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.
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.
Faith seeking understandingThe Roman Catholic We reason and discoursetheologian Anselm about God because wedefined theology as faith believe in him, and weseeking understanding. want to discover more about his nature and purposes so that we can live according his will.
What is the goal of theology?THE GOAL OF THEOLOGY
What is the goal of theology?The goal of theology is discern Theology is the systematicthe will of God in our study of God’s revelation andgeneration and context, so of people’s faith. Its goal is tothat we might live and act in restate the implications ofways that are faithful to his God’s revelation for ournature and purposes. This is context so that we mightthe goal across the sub- believe and live in a way that isdisciplines. faithful to God’s will.
How must theology go about its task to achieve its goal?THE TASK OF THEOLOGY
What are the tasks of theology?If the goal of theology is 1. God-focuseddiscern the will of God in ourcontext, so that we might live 2. Bible-basedand act in ways that arefaithful to him, then it has 3. Christ-centredmany implications for the way 4. Spirit-ledwe approach the task. Hereare some non-negotiables: 5. Mission-minded
What are the tasks of theology?If the goal of theology is 6. Historically-informeddiscern the will of God in ourcontext, so that we might live 7. Context-sensitiveand act in ways that arefaithful to him, then it has 8. Practically-appliedmany implications for the way 9. Scientifically-plausiblewe approach the task. Hereare some non-negotiables:
What is the relationship between the theological sub-disciplines?THE BRANCHES OF THEOLOGY
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.
How is theology sub-divided? 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?This is a better way to viewthe relationship betweenthe sub-disciplines. Itshows that theology is asingle, holistic field ofstudy. Each sub-disciplinecontributes valuableperspective to the whole.
What are the attitudes and techniques by which we dotheology?THE METHODS OF THEOLOGY
The MethodsTheology can mean • Hermeneutical:‘reasoning and discoursing we interpretabout God’. We do • Critical:theology by thinking and we re-evaluatespeaking about God’sword and our faith. • Dialogical: we discuss • Correlational: we compare
Conclusion• 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.
Questions for Reflection• Is this a vision of theology that we share? Are there aspects of this that need to be tweaked?• At first impressions, based on your experience of SATS to date, how do you think we are doing at communicating and instilling this understanding of theology in our students?