Between theology and philosophy

Theology is a heavily loaded word, which belongs more to the domain of philosophy and when looking at the many Theology colleges or universities one can wonder if it really is about studying the Logos or Word of the Theos the God, because in the majority of such institutions most time is spent into the writings of human beings, giving more attention to the many false human doctrines than the Biblical doctrines.

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To remember

  • on ThinkNet age-old debate on relationship between theology & philosophy.
  • reformational school of Christian philosophy > Neo-Calvinist movement inspired by Abraham Kuyper but brought to fruition by the legal philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd and his brother-in-law, D.H.TH. Vollenhoven).
  • James W. Skillen: when we write or speak + we know those reading/listening will think that any reference to a Christian, biblical perspective means “theology,” = simply talking about finding our place in the ongoing biblical drama of life in Christ–finding our place in the history of God’s work in Jesus Christ
  •  N.T. Wright insist that Paul is doing “theology,” > working to explain how God’s covenant drama with Israel is now being fulfilled in the revelation of Jesus Christ
  •  Paul =  following up on (or anticipating) his times of preaching + teaching in their midst, sending pointed summaries, extensions of what he already told them, + opening new vistas > communicating by living letters about life they share in Christ by the ongoing work of the Spirit.
  • Augustine used word “theology” in 2 different ways > represent essentially distinction many of us are trying to make.  = offer a preliminary explanation, “life of faith” <-> “theology”
  • the Christian way of life = Christian discipleship in all of life > not only a way of worship.
  • explain + interpret Christian struggle
  • multiple issues of political philosophy & “science” = to engage in theoretical enterprise including multiple “-ologies”
  • “politics,” > “political life as a whole” “dirty dealing,” “actions of government” (but not citizens), or “actions of citizens +  interest groups outside government.”
  • In political arena = to find ways of explaining + making distinctions
  • DFM Strauss (South African philosopher and author most recently of Philosophy: the Discipline of Disciplines):1) Theology =/= theological question = domain of philosophy => “Encyclopaedia of Theology” does not mention itself as a theological subdiscipline
  •  2) Dooyeweerd > not defend view that theology studies the faith aspect of creatio => Theology merely studies concrete reality as it functions within the faith aspect.= focuses on coherence of actual phenomena which function within that structure”
  • 3)   Calvinism/ Calvinistic = term only be explained historically by fact that this movement originated in the calvinistic revival which toward the end of the previous century, led to renewed reflection on the relation of the Christian religion to science, culture, and society.
  • Abraham Kuyper could not continue to be restricted to the reformation of the church and theology.
  • 4)    Thomas Aquinas “hijacked” Christian intellectual endeavours for theology by assuming that whenever something is considered in respectu Dei (in relation to God) such an activity is theological in nature.
  • Calvin Jongsma: Developing a theology of X = rampant among scholars who desire to advance a Christian perspective of X  >  Many will say = just a matter of terminology
  • Ponti Venter neo-liberal New Scholasticism = expansion of Theology to include all of human life has a number of contemporary sources:
 
  • marginalising of theology + religion in a secular society. => theology using secular natural science-theology debate to annihilate reformational philosophy for sake of their own financial survival.
  • We now have a huge faculty of theology, catering for every possible discipline and church, while the quality of ministers that is produced is weak, and every year fewer Reformed students report to study for the ministry. There are as many vacant pulpits in the Church as professors of theology who do weak research for the University, there and there are less students in the pipeline than professors.
  • 5. Neo-pragmatist scientism – or new old Scholasticism => to enlighten + govern. => Neo-pragmatism = one of worst forms of authoritarian elitisms
  • Rudi Hayward: Calvin Seerveld’s attempt to dissuade people of the “theology of arts” approach.> promotion of a general spiritualization of art, or a liturgical cast to art, or an evangelizing requirement for art, as the most Christian task misses the grounding biblical insight that art as normal creatural service can be a restored and redemptive, holy act, so artistry does not need an “extra,” theologically explicit insignia to be truly full-fledged service by Christ’s body-at-large.
  • Kerry John Hollingsworth: Philosophy of The Cosmonomic Idea = provided way to see that theoretical analysis (including theological analysis) does not give structural form to human experience within the creation > unpacks structural order of + for creation that is part of God’s “Let there be . . ”

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Find additional reading

  1. Protestant denominations of the Low Countries and Abraham Kuyper
  2. Wes Bredenhof on Abraham Kuyper
  3. Fullness of summer and abundance of harvest found in the satisfying plenitude of life in Christ

memory's sacred domain

ImageThere’s been some interesting discussion recently on ThinkNet on the age-old debate on the relationship between theology and philosophy. For the uninitiated, ThinkNet is a mailing list of people from various disciplines interested in the reformational school of Christian philosophy (often identified by the shorthand — for good or ill — as the “NeoCalvinist” movement. But for insiders, it is a philosophical movement inspired by Abraham Kuyper but brought to fruition by the legal philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd and his brother-in-law, D.H.TH. Vollenhoven).

