I would like to coin the phrase alimentary theology, a theology that is more attentive to and welcoming of the multiple layers contained and implied in the making of theology. This is a theology that not only pays closer attention to matters related to food and nourishment, and the many ways they can relate, inspire, and inform theological reflection. Most importantly, it is an envisioning of theology as nourishment: food as theology and theology as food. Alimentary theology is envisioned as food for thought; it addresses some of the spiritual and physical hungers of the world, and seeks ways of bringing about nourishment.
Angel F. Mendez Montoya
The ultimate goal of theology isn't knowledge, but worship. If our learning and knowledge of God do not lead to the joyful praise of God, we have failed. We learn only that we might laud, which is to say that theology without doxology is idolatry. The only theology worth studying is a theology that can be sung!
In every system of theology, therefore, there is a chapter De libero arbitrio. This is a question which every theologian finds in his path, and which he must dispose of; and on the manner in which it is determined depends his theology, and of course his religion, so far as his theology is to him a truth and reality
Theology is not a private subject for theologians only. Nor is it a private subject for professors. Fortunately, there have always been pastors who have understood more about theology than most professors. Nor is theology a private subject of study for pastors. Fortunately, there have repeatedly been congregation members, and often whole congregations, who have pursued theology energetically while their pastors were theological infants or barbarians. Theology is a matter for the Church.
Note, though, something else of great significance about the whole Christian theology of resurrection, ascension, second coming, and hope. This theology was born out of confrontation with the political authorities, out of the conviction that Jesus was already the true Lord of the world who would one day be manifested as such. The rapture theology avoids this confrontation because it suggests that Christians will miraculously be removed from this wicked world. Perhaps that is why such theology is often Gnostic in its tendency towards a private dualistic spirituality and towards a political laissez-faire quietism. And perhaps that is partly why such theology with its dreams of Armageddon, has quietly supported the political status quo in a way that Paul would never have done.
Theology is a non-subject. I'm not saying that professors of theology are non-professors. They do interesting things, like study biblical history, biblical literature. But theology, the study of gods, the study of what gods do, presupposes that gods exist. The only kind of theology that I take account of are those theological arguments that actually argue for the existence of God.
Whether you realize it or not, you are a theologian. You come to a book like this with a working theology, an existing understanding of God. Whether you are an agnostic or a fundamentalist - or something in between - you have a working theology that shapes and informs the way you think and live. However, I suspect that you are reading this book because you're interested in examining your theology more closely. You are open to having it challenged and strengthened. You know that theology - the study of God - is more than an intellectual hobby. It's a matter of life and death, something that affects the way you think, the decisions you make each day, the way you relate to God and other people, and the way you see yourself and the world around you.
Michael S. Horton
I do not believe that God intended the study of theology to be dry and boring. Theology is the study of God and all his works! Theology is meant to be LIVED and PRAYED and SUNG! All of the great doctrinal writings of the Bible (such as Paul's epistle to the Romans) are full of praise to God and personal application to life.
There is however difference between the theology of liberation and traditional theology, the latter being based primarily On the Word of God made incarnate in the Holy Scripture Liberation theology is of course also inspired by the Word, but its representatives are convinced that God also speaks to us in everyday events and that, for example, information obtained through the mass media can be a special way in which God speaks to us.
Who should listen to discussions of theology? Those for whom it is a serious undertaking, not just another subject like any other for entertaining small-talk, after the races, the theater, songs, food, and sex: for there are people who count chatter on theology and clever deployment of arguments as one of their amusements.
Gregory of Nazianzus
I hope and believe my co-religionists understand and admit that I disclaim their theology in toto, and that by no twisting of language or darkening of its meanings can I be made to have any thing whatever in common with them about religious matters... they must take my word for it that there is nothing in common between their theology and my philosophy.
The theology of the cross is not a cerebral thing; it profoundly affects our Christian experience and existence, making demands upon our whole lives and turning theology into something which controls not just our thoughts, but the very way in which we experience the world around and taste the blessing and fellowship of God himself. pp.48-49
Carl R. Trueman
We see in the 20th Century an unfortunate trench warfare, in which psychoanalysis, in a struggle against the internalized compulsion and superstition of a particular doctrine, has expressed itself atheistically. By contrast, theology is not merely under suspicion of talking soullessly about God. Both theology and psychology, in striving for human health, need one another like the right and the left hand.
