Can theology be trusted? Well, it all depends on the theology and the theologian. When the theologian seeks to be guided by the Holy Spirit and when theology is based on a careful study of Scripture, then theology most likely can be trusted. Similar conclusions can be made about psychology and its use in pastoral care.
Our paradigms of reality determine how we process informational data. It determines what we make of it (to speak in everyday terms), for processing data is essentially a matter of fitting the bits into our overall frame of reference. In this way paradigms become the pathway to understanding - if the paradigm is a good one, or to misunderstanding if it is not.
One aspect of hermeneutics which has provided no lack of scholarly discussion is the question of the interpretation and use of the Old Testament scriptures with regard to New Testament doctrine and practice. Discussion of this topic must consider the way in which the New Testament authors understood and applied the Old Testament.
This article examines the theme of wisdom in the Epistle of James. Wisdom forms a major motif in the background of the writer and his epistle. While not personified, wisdom is extolled here as a divine gift. Additionally, wisdom possesses some personal characteristics that form a wisdom poem in which the virtues of wisdom are listed and praised.
In 1987 some of us paused to remember an event which took place 1600 years ago. It was an event which changed the course of western thought and influenced the shape of Christian theology to the present day. On Easter Eve, April 24, 387 AD, in a Milanese church in the north of Italy, a man already in his thirties, accompanied by his illegitimate son, stepped into the waters of the baptistery. Three times the young man would pass beneath the waters. Then he would take his place in the congregation and with all the faithful proclaim, "Christ is Risen!" , "He is Risen Indeed! ".
Through much of the history of the Church those who have articulated Christian doctrine have viewed narcissism as the original and fundamental human problem. Augustine declared that the "primal destruction of man was self-Iove". This article takes an in-depth view at the role of the "I" in the confrontation with the Kingdom of God, where the most important one is the one who know how to be a servant.
The primary themes that configure the book of Joshua are constituted by possession of the promised land, obedience to the commands of Moses, and the extermination of the peoples of the land. Even though there has been common agreement that these themes function to establish a sense of national identity, attempts to describe how they do so have been frustrated by the apparent contradictory perspectives they present.
This paper is motivated by the appearance of two rather recent books on the issue of abortion, both written by Christians who disagree on the subject. The first, takes a pro-abortion position. The second takes an anti-abortion position. This paper offers some reflections on abortion, enlivened by these two Christian and yet very different sources. The author talks about politics and abortion, human rights and life as gift from God.
In the book of 1 John, the apostle John points out much about the character of God to the Christians to whom he is writing. He has taught them that God is Light, He is Spirit, He is eternal. He is a Father. But perhaps the most clear picture he gives of God is that God is love. The article discusses the meaning of 1 John 4:7-21.
The term "salvation" (Greek, soteria) has given us the name for a central category of systematic theology (soteriology). However many discussions of the doctrine of salvation do not give much attention to the actual Biblical use of the word group related to salvation. In Systematic Theology the approach is to synthesize the various Biblical concepts, and the terms for salvation occur with relative rarity.
When Augustine became bishop of Hippo in 395 AD, he was compelled to deal with a schism which had existed in the church for 85 years. The schism consisted of mutual hostility and distrust. Both groups had the same episcopal constitution, the same priesthood, the same Creed and Sacraments. The schism existed on two levels. The first was over the concern for purity in the Christian life and worldly separation while the second point of contention was doctrinal.
Interest in the prophetic can be commended. At the same time, however, the prophetic books can and should orient us in important areas of our existence and faith, areas which often has been overlooked. One example is our social ethics. It is ironic that evangelical Christians who are committed to a high view of the authority of the Scripture, have not given this fundamental part of the prophetic message the attention it deserve.
It has often been said that the Gospel of Mark has no real teaching on salvation. Theologians commonly identify the teaching on the person of Christ as Mark's central concern. Although Mark certainly does focus on Christ, for him his teaching on Christ is inseparable from what he teaches on salvation. In Mark's Gospel, understanding who Jesus is and what He did and is doing entails acknowledging his claim upon one's life. Therefor Mark's characteristic model of salvation is discipleship.
Bible translation is important. The view of the function of language and the task of the translator are no less important. One of the major stimuli to reevaluating the task of translation has been the feminist movement within the church. The discussion has largely centred on the use of gender-specific language, both of human beings and God.
Paul's use of the expression "in Christ" or "in the Lord" has received a great deal of attention in the past century. His use of this formula has implications for his understanding of the person and work of Christ, the Bible's teaching on salvation, what we believe about the return of Christ and the Christian life.