing God. We can interpret the word and the world through the insight he provides regarding God’s nature, will, and purposes.
    • 5. Elements of a Model Contextual The word of God was given to them (there and then), but it was also given for us (here and now). Our task is to systematise and contextualise God’s word. Our outcome is a restatement of the teachings of God for the people of God in our context. Ecclesiastical We see the chief task of theology as trying to discern the will of God for the people of God in a particular context or situation. Theology is done in the church and for the church, though it has implications be-yond the church.
    • 6. Elements of a Model Exegetical Scripture plays a normative and authoritative role in evangelical theology. Since God and his will are infallibly revealed only through his written word, the quest to discern God’s will must be grounded in scripture. Evangelical theology is exegetical theology. Historical Our theological reflection should be informed by church history, historical theology, and the history of interpretation (of scripture). Traditions are beliefs and practices that arose in response to situations. We need to understand them historically so that we can evaluate them critically.
    • 7. Elements of a Model Logical The way we do our theological reflection must uphold high standards of logic. We seek to present a coherent, non- contradictory worldview. We present an interpretation of reality (the word and the world) that is plausible, and we defend our conclusion rationally, humbly, and persuasively. Historical Our theological reflection should be informed by church history, historical theology, and the history of interpretation (of scripture). Traditions are beliefs and practices that arose in response to situations. We need to understand them historically so that we can evaluate them critically.
    • 8. Elements of a Model Missional Our theology needs to be missional through and through. We seek to understand the mission of God for creation so that we can discern our place in his purpose. • Salvation History • Kingdom of God Practical All theology is practical. Our goal is to understand the will of God in the complexities of contemporary life so that the people of God might respond in ways that are faithful to him. We ultimately aim to strengthen the faith of God’s people, and improve the effectiveness of the church’s ministry.
    • 9. Elements of a Model Scientific Where relevant, our model should allow for the integration of important insights from the human, social, or natural sciences (sometimes referred to as ‘the arts and sciences’). All Truth God’s Word Figure 11: Three Domains of Truth
    • 10. Theology Biblical Studies Church History Systematic Theology Missiology Practical Theology Theology is a single discipline!
    • 11. Bible-based Spirit- led Christ- centred God nature will purposes Restoring Truth to the Church History Science
    • 12. AN INTEGRATED MODEL This is our proposed model of integrated theology from an evangelical perspective.
    • 13. Missional Lens Christocentric Lens Problem or Proposition Biblical Theology Historical Theology Systematic Theology Practical Theology Model of Integrated Theology
    • 14. BIBLICAL THEOLOGY Our reflection is rooted in the grand narrative of the word of God.
    • 15. Biblical Exegesis Biblical Theology We study a single text to determine its original meaning and its contemporary significance. We attempt to understand the beliefs of the biblical writers on their own terms. Biblical Theology
    • 16. Promise Fulfilment Redemption is promised by Yahweh in the Old Testament. Redemption is provided by Christ in the New Testament. Biblical Theology
    • 17. Genesis to Malachi Why he said and did it. Acts to Revelation How the apostles interpreted and applied it. Matthew to John What the Lord Jesus Christ said and did. Biblical Theology
    • 18. HISTORICAL THEOLOGY Our reflection is seriously how other Christian thinkers have interpreted God’s word and will.
    • 19. Chronological Confessional Case-study Broad and extensive Broad and extensive Narrow and intensive Organised by time Organised by tradition No set organisation Diachronic Synchronic Snapshot Historical Theology
    • 20. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY We present and defend and informed statement or model of God’s will and purposes.
    • 21. Biblical Data Scientific Data Theological Theory or Model Apologetic Defence Systematic Theology
    • 22. PRACTICAL THEOLOGY We explore how our theological conclusions relates to the beliefs and practices of our church, community, and context.
    • 23. Concrete Situation Proposed Praxis Critical Defence Communicative Action Practical Theology
    • 24. THE END