On this point I have found useful Dooyeweerd’s introduction to his philosophy, In the Twilight of Western Thought, which has a chapter on theology and its relation to philosophy. One of his students, Johan P.A. Mekkes, also has a nifty volume on the topic, recently translated into English as Creation, Revelation and Philosophy

I present below snippets of the discussion, with some editing on…

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Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God

A nice resume of what we have to remember to do and what we should not or may not do.

We should be much more aware of what pleases God and of what He dislikes.

People much too often forget that our attitude to the Divine Creator and His creatures is very important. Our mind shall be the touchstone.

Finding the right balance in our life is very important. In our life we shall have to make the right choices, being aware of what are “Abominations to God” and what His regulations or “Commands to the Believers” are.

To be able to “Abstain from all appearances of evil” we do have to recognise “evil” and this will demand looking at things in the right way, and to make sure we do not fall for the wrong and human doctrines but keep to Biblical doctrines.
Beware of covetousness, backsliding and treacherous false teachers and giving preference to please human beings instead of pleasing God and laying up treasures in heaven, for your entrance in the Kingdom of God.

Therefore let us always look at the Commands of God, who does not want any other gods before Him and does not want any any graven image of Him. His request to love your God with all your heart requires you to worship only One True God, the God of Abraham, and not a threeheaded god or any-other god or saint. Only the God of Israel you should worship with all your soul, and with all your might.

We also may not forget to look at the Counterfeits like the many false worships we see in this world. At the same time we should be fully alert for the false Christ’s, false apostles and false ministers who preach a false gospel. But we also should be at the lookout for false Christians, who are those who twist the words of Christ and do not want to believe what Jesus himself and Jesus his heavenly Father say about themselves.

Lots of people love to see special things, like wonder-works and we can find lots of preachers who present themselves as miracle workers. Be careful not to be carried away by their nice or very theatrical words and actions.

Please do stay away from false commandments, false doctrines and false religion, not bringing false prayer and going along with false religious teachers, following false prophets, creating for yourself false or wrong Excuses.

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Christian Articles

People turn their backs on God’s method of salvation and take to themselves human methods. This action will incur the displeasure of the Almighty God and bring on human judgment and destruction.

The following lists are some of the things that find displeasure with God:

Abominations to God

1.     The evil-minded personProv. 3:22; 11:20
2.     A false balanceProv. 11:1
3.     The sacrifices of the wickedProv. 15:8; 21:27
4.     The thoughts of the wickedProv. 15:26
5.     The justification of the wicked and the condemnation of the justProv. 17:15
6.     A proud lookProv. 6:17
7.     A lying tongueProv. 6:17; 12:22
8.     Hands that shed innocent bloodProv. 6:17
9.     A heart that devises wicked imaginationsProv. 6:18
10.     Feet that are swift in running to mischiefProv. 6:18
11.     A false witnessProv. 6:19
12.     One who sows discord among brethrenProv. 6:19

Commands to the Believers

1.     Abstain from all appearances of evil.1…

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Good Morning January 25 We are theologians

The world has gone far away from the real study of gods and God, forgetting that the Word of God should be the main guide.

Lots of theologians teaching at colleges and universities have fallen into heresy and other substantial errors on doctrine, having been themselves already formed on the false doctrine of the trinity.

It would be lovely if we could find more theologians who really desire to know the Most High Theos or the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. For them as for all of us this demands works of faith, learning more about Jehovah God, and walking with Him through all the activities of daily life.

As Pastor Irvin Stapf of the Life’s Meaning Ministry correctly notes that

“In this way all Christians are to be theologians”

all those who say they are a Christian should believe in Christ Jesus and follow his teachings. Like Jesus, who did not do his own will, they should do everything to please God.

We too should be as Jeshua’s disciples getting to know Jesus better, following him as the Way to God. It is our faith in him that also should motivate us enough to come to know the heavenly Father of Christ and to do like Christ, doing God’s Will and not ours. Reading the Scriptures and giving ourselves to God shall bring us closer to God and create better relationships between God’s creatures.

