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The Basis of Theology

-the God about whom theol. speaks pursues us, acts so as to overtake us, acquaints  us with himself, and therein discloses himself to us: God gives himself to us and illumines us concerning all that he has done.

-speculation doesn’t yield knowledge of God.

-we do not search for God; we flee him, and know him only as he overtakes us.

-theology is a rational explication of our understanding of the God whom we now know.

Note the nature of biblical “knowing.”

-scripture and HS are the source of our knowing (encountering) God; theol. is the intellectual activity by which truth about God is formulated and its meaning clarified.


Objections to Theology

1]  It appears to contradict the immediacy, intimacy, intensity and simplicity of faith.


2]  It appears to undercut the urgency of action (we are to be “doers” of the word) in the midst of a world whose suffering is incomprehensible.


3]  It appears to be “dogmatic” in the worst sense of the term.


4]  It appears fixated on disputes of earlier centuries.


Why Theology is Necessary

1]  It forfends amnesia, and all the problems associated with amnesia.  (See objection #4.)

It provides the “ballast” in the keel of the good ship “church.”

2]  It is necessary in the struggle against false teaching.


3]  It provides instruction in faith.


4]  It apprehends the totality of the biblical witness.

It apprehends the integration of this totality.


5]  It honours the concern for T/truth.



In Short

1]  Faith seeks understanding.  God is to be loved with the mind.

We cannot commend what we do not understand, however slightly.

2]  Faith engages that world which God has refused to abandon.  How does the Christian mind relate to philosophy, economics, psychology, ecology, the arts?


3]  A church that disdains theology is saying

(i)               there is no substance to the gospel

(ii)              there is no such thing as T/truth

(iii)            intellectual “mush” is God-honouring

(iv)            the past cannot inform us at all.