Exploring Theology

Exploring Theology

Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Exploring Theology
    Book Description:

    Fortress Press’s Foundations for Learning series prepares students for academic success through compelling resources that kick-start their educational journey into professional Christian ministry. In Exploring Theology, Elaine A. Robinson introduces readers to the study of theology as a central task of all Christians and one that deserves careful and consistent attention. Following a lively examination of what theology is and how we do it, Robinson provides a basic map of the major doctrines of the faith and asks readers to consider their own beliefs at this important point in their journey. She invites readers to think of theology as a stream into which we enter and which carries us deeper into the vast ocean which is the fullness of God. Designed for those who are beginning a more serious study of theology, Exploring Theology helps readers navigate what might, at first glance, appear as a confusing or abstract subject. Navigational aids include an introduction to theological vocabulary, the sources and methods of theology, and tips for reading primary sources as a spiritual discipline. As a result of this journey, readers will be excited to delve more deeply into theology and will recognize the many ways that theology shapes how we live out the Christian faith in the world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8961-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    In 1990, I was an officer in the United States Air Force stationed at the Air Force Academy just outside Colorado Springs. I was serving as a professor teaching political science to the cadets, college students preparing to become Air Force officers. During that time, I was deeply involved in my local congregation in the city, attending services, Sunday school, and Wednesday-evening programming. When I arrived at church one Wednesday evening in January 1991, the fellowship hall was filled with people gathered around a television set, watching the first bombs and missiles of Operation Desert Storm. Until that moment, for...

  4. Chapter 1 What Is Theology?
    (pp. 9-26)

    Theology (Greek:Theos + logos) is the study of God, our language or discourse about and reflection upon God and the Christian faith as a whole. It is an intellectual examination and accounting of what Christians believe, but with an eye toward how we practice that faith in the world. Our theology becomes expressed in our lives through our embodied practices. When we speak of “God,” the divine mystery that is deeper and wider than our human understanding and imagination, we are encouraged to remember that all of our thinking and speaking about the life of faith emanates from this...

  5. Chapter 2 How Did Theology Develop?
    (pp. 27-62)

    Sometimes students taking their first course in systematic theology will stumble upon an idea that they think to be brilliant and original. Of course, the fact that someone has never before encountered a particular idea does not mean that it has never been considered in the course of human history. A tremendous wealth of theological reflection has been conducted through the centuries and often is at the base of our embedded theology, even though we lack familiarity with those in the past who have shaped and sharpened the beliefs we now hold and need to examine carefully and deliberatively. To...

  6. Chapter 3 How Do We Do Theology?
    (pp. 63-96)

    In the first two chapters, we considered two primary questions: What is theology? And how has theology developed over the centuries? Now in chapter 3, we turn to the question of how we do theology. This question points us to prolegomena (literally, “things said before”), the preliminaries that enable us to make careful and deliberative claims about God and the life of faith. We refer to these concerns that shape how we do theology as theological method. Because theology is fundamentally related to language and the careful use of language to express the things unseen, our preliminary considerations begin with...

  7. Chapter 4 What Do We Believe?
    (pp. 97-142)

    In the previous chapters, you arrived at the banks of the stream we call Christian theology. You have taken a quick tour of the flow of theological movements and activity down through the centuries, observing some of the twists and turns of these turbulent waters. Then you began to construct a raft that might help you travel along the stream of theology, piecing together the sources, methods, and approaches to theology. Significantly, you also began to think about your own starting point and sources for doing theology, since each of us must develop our own credo, or thoughtful understanding of...

  8. Conclusion: Going Deeper
    (pp. 143-146)

    If you have reached this conclusion, then you have just completed your first journey along the flowing stream of theology. I hope you dove into that stream and let yourself be carried along to places you have not been before. I also hope you feel closer to God in some way because you have taken this journey. Did you see and encounter new things along the way? Were you startled by something strange or beautiful? Admittedly, theology is not the easiest discipline to learn, and in this short volume, we have only skimmed the surface. There is yet much for...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 147-147)