Posted in January

Week 1 Homework (due 1/13/17)

Mosaic: Introduction Summary 

  1. Unapologetic Apology for Yet Another Handbook of Christian Doctrine
    1. This book fills a gap in Christian literature
      1. “thoroughly biblical and faithful to the Great Tradition of Christianity”
      2. “contemporary in its restatement of what Christians have always believed”
      3. “a mediating theological perspective within the broad tradition of evangelical Protestant Christianity”
      4. non-speculative- it aims to justify the reasoning
      5. “simplicity without oversimplification”- avoids theological jargon and explains technical terms
  2. Both-and Rather than Either-Or Theology
    1. Theology scares many Christians
      1. they assume that this caused the problems with Christianity
  1. Christianity is at risk to become a “folk religion”
    1. feelings instead of intellect
    2. resist criticism and confessing beliefs
    3. New-Age movement- 1970
    4. little or no public impact
    5. Christian’s decline in “awareness of basic Christian beliefs”
  2. This book aims to give “a fresh exposition of the old Christian faith in its unity and diversity”
    1. the book covers beliefs, in both doctrine and theology
      1. belief- “assent of the mind to a proposition (truth claim) or set of propositions”
        1. Christians have always believed certain things and not believed other things
      2. doctrine- “a relatively complex religious belief”
        1. develops from beliefs
        2. there is a doctrine of separation of church and state
      3. theology- “the process of examination and reflection that leads to the construction and reconstruction of doctrines”
        1. theology is process, doctrine is product
        2. heresy- wrong belief, that must be rejected
        3. dogma- an unquestionable, required doctrine
  3. Either-or theology or both-and theology
    1. either-or theology- people accept false alternatives, i.e. either this or this
    2. both-and theology- often unused, people recognize both sides are true
    3. theology should “construct relatively coherent, workable models of the transcendent realities revealed by God in Jesus Christ and the inspired Scripture”
    4. both-and theology does not exclude either-or theology
      1. “it looks at twin truths of divine revelation and seeks to do justice to both”
    5. historical theology has illustrations of false either-or reasoning
      1. example: debate between Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus
    6. both-and theology is important
      1. false doctrines undermines Christianity
      2. quarreling and indifference, due to reasoning with theology, becomes scandalous
      3. convinces Christians importance of doctrine and theology
  4. Writer’s theological perspective
    1. influenced by various forms of Christianity
    2. evangelical approach
    3. will try to avoid biases in the work


Question Response

The complexity of theology provides opportunities for improper arguments and beliefs.  Either-or theology, in particular, causes individuals to disregard certain beliefs as they do not fit into more strongly held beliefs.  It holds that since one statement seems truer than another statement, only that statement is true.  Both-and theology endeavors to eliminate this fallacy.  Both-and theology provides the space for an individual to believe two views, even when they appear contradictory.

The both-and approach to interpreting theology benefits those who employ it.  It specifically works well when two arguments appear to be true but conflicts with each other.  An example of this is the Bible’s statements that Satan is the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and that God is over all, including the world (Ephesians 4:6).  If these two passages were explained through either-or theology, one of the statements would be deemed false, invalidating the Bible reliability.  By understanding the verses through either-or theology, a person can recognize both the power that Satan holds in the world and how in spite of this, God still remains over all.

Both-and theology is not perfect, however.  Since this approach can classify two opposing views as true, it can cause believers, or non-believers, to believe both sides of an argument when only one side is true.  This can be seen when Christians know God wants them to bless them (Malachi 3:10), but believe that God blessing them financially is a form of greed (Psalm 37:16).  People who take a both-and approach to understanding this may decide that God should not financially bless them and coincidentally miss out on God’s provisions.  While both-and theology is not appropriate for every theological dilemma, it provides an opening to validate two contradictory views, a crucial aspect of understanding theology.