theology


God is not the object of our faith. God is the subject of our faith.

As my initial thought, I would suggest, in contradiction to Baker-Fletcher and Tillich (with whom she is conversing here), that God is both object and subject of our faith. God is the subject of our faith because, as Baker-Fletcher rightly notes, theology is necessarily about God and his creation. But faith is more than theology; it is also action. The act of faith has God as its proper object.

The content of faith and the act of faith are distinct, but they are never divided. Faith is always content and action.

  • Possibly refuting my own notions, since God is personal, can he properly be an object? If so, how?
  • If trust is person-to-person, and therefore subject-to-subject, does our faith have an object? If so, what is it?
  • If faith is indeed a relation to God as person, how should worship and fellowship change in your church?

The rubric below was created on a matrix consisting of a protestant understanding of the four marks of the church in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed and my own three-part ecclesiological perspective. This rubric is an evaluative tool that can be used to assess the practiced ecclesiology of a theologian, a local congregation, ecclesiological movement.

Excerpted from
AN ARTICULATION AND EVALUATION OF AN EMERGING CHURCH ECCLESIOLOGY
By Laura K. Springer
Th.M. Thesis, May 2008
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Reader: Robert L. Saucy, Ph.D.

The Church is One

  • The church is one in her connection to Christ.
  • Individual churches have structures and practices that express and encourage internal, local, and global connection.
  • Individual churches model and draw others toward the unity of the people of God.

The Church is Holy

  • The church is holy in that she consists only of those who are in Christ, those who are and are becoming holy by God’s grace.
  • Individual churches have structures and practices that expect and nurture corporate and personal holiness among those in Christ.
  • Individual churches model the right belief and right practices that glorify and reflect God.

The Church is Catholic

  • The church is catholic in that she consists of all those who are in Christ.
  • Individual churches have structures and practices that provide for and encourage breadth of proclamation and depth of cultural expression.
  • Individual churches declare and glorify the grace and sovereignty of God.

The Church is Apostolic

  • The church is apostolic in that she attends and submits to the Scriptures, received and recorded by the Apostles of Jesus.
  • Individual churches have structures and practices that provide for and encourage personal/corporate submission to and alignment with Scripture.
  • Individual churches experientially and verbally declare the Good News of God in Christ.
Excerpted from
AN ARTICULATION AND EVALUATION OF AN EMERGING CHURCH ECCLESIOLOGY
By Laura K. Springer
Th.M. Thesis, May 2008
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Reader: Robert L. Saucy, Ph.D.

The content of the faith. We know the story of God. The story of which we speak is the story of God, stretching back to the very beginning and forward to the consummation of the Kingdom. We hear the story authoritatively in Scripture and derivatively in tradition. We participate in the story by following Jesus and we tell the story through words and actions.

The nature of the church. We are the people of God. We are peopled through our connection with the Triune God, not by our affinity. Community is essential to our being and our essential communal nature shapes our structures and practices.

The purpose of the church. We expand the kingdom of God. This kingdom is the spiritual and physical rule of God and it includes obedient subjects, a kingly blessing, and a kingly realm. The kingdom was proclaimed by Jesus during his earthly ministry and he called his followers to enter the kingdom. The Kingdom of God has come near but has not yet fully come. Jesus proclaimed its proleptic presence, but it will only be consummated in the eschaton. For now, Christians expand the Kingdom through regular life together, centered on Jesus, and for the sake of the world. Together we proclaim the Kingdom’s King until he comes.

How should evangelicals “do” theology? » Theological Method » Theology » Christus Victor Ministries » Greg Boyd: “I thus hold that Christian theology needs a foundation by which its truth claims can be anchored and assessed. Unlike the traditional evangelical model of Carl Henry, I do not see this foundation as a body of revealed information. I rather see it the historical witness to Jesus Christ as the definitive revelation of God. All theology is to be centered on Christ and epistemically anchored in historical considerations that ground the claim that he was, and is, the revelation of God to humanity.”

Dipping my toe in the pool…

But is not the Scripture “revealed information”? To say it is “information” does not take away from it’s function as witness nor its direct relationship with Jesus Christ. In John 5:39-47, Jesus says that the entire Scripture speaks of him:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

There appears to be no dichotomy between the so-called “revealed information” and the witness to Jesus. Mind you, I do see the postfoundationalist point–though I do not agree with it. But it seems to me that in replacing the revealed information with historical witness, Boyd is merely replacing one foundation with another and giving the new “foundation” another name.

Yes, the foundation is Jesus (or rather, the Triune God), but Scripture makes no clear division between the authority of God himself and the authority of his Word.

Am I missing something?


Thoughts?

More initial questions for my Th.M. thesis:

  • What might ecclesiology look like with a missional push and an eschatological pull? In other words, if ecclesiology on earth exists on the trajectory from missiology to eschatology, then in what does essential ecclesiology consist?
  • What is the essential nature of the ecclesia and how does that essential nature impact the structure and practices of the local congregations? Same question, but regarding essential function. Same question, but regarding essential mission.
  • Assuming an ecclesiology from above and an ecclesiology from below, what would each look like and where might they meet?

Questions to Consider–part 1

A couple weeks ago I started a (paper) journal for my Th.M. thesis. It is intended as a place for ponderings, research notes, gathered bits, etc. When the bits coalesce sufficiently, I will post them here. Here are some initial questions to ponder:

  • Is there one biblical ecclesiology? If so, what are its essential elements and how might those elements present in various times and cultures? [arose after re-skimming An Introduction to Ecclesiology by Karkkainen]
  • How does the nature of the Trinity relate to the nature of humanity? What effect does this relationship have on the nature of the ecclesia? [arose while skimming Volf’s After Our Likeness in preparation for an upcoming Contemporary Theology session]

Thoughts?

Next Page »