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What is Theology? Essays

What is Theology?
A.W. Tozer said, “The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still” and Henry Ward Beecher spoke the following words, “Theology is a science of mind applied to God”. Inside every person there is a voice of a theologian. Human minds like A.W. Tozer and Henry Ward Beecher have contributed to the ideas of theology just like millions of others. As long as an individual believes something about God, then that person is practicing theology in its simplest form. Since our beliefs about YHWH dictate how we live knowing about theology and what it is becomes an important aspect of life. This essay will provide a summary definition of theology, define theological task, cover various approaches used to define theology, and it will cover 3 sources for the theological task according to Grenz. Definitions
Theology is noun used to describe the study of religious truths of God. This includes studying God’s characteristics, God’s universe, and religious concepts. Guthrie’s definition of theology is, “The quest for the ultimate truth about God, about oneself, and about the world (Guthrie, 1994). It is amazing that Beecher would consider theology to be like science because theology is not studying facts, systems, quantitative, and qualitative data from an objective repetitive manner. Instead, theology is meant to learn about Yahweh and all that falls under Him. It is to engage and connect the theologian in a relationship process to Yahweh. As the lecture states theology, “is done to guide the church in its ongoing tasks and challenges” (GCU, 2011).
Since theology is not like hard science’s most of Yeshua’s followers would agree that theology is best described as a “theological task”. Theological task is a process that has been going on for years. Early thinkers, theologians, and scholars have been studying Yahweh and contributing ideas for future theologians to build upon. This ongoing process of active study with God is what makes theology more of a task rather than a disciplined study such as science where objectivity is most desired. The element that makes the theological task so unique is its aspiration to include the theologian’s personal reflections into the study. Concerns
Answering the question “What is theology” is not an easy assignment. It is not impossible; it is just complex because of the multiple views involved. Faith in Yahweh, Yeshua, and Paraclete produces ones theology. By faith and communication believers will experience a relationship with God. Since theology is the result of faith each individual’s experience with Yahweh is not the same in turn the theological task struggles to develop a solid definition.
The Greeks used theology to refer to the sayings of philosophers, poets, and divine matters (Grenz, 2000). Grenz also points out that medieval thinkers believed the term theology to refer solely to the doctrine of God. If every time people believed in Yahweh and experienced the exact same feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc., then we would be able to make a solid statement like every individual that has faith (A) in Yahweh will experience B and believe C. This would make defining theology as easy as ABC but this is not the case! Yahweh has created humans so diverse that when we have faith in Him our results in experience and theology reflect the many colors of the rainbow. The Solution
Recent and past scholars are aware of this concern and have been working towards a solution. Theology is studied in various forms such as systematic theology, historical theology, biblical theology, practical theology, etc. Each of these studies is the result of faith in Yahweh and may appear as though they are not directly related unless the idea of a motif is presented. The role of the motif is to anchor all of the diverse beliefs back to one common thought. The motif assists in keeping the theologian grounded to a foundation before he/or she is carried away into the abyss of diversity. Grenz & Theological Task
The modern theologian Grenz contributed many ideas and concepts when dealing with the theological task. In his book Theology for the Community of God he proposed that there are three sources or norms for theology. These sources are, “biblical message, the theological heritage of the church, and the thought-forms of the historical-cultural context in which the contemporary people of God seek to speak, live, and act” (Grenz, 2000). The shortened forms are known as scripture, tradition, and culture.
The Biblical message is the chief element of the three sources. The canonized Bible is widely recognized as the foundational text of the Christian Church. “Its message functions as the central norm for the systematic articulation of the … community”. Next is the church tradition. The purpose of church history is to see how past believers expressed their faith with the salvinic knowledge of Yahweh revealed in Yeshua. Traditions of the church may assist believers in faith building, becoming stronger believers, help to avoid committing acts of heresy out of ignorance, and aid one in living out the mandate contained within the Biblical message. Last of the three sources is culture. Theology relies on the reflection of the believer. It needs a human body to engage with or there would be no point to theology. Concepts within the culture help to express theology in a meaningful way that other humans can learn from. Reason and Experience
Grenz’s three sources are needed in the study of theology; however, he missed two vital sources named experience and reason. It is a beautiful component of life. Experience is more than the “icing on the cake” but rather it is the actual partaking of the cake and all of its goodness. It would be horrible to listen to a great chef explain in detail his mouthwatering tasty dish and then never get to taste his beautiful masterpiece. As a matter of fact, an event like that may arouse emotions of anger, hurt, or bitterness for withholding such good things. Likewise, God does not want His creations to study Him and then never experience or taste His goodness. It would be devastating for Yahweh and people to know about a love so divine and never get to experience it.