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To remember

  • lessons = not always easy
  • many of the circumstances we face in life = tools in God’s gracious hands
  • fruit of the Spirit = nature of Jesus + what God is working to form in us
  • God doesn’t do away with our personality + individuality, => works Christ’s nature into these so that we may be useful to Him and to others.

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Preceding articles:

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

The Pastor Theologian

Theology as Discipleship

What Makes a Theologian

 

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Additional reading

  1. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  2. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  3. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  4. A voice and a Word given for wisdom
  5. the Bible – God’s guide for life #2 Needs in life
  6. the Bible – God’s guide for life #3 Fast food or staple diet
  7. the Bible – God’s guide for life #5 What is God like
  8. Counterfeit Gospels
  9. Al-Fatiha [The Opening] Süra 1: 4-7 Merciful Lord of the Creation to show us the right path
  10. To create a great journey
  11. Colour-blindness and road code
  12. We should use the Bible every day
  13. Feed Your Faith Daily
  14. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  15. What Are You Seeking?
  16. Hang On!
  17. Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion
  18. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  19. To know Christ is filling life with meaning
  20. Best intimate relation to look for
  21. God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace

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Life's Meaning Ministry Blog

Thinking about words. We hear the word theologian and we think of someone teaching in a seminary, or writing many scholarly books. This is true. There certainly are such people who have been of great benefit to the church. But look at the word theologian again. The first part theos means God, ology is simply the study of. A theologian is one who studies the nature of God. I consider myself a theologian, but I’m not a well read scholar. I am a parish pastor and a wood worker. You, also, are called to be a theologian, one who seeks to understand more and more about the God we worship, the God who has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
As theologians we desire to know our Lord, learning more about Him, and walking with Him through all the activities of daily life. In this way all Christians…

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The Pastor Theologian

The first disciples of Jeshua, the Christ, were, except Luke, no scholars. It was only after Jeshua had died and was risen that an other scholar joined the disciples and became known as the great apostle Paul.

The early members of the ecclesiae of the followers of Jesus were a mix of all sorts of professions, where everybody became a partaker of the group, taking up different roles. They did not go to universities to have their degree in theology and did not have a training in the synagogues to become a priest in the ecclesia.

They were people united in the body of Christ, humbling themselves to be a worker for Christ and for God, not aiming to be the Leader, because they knew very well who had to be the leader, namely Jesus Christ should be the cornerstone of the community.

It is very nice to hear that

“At the end of the day theology is not about having more head knowledge or even about pursuing more academic degrees. It’s about getting to know the God of the Scriptures who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. And when he is made much of – that is, when he is encountered and known, the real work of ministry is done in our hearts, our communities, and the world!”

Though it is a pity that so many theologians have become blinded by human doctrines that they do not see the biblical truth any more.

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To remember

  • pastor = CEO or “leader” dominating conference scene
  • two of the Church’s finest leaders – Andy Stanley + Craig Groeschel = god-like on stage + every ear attune to their words of wisdom
  • wondering if we’ve pushed focus on leadership too far to the neglect of the study of theology
  • Gerald Hiestand + Todd Wilson in their book, The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision, think this may be the case.
  • great chasm between study of theology and the Church
  • office of pastor + theologian not always separate
  • birth of university => divide => best + brightest minds pursued work in the academy+ those gifted with people skills became pastors in the local Church
  • Church could use some more theology while the academy could use some more pastoral wisdom.
  • all ministry leaders should prioritize study of God
  • to keep a close watch over own life and doctrine (teaching)(1 Timothy 4:16)
  • guard against false doctrine if unable to identify it
  • health of the Church + the making of disciples = both reliant on sound teaching.

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Preceding articles

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

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Additional reading

  1. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  2. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  3. God’s forgotten Word 3 Lost Lawbook 2 Modern scepticism
  4. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  5. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures

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Praxis

Thepastortheologian

We live in an age where the pastor as CEO or the pastor as “leader” dominates the conference scene. I remember attending a Catalyst One Day Conference in Chicago several years ago. One day packed full of vision casting, leadership tips, and inspirational quotes from two of the Church’s finest leaders – Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. I was mesmerized. They were god-like on stage and every ear was attune to their words of wisdom. I took copious notes and made it a priority to implement as much as I could into the college ministry I was leading at the time. It goes without saying that much of what leadership literature and media have to offer is valuable and necessary.

I’m just wondering if we’ve pushed the focus on leadership too far to the neglect of the study of theology. Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson in their book, The Pastor…

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