Posted in January

Week 3 Homework (due 1/23/17)

Textbook Outline:

Mosaic Chapter 2, Sources and Norms of Christian Belief: One and Many

    1. Issues and Polarities of Christian Beliefs about Sources and Norms
      1. diverse opinions held by Christians about appropriate sources and norms for beliefs
      2. tradition- “consensus of Christians during the first nine centuries of Christianity”
        1. the Bible and cannon comes from tradition
      3. Christians disagree if there is one source and norm or various
    2. The Christian Consensus about Sources and Norms
      1. three main sources and norms for early church fathers- the Rule of Faith, the writings of the apostles, the Hebrew prophets
      2. Scripture is the main source and norm, but it is not the only source and norm
      3. the Wesleyan Quadrilateral- four main specific sources and norms for Christian theologians; Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience
    3. Alternative Views of Sources and Norms
      1. Gnostics- Simon Magus; wisdom/higher knowledge is the “ultimate source & norm”
      2. Montanism- Montanus’ prophesies were equal to “those of the Hebrew prophets and Christian apostles”; New Prophesy movement
      3. Holy Order- 1970’s; “Gnostic wisdom and Montanism prophecies”
      4. Deism/natural theology- John Locke; based on “natural reason not spiritual revelation”
      5. liberal theology- Kant; modern ideas and human experience is the source and norm
      6. fundamentalists believe the Bible is the only source and norm
    4. Diverse Christians Views of Sources and Norms
      1. disagreement among Christians to the proportion of authority in Quadrilateral
        1. most diversity between whether Scripture is the first priority or tradition
    5. A Unitive Christian View of Theology’s Sources and Norms
      1. sola scriptura- the Bible is the norming norm; “the most important source”

Who Needs Theology? Chapter 5, Theology’s Tasks & Traditions

    1. Two major tasks of theology critical task and constructive task
    2. Theology’s Critical Task
      1. “to examine beliefs and teachings about God, ourselves and the world in light of Christian sources”
      2. “to divide valid Christian beliefs into categories based on levels of importance”
        1. three categories of beliefs- dogma, doctrine, opinion
    3. Theology’s Constructive Task
      1. “to set forth the unity and coherence of the biblical teaching about God, ourselves and the world in the context in which God calls us to be disciples”
        1. tries to “construct and unify Christian doctrines and relate them faithfully and relevantly to contemporary culture”
      2. “relating biblical models to contemporary culture”
    4. Theology’s Traditions
      1. to understand theology we must understand it’s traditions

Who Needs Theology? Chapter 6, The Theologian’s Tools

    1. Why Theology Needs Tools
      1. Context affects how individuals interpret the Bible
      2. Theology’s purpose- to find living truth, or to live in the truth
    2. The Tools of Theology
      1. sources to construct theology
      2. norms that mold and indicate our theology
      3. these work with the biblical message, church theology, and contemporary culture
    3. The Biblical Message
      1. Primary tool; “Everything about the Bible is foundational to theology.”
    4. The Theological Heritage of the Church
      1. Heritage is a reference point- example of previous theological attempts
    5. The Thought-Forms of Contemporary Culture
      1. Theology must be relevant- understandable, needed and insightful

Question Response

Beliefs are impacted by many factors.  Personal experiences, beliefs from other individuals and the opinions of groups or organizations all impact a person’s beliefs.  Due to this effective nature of beliefs, once one person has developed or shared their beliefs, they will then influence the beliefs of others.  If a pastor has a personal preference which is different from other pastors in similar denominations or churches, this pastor will most likely influence their congregation to feel this way as well.  When a person has a unique opinion, they can cause people to notice and run to their conventional beliefs.   Orthodoxy can lead to heresy and heresy can lead to orthodoxy.

How does heresy lead to orthodoxy?  When I ponder this question, I am reminded of individuals who are very unique, in either their interests, mannerisms, clothing, or thoughts.  While they may often be viewed negatively, there is nothing wrong with this type of individuality.  If causes other people to examine their own choices, attitudes, and beliefs.  Observing a person who acts in a different manner causes people to realize their beliefs and attitudes and typically they cling to them more purposefully.

This is one-way heresy leads to orthodoxy.  Recognizing the uncommon thoughts of other individuals or groups can make a person lean toward more frequently held beliefs.  In this quote, “heresy is the mother of orthodoxy”, the writer argues that heresy precedes orthodoxy.  Heresy causes people to either commit to heresy or commit to what is already orthodoxy.  The heresy precedes the orthodoxy in both instances.

This quote is often also true when people believe in the heresy.  This is due to the fact that if people keep believing in the heresy it will eventually become orthodoxy.  While this may take a long time, if people keep converting to the unusual beliefs they will become the usual beliefs.  All beliefs start as heresy, and with the passing of time, they might become orthodoxy.