Theology recognizes the contingency of human existence only to derive it from a necessary being, that is, to remove it. Theology makes use of philosophical wonder only for the purpose of motivating an affirmation which ends it. Philosophy, on the other hand, arouses us to what is problematic in our own existence and in that of the world, to such a point that we shall never be cured of searching for a solution.
the seeker who embraces positive theology finds ... that you can have all that stuff in the mall, as well as the beautiful house and car, if only you believe that you can. But ... if you don't have all that you want, if you feel sick, discouraged, or defeated, you have only yourself to blame. Positive theology ratifies and completes a world without beauty, transcendence, or mercy.
So Marxism, Freudianism: any one of these things I think is an irrational cult. They're theology, so they're whatever you think of theology; I don't think much of it. In fact, in my view that's exactly the right analogy: notions like Marxism and Freudianism belong to the history of organized religion.
Theology differs from science in many respects, because of its different subject matter, a personal God who cannot be put to the test in the way that the impersonal physical world can be subjected to experimental enquiry. Yet science and theology have this in common, that each can be, and should be defended as being investigations of what is, the search for increasing verisimilitude in our understanding of reality.
What is the right time [to discuss theology]? Whenever we are free from the mire and noise without, and our commanding faculty is not confused by illusory, wandering images, leading us, as it were, to mix fine script with ugly scrawling, or sweet-smelling scent with slime. We need actually 'to be still' (Ps. 46:10) in order to know God, and when we receive the opportunity, 'to judge uprightly' (Ps. 75:2) in theology.
Gregory of Nazianzus
The scientific doctrine of progress is destined to replace not only the myth of progress, but all other myths of human earthly destiny. It will inevitably become one of the cornerstones of man's theology, or whatever may be the future substitute for theology, and the most important external support for human ethics.
when Christian theology becomes traditionalism and men fail to hold and use it as they do a living language, it becomes an obstacle, not a help to religious conviction. To the greatest of the early Fathers and the great scholastics theology was a language which, like all language, had a grammar and a vocabulary from the past, but which they used to express all the knowledge and experience of their own time as well.
The classic theology of my tradition comes from the French Renaissance. [William] Shakespeare was born in 1564, the year [John] Calvin died, and that theology was very influential in England in his lifetime. I think Shakespeare was attentive to questions raised by it, about human nature, history, reality itself. I find the two literatures to be mutually illuminating.
If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, of self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God's name, it was bad theology.
TO BE asked to minister without an informing vision of God (which is what theology is really all about), however, is like being told to make bricks without straw. What keeps people going in ministry, and what, in my experience, congregations are longing for, is an exciting and empowering vision of God, articulated in a theology that is integrated with worship, prayer, and social action.
All over Europe the organs that represent dogmatic interests are in permanent opposition to the progressive tendencies around them, and are rapidly sinking into contempt. In every country in which a strong political life is manifested, the secularisation of politics is the consequence. Each stage of that movement has been initiated and effected by those who are most indifferent to dogmatic theology, and each has been opposed by those who are most occupied with theology.
William Edward Hartpole Lecky
Theology is indispensable for religious communities to make sense of themselves and their changing views about the world in light of what is perceived to be revelation, but, at the same time, that theology can have a pretentiousness, or double pretentiousness, if it is acontextual as opposed to contextual, if it is foundationalist as opposed to antifoundationalist, or ahistorical as opposed to historicist.
Theology is just not important in Judaism, or in any other religion, really. There's no orthodoxy, as you have it in the Catholic Church. No complicated creeds to which everybody must subscribe. No infallible pronouncements by a pope. Nobody can tell Jews what to believe. Within reason, you can believe what you like... We have orthopraxy instead of orthodoxy. Right practice rather then right belief. That's all. You Christians make such a fuss about theology, but it's not important in the way you think. It's just poetry, really, ways of talking about the inexpressible.
The theology of the average colored church is basing itself far too much upon Hell and Damnation-upon an attempt to scare people into being decent and threatening them with the terrors of death and punishment. We are still trained to believe a good deal that is simply childish in theology. The outward and visible punishment of every wrong deed that men do the repeated declaration that anything can be gotten by anyone at any time by prayer.
W. E. B. Du Bois
Nothing, indeed, could be more unlike the tone of the [Patristic] Fathers, than the cold, passionless, and prudential theology of the eighteenth century; a theology which regarded Christianity as an admirable auxiliary to the police force, and a principle of decorum and of cohesion in society, but which carefully banished from it all enthusiasm, veiled or attenuated all its mysteries, and virtually reduced it to an authoritative system of moral philosophy.
William Edward Hartpole Lecky
I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure. . . . When letters have declined and lain prostrate, theology, too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate. . . . It is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, because I see that by these studies as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily.
The essence of science is that it is always willing to abandon a given idea, however fundamental it may seem to be, for a better one; the essence of theology is that it holds its truths to be eternal and immutable. To be sure, theology is always yielding a little to the progress of knowledge, and only a Holy Roller in the mountains of Tennessee would dare to preach today what the popes preached in the Thirteenth Century, but this yielding is always done grudgingly, and thus lingers a good while behind the event.
