Examples abound of poor theological method. How are we who profess to be Evangelicals to “do” theology? What method should we use? By “method” we mean the steps and process we use for developing a biblical response to a critical issue in theology.
One of my favorite courses to teach this semester is entitled “Theological Methods and Issues.” This upper-level seminary course has thirteen students, all of whom have already been through our two systematic theology courses. So they have (hopefully) a solid grounding in the ten areas of Prolegomena (introductory matters), Bibliology (the doctrine of general and special revelation), Theology Proper (a study of God’s existence, attributes, and works), Christology (the Person and work of the Lord Jesus), Anthropology (man in God’s image), Hamartiology (the doctrine of temptation & sin), Soteriology (the topic of salvation and sanctification), Pneumatology (the Person and ministries of God the Holy Spirit), Ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church), and Eschatology (the study of “final things”). Whew!
The approach my students are following in their two research papers involves eight steps which I’ll begin to briefly describe below. [I am grateful to Dr. Robert Ferris for his permission to use this material].
For example, I’ve recently reviewed Dr. Sharon Baker’s book Razing Hell. She comes at the topic of eternal lostness from a particular position that encourages her to read all of the Bible — especially the judgment sections of the Word — through what she calls “the Jesus lens.” One possible topic sentence, if one were to study this issue, would be “What Is Meant by ‘the Jesus Lens’ in the Book Razing Hell?” (to be continued)
1. Why are we not more explicit in describing our method of pursuing theological issues?
2. What theological topics would you like to see addressed in this blog?