The second additional source mentioned is reason. This element is needed in theological study to explain the subject matter. Scripture, tradition, culture, experience, and theology as a whole will make more sense if we can explain and give more reasoning behind each item. For example, if a person came up to me and says they are going to jump out of a plane today. I might think they are crazy, lying, or maybe even need some mental assistance. On the contrary, if the same individual provides a reason for wanting to jump out of an air plane like ‘it’s my birthday and I want to do something to feel young and free.’ The reason behind the action helps one to cognitively understand the other person. Now he does not sound mental but as if he is excited to have fun. The same thing goes with theology. Once can preach the facts of the cross but without the reason of Yahweh’s love for people, the message of the cross tends to lose some of its power. Conclusion
In conclusion, theology effects our daily lives and most people practice theology without really thinking about it. A.W. Tozer believed satin to be a better theologian than humans, surely this was a factor in his great pursuit of The knowledge of the Holy and his other great works. People are driven by theology. Theology is what we believe about God or as presented in this paper it is the product of faith in God. Theology is not easily defined especially because it is an ongoing process known as the theological task. Within theology we find different systems, sources, and concepts at work. Each unique part is needed to weave the best theological tapestry (Reed, 2013).
References
Chrisitan Quotes (2012) Theology Quotes. Via Web Source: http://christian-quotes.ochristian.com/Theology-Quotes/. Retrieved 9/25/2013. Grenz, S. J. (2000). Theology for the community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s.
Grenz, S. J. and Franke, J. (2001). Beyond foundationalism: Shaping theology in a postmodern context. Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox.
Guthrie, S. (1968). Christian doctrine. Teachings of the Christian church. CLC Press McGrath, A. (Ed.). (2006). The Christian theology reader. (4th ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Reed, P. (2013) Class Discussion:
Tapestry. Via Web Source: www.gcu.edu. Retrived 9/24/2013.

What is Theology?
Verónica Regalado
Grand Canyon University: HTH 505 Systematic Theology I
25 September of 2013
What is Theology?
A.W. Tozer said, “The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still” and Henry Ward Beecher spoke the following words, “Theology is a science of mind applied to God”. Inside every person there is a voice of a theologian. Human minds like A.W. Tozer and Henry Ward Beecher have contributed to the ideas of theology just like millions of others. As long as an individual believes something about God, then that person is practicing theology in its simplest form. Since our beliefs about YHWH dictate how we live knowing about theology and what it is becomes an important aspect of life. This essay will provide a summary definition of theology, define theological task, cover various approaches used to define theology, and it will cover 3 sources for the theological task according to Grenz. Definitions
Theology is noun used to describe the study of religious truths of God. This includes studying God’s characteristics, God’s universe, and religious concepts. Guthrie’s definition of theology is, “The quest for the ultimate truth about God, about oneself, and about the world (Guthrie, 1994). It is amazing that Beecher would consider theology to be like science because theology is not studying facts, systems, quantitative, and qualitative data from an objective repetitive manner. Instead, theology is meant to learn about Yahweh and all that falls under Him. It is to engage and connect the theologian in a relationship process to Yahweh. As the lecture states theology, “is done to guide the church in its ongoing tasks and challenges” (GCU, 2011).
Since theology is not like hard science’s most of Yeshua’s followers would agree that theology is best described as a “theological task”. Theological task is a process that has been going on for years. Early thinkers, theologians, and scholars have been studying Yahweh and contributing ideas for future theologians to build upon. This ongoing process of active study with God is what makes theology more of a task rather than a disciplined study such as science where objectivity is most desired. The element that makes the theological task so unique is its aspiration to include the theologian’s personal reflections into the study. Concerns
Answering the question “What is theology” is not an easy assignment. It is not impossible; it is just complex because of the multiple views involved. Faith in Yahweh, Yeshua, and Paraclete produces ones theology. By faith and communication believers will experience a relationship with God. Since theology is the result of faith each individual’s experience with Yahweh is not the same in turn the theological task struggles to develop a solid definition.