H. L. Mencken
The object is evident in the name of the discipline. Similarly, theology (theologia) is the study of God. The object of theology is not the church's teaching or the experience of pious souls. It is not a subset of ethics, religious studies, cultural anthropology, or psychology. God is the object of this discipline.
Michael S. Horton
Some fundamentalists go so far as to reject psychology as a disciplined study, which is unfortunate and polarizing. By definition, psychology is the study of the soul, theology is the study of God. Generally speaking, systematic theology is a study of all the essential doctrines of faith, and that would include the study of our souls (psychology).
Neil T Anderson
There is a theology to gardening that few of us consider, but to understand this theology means relinquishing much control - our arsenal of books, techniques, tools, chemicals, fertilizers, fancy hybrids, and expectations. Yet, that is exactly what we must do if we are to fully embrace a more spiritual form of gardening. As a part of Nature we must learn to enter our garden as if it were truly sacred, we must learn to enter with humility.
I think the connection between poetry and theology, which is profound in Western tradition - there is a great deal of wonderful religious poetry - both poetry and theology push conventional definitions and explore perceptions that might be ignored or passed off as conventional, but when they are pressed yield much larger meanings, seem to be part of a much larger system of reality.
Think about that: at a time when it was inconceivable to have a woman rabbi or a woman scholar of Christian theology or canon law, the Islamic civilization boasted hundreds of women who were authorities in Islamic law and Islamic theology and that taught some of the most famous male jurists and left behind a remarkable corpus of writings.
Khaled Abou El Fadl
The crime of liberation theology was that it takes the Gospels seriously. That's unacceptable. The Gospels are radical pacifist material, if you take a look at them . . . Liberation theology, in Brazil particularly, brought the actual Gospel to peasants. They said, let's read what the Gospels say, and try to act on the principles they describe. That was the major crime that set off the Reagan wars of terror.
Broadly speaking, Protestants like to be good and have invented theology in order to keep themselves so, whereas Catholics like to be bad and have invented theology in order to keep their neighbors good. Hence, the social character of Catholicism and the individual character of Protestantism.
The theology of the average colored church is basing itself far too much upon 'Hell and Damnation'-upon an attempt to scare people into being decent and threatening them with the terrors of death and punishment. We are still trained to believe a good deal that is simply childish in theology. The outward and visible punishment of every wrong deed that men do, the repeated declaration that anything can be gotten by anyone at any time by prayer. [Essay entitled 'On Christianity', published posthumously]
W.E.B. Du Bois
The ultimate test of my understanding of the scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know about Him but to know Him! The whole object of salvation is to bring me to knowledge of God. If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer there is something wrong somewhere.
With theology as a code of dogmas which are to be believed, or at any rate repeated, under penalty of present or future punishment, or as a storehouse of anaesthetics for those who find the pains of life too hard to bear, I have nothing to do; and, so far as it may be possible, I shall avoid the expression of any opinion as to the objective truth or falsehood of the systems of theological speculation of which I may find occasion to speak. From my present point of view, theology is regarded as a natural product of the operations of the human mind, under the conditions of its existence, just as any other branch of science, or the arts of architecture, or music, or painting are such products. Like them, theology has a history. Like them also, it is to be met with in certain simple and rudimentary forms; and these can be connected by a multitude of gradations, which exist or have existed, among people of various ages and races, with the most highly developed theologies of past and present times.
Thomas Henry Huxley
I think that the Bible as literature should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum.. you can't understand English literature and culture without it. But insofar as theology studies the nature of the divine, it will earn the right to be taken seriously when it provides the slightest, smallest smidgen of a reason for believing in the existence of the divine. Meanwhile, we should devote as much time to studying serious theology as we devote to studying serious fairies and serious unicorns.
The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.
Wesley's theology was, then, largely a theology of reaction. Most of his theological output had polemical overtones, and some works were devoted exclusively to that end. The direction and the intensity of the challenge determined the character and strength of his reply. When this is taken into account, there is no contradiction between his teaching on Baptism and on the Lord's Supper. The Protestant and Catholic strands in Wesley's thought are held together in both cases, but the expression of their relative importance depends on the situation which is being addressed.
John R. Parris
We believe that the creation of a woman was the crowning and final and most glorified moment of human creation. That we start with light and dark and land and sea and we move through fish and fowl and beasts of the field and we get to Adam and it's still not good enough. And only when Eve was created - this is our theology [... ] - that is our theology, that the crowning creation and the glory of the human experience came with the creation of Eve.
