Earlier this week I posted six definitions of theology from "the pros" - evangelical scholars who are worth listening to as we consider what theology is. As helpful as these definitions are, I've also crafted my own definition of theology that tries to not only articulate what theology is, but also works to clarify in one definition where Christian theology is (ultimately) sourced, how far it reaches, and what it's for.
I'll simply include my working definition of theology below, and then expand briefly on each of these areas.
Again, I've tried to be intentional in this definition - clarifying where Christian theology is (ultimately) sourced, how far it reaches, and what it's for. Let's look at each of these:
The (Final) Source of Christian Theology
You’ll see that this definition emphasizes the ultimate source of Christian theology: all of God’s Word. Reason, tradition and more certainly play a role in formulating theology, but the final authority for theology is the Bible. All of the Bible.
The Reach of Christian Theology
This definition shows the reach of theology: each of our lives, and every part of each of our lives. Theology isn’t just about “knowing some stuff” and gathering information. Theology shouldn’t be compartmentalized in our lives; shoved into some file folder in our brains and only referred to in certain situations. The splash that studying theology sends out should send ripples into each of our lives, into every corner of our lives, and have implications for the many situations that we face every day. Theology should form us - our minds, our values, and our habits.
The Purpose of Christian Theology
This definition keeps us focused on two of the purposes of theology: doing Christian theology should cultivate communion with our triune God and serve the advance of His mission in the world. In other words, the goal of studying theology isn't just to "know some stuff." (Though it might include that.) At a high level, the goal I want to keep in front of us is this: knowing God well, and serving God faithfully. Theology should help us with both of those things.
Interested in more on this? Check out these posts or scroll through what's included under our "Theology" category on this blog.
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