The Greeks used theology to refer to the sayings of philosophers, poets, and divine matters (Grenz, 2000). Grenz also points out that medieval thinkers believed the term theology to refer solely to the doctrine of God. If every time people believed in Yahweh and experienced the exact same feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc., then we would be able to make a solid statement like every individual that has faith (A) in Yahweh will experience B and believe C. This would make defining theology as easy as ABC but this is not the case! Yahweh has created humans so diverse that when we have faith in Him our results in experience and theology reflect the many colors of the rainbow. The Solution
Recent and past scholars are aware of this concern and have been working towards a solution. Theology is studied in various forms such as systematic theology, historical theology, biblical theology, practical theology, etc. Each of these studies is the result of faith in Yahweh and may appear as though they are not directly related unless the idea of a motif is presented. The role of the motif is to anchor all of the diverse beliefs
back to one common thought. The motif assists in keeping the theologian grounded to a foundation before he/or she is carried away into the abyss of diversity. Grenz & Theological Task
The modern theologian Grenz contributed many ideas and concepts when dealing with the theological task. In his book Theology for the Community of God he proposed that there are three sources or norms for theology. These sources are, “biblical message, the theological heritage of the church, and the thought-forms of the historical-cultural context in which the contemporary people of God seek to speak, live, and act” (Grenz, 2000). The shortened forms are known as scripture, tradition, and culture.
The Biblical message is the chief element of the three sources. The canonized Bible is widely recognized as the foundational text of the Christian Church. “Its message functions as the central norm for the systematic articulation of the … community”. Next is the church tradition. The purpose of church history is to see how past believers expressed their faith with the salvinic knowledge of Yahweh revealed in Yeshua. Traditions of the church may assist believers in faith building, becoming stronger believers, help to avoid committing acts of heresy out of ignorance, and aid one in living out the mandate contained within the Biblical message. Last of the three sources is culture. Theology relies on the reflection of the believer. It needs a human body to engage with or there would be no point to theology. Concepts within the culture help to express theology in a meaningful way that other humans can learn from. Reason and Experience
Grenz’s three sources are needed in the study of theology; however, he missed two vital sources named experience and reason. It is a beautiful component of life. Experience is more than the “icing on the cake” but rather it is the actual partaking of the cake and all of its goodness. It would be horrible to listen to a great chef explain in detail his mouthwatering tasty dish and then never get to taste his beautiful masterpiece. As a matter of fact, an event like that may arouse emotions of anger, hurt, or bitterness for withholding such good things. Likewise, God does not want His creations to study Him and then never experience or taste His goodness. It would be
devastating for Yahweh and people to know about a love so divine and never get to experience it.
The second additional source mentioned is reason. This element is needed in theological study to explain the subject matter. Scripture, tradition, culture, experience, and theology as a whole will make more sense if we can explain and give more reasoning behind each item. For example, if a person came up to me and says they are going to jump out of a plane today. I might think they are crazy, lying, or maybe even need some mental assistance. On the contrary, if the same individual provides a reason for wanting to jump out of an air plane like ‘it’s my birthday and I want to do something to feel young and free.’ The reason behind the action helps one to cognitively understand the other person. Now he does not sound mental but as if he is excited to have fun. The same thing goes with theology. Once can preach the facts of the cross but without the reason of Yahweh’s love for people, the message of the cross tends to lose some of its power. Conclusion
In conclusion, theology effects our daily lives and most people practice theology without really thinking about it. A.W. Tozer believed satin to be a better theologian than humans, surely this was a factor in his great pursuit of The knowledge of the Holy and his other great works. People are driven by theology. Theology is what we believe about God or as presented in this paper it is the product of faith in God. Theology is not easily defined especially because it is an ongoing process known as the theological task. Within theology we find different systems, sources, and concepts at work. Each unique part is needed to weave the best theological tapestry (Reed, 2013).
References
Chrisitan Quotes (2012) Theology Quotes. Via Web Source: http://christian-quotes.ochristian.com/Theology-Quotes/. Retrieved 9/25/2013. Grenz, S. J. (2000). Theology for the community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s.
Grenz, S. J. and Franke, J. (2001). Beyond foundationalism: Shaping theology in a postmodern context. Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox.
Guthrie, S. (1968). Christian doctrine. Teachings of the Christian church. CLC Press McGrath, A. (Ed.). (2006). The Christian theology reader. (4th ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Reed, P. (2013) Class Discussion: Tapestry. Via Web Source: www.gcu.edu. Retrived 9/24/2013.

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