Jeffrey R. Holland
To understand our faith - to theologize in the Catholic tradition - we need philosophy. We must use the philosophical language of God, person, creation, relationship, identity, natural law, virtues, conscience, moral norms if we are to think about religion and defend it. Theology has some terms and methods of its own, but its fundamental tools are borrowed from philosophy. The growth of religious fundamentalism and the collapse of religious education mean theology is more urgently needed in universities - especially Catholic ones - than ever before.
George Cardinal Pell
More than once I've had discussions with persons who say things based on a misunderstanding. 'Oh you Catholics worship images.' No we don't, 'yes you do,' no we don't, 'yes you do,' no we don't! The final retort to that is: I have a doctorate in Catholic theology that I have earned the hard way - by sitting in university classrooms for twelve years. I know what we believe! You get a doctorate in Catholic theology? What do you know about it? Nothing! You don't know anything about it. You're saying things that are born of misunderstanding or ignorance.
All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts not only because of their historical development - in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent god became the omnipotent lawgiver - but also because of their systematic structure, the recognition of which is necessary for a sociological consideration of these concepts. The exception in jurisprudence is analogous to the miracle in theology. Only by being aware of this analogy can we appreciate the manner in which the philosophical ideas of the state developed in the last centuries.
All discourses and disciplines proceed from commitments and beliefs that are ultimately religious in nature. No scientific discourse (whether natural science or social science) simply discloses to us the facts of reality to which theology must submit; rather, every discourse is, in some sense, religious. The playing field has been leveled. Theology is most persistently postmodern when it rejects a lingering correlational false humility and instead speaks unapologetically from the the primacy of Christian revelation and the church's confessional language.
James K.A. Smith
If I speak in the tongues of Reformers and of professional theologians, and I have not personal faith in Christ, my theology is nothing but the noisy beating of a snare drum. And if I have analytic powers and the gift of creating coherent conceptual systems of theology, so as to remove liberal objections, and have not personal hope in God, I am nothing. And if I give myself to resolving the debate between supra and infralapsarianism, and to defending inerrancy, and to learning the Westminster Catechism, yea, even the larger one, so as to recite it by heart backwards and forwards, and have not love, I have gained nothing.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer
I firmly believe that the method which sets theological theories against scientifically ascertained facts, is fatal to the current theology and injurious to the spirit of religion; and that the method which frankly recognizes the facts of life, and appreciates the spirit of the scientists whose patient and assiduous endeavor has brought those facts to light, will commend the spirit of religion to the new generation, and will benefit--not impair--theology as a science, by compelling its reconstruction.
If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion. So whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.
The Resurrection of Jesus is...a symbol of hope...I don't see how you can show love...without being in solidarity with the victims of this world. And if you are in solidarity with the victims, I don't see how you can avoid the cross. The theology of the cross is the theology of love in our real world.
The time and space in which I have been working on this cosmopolitan project have convinced me that the disparity between the ideal of cosmopolitan theology and the current sociopolitical configuration of hospitality, welcoming others, unconditional forgiveness, is itself a _prophetic call_ to which we all have to respond-as humans, as person of faith. The _real_ is always about calculation and conditionality, whereas the _ideal_ of cosmopolitan theology is about incalculability, unconditionality, and planetarity of the _world-as-it-ought-to-be_. Therefore, the disparity between the reality and the ideality is not a space for despair but a space where one's sense of prophetic call_ and passion for _the impossible_ must come in.
We're seeking "" imperfectly at every turn, no doubt "" an incarnational theology, a theology that brings radical good news of great joy for all the people, good news that God loves the world and didn't send Jesus to condemn it but to save it, good news that God's wrath is not merely punitive but restorative, good news that the fire of God's holiness is not bent on eternal torment but always works to purify and refine, good news that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
Brian D. McLaren
We're seeking - imperfectly at every turn, no doubt - an incarnational theology, a theology that brings radical good news of great joy for all the people, good news that God loves the world and didn't send Jesus to condemn it but to save it, good news that God's wrath is not merely punitive but restorative, good news that the fire of God's holiness is not bent on eternal torment but always works to purify and refine, good news that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
Brian D. McLaren
Evangelical Christians need to notice... , that the Reformation said 'Scripture Alone' and not 'the Revelation of God in Christ Alone'. If you do not have the view of the Scriptures that the Reformers had, you really have no content in the word 'Christ' - and this is the modern drift in theology. Modern theology uses the word without content because 'Christ' is cut away from the Scriptures. The Reformation followed the teaching of Christ Himself in linking the revelation Christ gave of God to the revelation of the written Scriptures.
Francis A. Schaeffer