Theology at lower levels

I remin skeptical about post-grad level theology. However, I’m much more interested in the lower levels of academia than the ivory tower, so I ask myself – what is the nature of doctrine at the diploma or certificate level? When we go over to India and teach the Doctrine PTC course, what do we want the students to walk away with?

My first thought:

Its not that hard to get a whole bunch of passages together about a topic, line them up and say “this is what the Bible says”. However, the instant we say anything that is not a direct quote, we have synthesised a bunch of passages and created new language. The aim of doctrine is TO NOT SAY SOMETHING STUPID. By being aware of the major doctrines out there, and how they interlink, we can look at our synthesis statements (or other people’s) and figure out (provisionally) whether your new sentance is heresy or not.


2 thoughts on “Theology at lower levels

  1. If the aim of doctrine is not to say something stupid, what happened to the stupid gospel? Is this the distinction between foolishness/wisdom in the eyes of man and the eyes of God? Is it really that easy to line up a whole bunch of passages to get a ‘biblical’ doctrine? What is the point of ivory tower theology anyway? Can I write anything but questions?

    • Perhaps I should have said “without saying anything heretical”. For example, when trying to make statements about how election and free will fit together, not forgetting what the bible says about sin. Or when discussing the wacky world of the trinity, not forgetting revelation or Jesus’ humanity etc. You can’t just paste verses together, but you can’t simply look at verses in a vacuum either. Once you do a bit of exegesis, and have an idea what one passage is saying, you need to hold it up against other passages to get a bigger picture. Having a good grasp of all the fundamental doctrines helps prevent you from building a wonky picture.

      To one extent, “ivory tower” theology is about doing this at a greater degree of detail – which I think is important when talking about more subtle arguments like the trinity, or the ever-present “new perspective”.

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