Laying the Ground Work
"Theology" to most people this is a term that has little or no interest to them at all. Yet, it is theology that should be the most important thing to the believers life. As an Apologist my entire existence is based on a proper understanding of theology. It is for these two reasons that I want to begin this lengthy series on Systematic Theology.
It should be understood that my approach to theology is more philosophical. So what I present in this series is going to have a Philosophical slant to it. The method that I have been using in my own study of theology is the method I will use here. My theological thinking follows a particular pattern, this pattern is: Exegesis-Biblical theology-and then systematic. The Bible translation that I have chosen to use for this series is the Holmen Christian Standard. All references found in this series will come form the said translation, unless other wise noted.
What is Theology?
The word Theology comes form two Greek words. The first word is theos which means "God", the second word is logos, which means "reason" or "discourse." Thus, Theology is simply rational discourse about God. The question now is what type of rational discourse about God are we talking about? We live in multicultural age where there are many religions in our country. So to just say theology, is to be way to broad. So in order to avoid any confusion we are going to attach the word evangelical to theolgy. Evangelical Theology then is that discourse about God that maintains that there are certain fundamental truth that are held by those who call themselves Christians. Some of these essential beliefs include, the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible alone, the tri-unity of God, the virgin birth, the incarnation, the two nature of Christ, the atonement, and the resurrection.
In every system that exist in the human mind there is always a foundation that is being built upon. Evangelical theology is no different. The first part of this series is going to be a discussion on those foundational stones that must be in place in order to have a proper Evangelical Theology.
In our discussion we are going to consider twelve stones that must be laid first. These stones are: Metaphysical, supernatural, Revelational, Rational, Semantical, Epistemological, Oppositional, Linguistical, Hermeneutuical, Historical, and finall methodological. These twelve stones make possible the rational discouse about God that will take place in this series. When a person starts a journey one of the most important tools that he want to take with him is a map in order to know where he is at all times. This is also very true when it comes to Evengelical theology.
The Theological map
Because of the scope of Evengelical Theology it is important to have a general map. The map that I want to give you will help you find where systemtic theology falls in the broad scope of things. First, You have the unbrella of Theological studies,under this unbrella there are four differant type of theological studies. 1) Biblical studies,2) Historical Studies,3) Doctrinal studies, and finally Practical studies. under each of these studies there is a theology to go with it. In other words, you have 1) Biblical theology,2) Historical Theology, 3) under Doctrinal studies you have Systematic Theology, and then under Practical studuies you have Philosophical Theology. All these types of theology that we just named all deal with the main issues of Theolgy like, Scripture, God, Man, Sin, Christ, Salvation, Chruch, and Last things.
In Part one of the introduction to our discussion on Systematic Theology, we look at what theology is, we also saw what foundation stones are nessary to have a Evanegelical Theolgy. Finally, we developed a map that will help use keep track of where we are on this theological journey. In Part II of this introduction we will discss certain relationships that exist in this field of study.