Posted in January

Week 2 Homework (due 1/18/17)

Textbook Outline:

Mosaic Chapter 1, Christian Belief: Unity and Diversity

  1. The Necessity of Unity and the Great Tradition that Unites
    1. Christian must be distinct and not be compatible with every other belief system
      1. some Christian beliefs are more pivotal than others
      2. Great Tradition- essential beliefs that stemmed from the apostles
        1. “authentic Christianity”- Scripture, tradition, community
  2. Orthodoxy and Heresy: The Authority of the Great Tradition
    1. orthodoxy- right beliefs/correct doctrine
    2. heresy- a taught belief that goes against the orthodoxy
    3. difficult to distinguish between the two for “free-church Christians”
  3. Preserving Unity While Allowing Diversity
    1. theology should identify Christian orthodoxy and distinguish core beliefs from secondary beliefs (adiaphora)
    2. three categories of true Christian beliefs- dogmas (uncompromisingly true), doctrines (denomination or church beliefs), opinions (not in Bible/related to Christianity)
    3. bounded set category model- black-and-white, either Christian or not
    4. centered category set model- flexible, less boundaries on who is a Christian

Who Needs Theology Chapter 2, Not All Theologies are Equal

  1. Anyone in a particular study or discipline needs theology (everybody does)
  2. Theology is “faith seeking understanding”
    1. populist mentality to theology- negative view of those knowledgeable of Christianity
    2. Christianity should be reflected on by critical thought, logic, historical consciousness, and objectivity
  3. Folk theology- denies critical reflection and maintains informal and traditional beliefs and practices; beliefs from subjective feelings
  4. Lay theology- questioned folk theology; individuals interpret their faith
  5. Ministerial theology- reflective faith by trained, Christian preachers
  6. Professional theology- study and/or teach theology; critical; question students’ beliefs
  7. Academic theology- disconnected from Christianity; philosophical; highly speculative

Who Needs Theology Chapter 3- Defining Theology

  1. theology- “teaching concerning God” or “the study of God”
  2. Christian theology- “reflecting on and articulating the beliefs about God and the world that Christians share as followers of Jesus Christ”; “grounds Christian living”
    1. must use Bible to scrutinize beliefs
    2. should explore the significance of our beliefs for all life
    3. pleases God; theology should be God-centered

Who Needs Theology Chapter 4, Defending Theology

  1. No theology should not replace bad theology. Good theology should.
  2. Objections to theology-
    1. Killjoy- “Arent God and his Word meant to be enjoyed?”
    2. Divisiveness Charge- “Jesus unites; theology Divides
    3. Speculation Accusation- theology examines incomprehensible mysteries; impractical
    4. Stalemate Indictment- stuck reasoning, with no future progress available

Question Response

“Theology is an exposition of the teachings of Scripture”.  Exposition is defined as a description or explanation.  While I believe theology can portray and elaborate on what the Bible is saying, I do not entirely agree with this definition.  Theology should look at each scripture in Bible, not just the ones that define what Christianity is or who God is.  Theology should also consider other sources in its search of the Christian beliefs.

Theology works to interpret the meaning of the entire Bible.  This quote limits the impact and range of theology.  It narrows what the Bible covers to only the pivotal beliefs that can be easily defined or listed.  Theology should study more than just the main scriptures within Bible.   Theology should look at the Bible as a whole and address each issue and within it.

While the teachings found within the Bible should be the mold which Christianity takes, other aspects shape how Christianity, and God, is understood.  Theology should consider these alongside the truths in the Bible.  Accounts from ancient and current historians, Christians, philosophers which address attributes of the Christian God should be referenced.  Authors such as C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, and John Bunyan greatly influenced society’s understanding of the gospel and the God of the gospel.  Since these authors have and continue to elongate the reasoning and comprehension of the Bible, their influence on the Christian beliefs should also be studied within the realm of theology.

The Bible is the main source for understanding God and His way of living. While a crucial attribute to theology is describing and explaining the scripture, there are other documents that should also be considered when examining Christian beliefs.  Alternative writings and sources should come alongside the Bible to create a clear and easily understood theology.

Acts 17:16-31 Response

God is here.  I love that the God we serve is ever-present and ever-willing to help.  He is not an abstract concept, he is a personal connection.  Unfortunately, there are many people who believe in the One, True God, and yet miss out on this close relationship.  In Acts 17:16-31, Paul addresses this issue by showing the Athens that God desires to intimately interact with each individual, rather than receive religious sacrifices and offerings.

Paul used strategic methods to connect with his audience and persuade them to his reasoning.  In verse 22, Paul began by recognizing the Athens’ devoutness to their religion.  This caused them to validated and respected, which helped them become more open to listening to Paul’s announcement.  Paul then acknowledged that the Athens did not know the God they worshiped, which they even admitted on their altar.  By formatting his speech this way, Paul affirmed the Athens’ religious faithfulness while showing them that their religion could have a greater impact if they knew the God they served.

Paul continued his declaration by stating the features roles of God.  As the Athens did not know God personally, Paul displayed to them the character and heart of God.  He described God as the Creator and Lord (24), a Provider (25), a present Power (27-28), and a Father (29).  Paul knew that telling the Athens to get to know God on their own efforts would likely have little impact, so he laid out to them who God truly is.  Paul’s desire was for the Athens to catch a glimpse of God’s great love and care for people, which would hopefully motivate them to know the God they devoutly worshiped.

Paul recognized that he could substantially impact the Athens during his brief time there, but he had to be careful in how he formed his statements.  The Athens were religious in their actions, but they did not know the reason for their religious deeds.  Paul’s thoughtfully structured speech validated the Athens’ current religious faithfulness and encouraged them to be faithful to God, who was waiting to join them.