Does Theology Matter?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Botolph, Sep 25, 2023.

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  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, let me say that I do not believe we are saved by correct theology, but rather by grace through faith.

    A little while ago I posted a thread on the Season of Creation, which is a bit of an in-vogue part of the liturgical life of many a modern Church in search of relevance. That does not mean that I think there is no relevance in the season or that it is wrong.

    However, it raises the question of how much stress we should put on panentheism. And indeed how clear we are being about it, for it has a cousin in pantheism, that I would say is not Christian (now Jewish or Islamic for that matter).

    I seem to get told, from time to time on various issues, that something does not matter because it is only theology. I am not particularly fond of prefixing theology with the only word.

    I am interested in what others think.
     
  2. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    I once read a book about theology written by a Roman Catholic theologian, I can't remember the book's name or author, but I remember him saying, he could be in a room studying theology and make what he thought was an inciteful important discovery, but when he then went out of the study area into the outside broad daylight it then didn't seem quite so important.
     
  3. Rami

    Rami Member Anglican

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    I agree, we are saved by grace through faith, we are not saved by passing a theology test.

    Theology does matter, it does not become irrelevant just because we are not saved by it.
     
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  4. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Theology is important in that almost everyone does it to some degree, in the broadest sense of inquiring after god. At the same time, the Lord was more interested in teaching his disciples how to pray and act. Rigid confessionalism is not usually helpful but the boundary lines of the Creeds are useful. A worthwhile question is, why would someone who desires to worship God not be interested in theology. Theology takes many forms, some more useful than others.
     
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  5. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking of one of the Church of Christ ministers I used to know. I questioned him about a rather unorthodox view he had expressed in a sermon. He told me he didn't preach theology, only the Gospel. Theology is confusing according to him. The Church of Christ movement had a lot of people who would run to the hills before they'd ever look at a book written by a competent theologian.
     
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  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    That does not even make sense
     
  7. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    Theology matters.

    Reading Paul is reading theological works.
     
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  8. DadHocHypothesis

    DadHocHypothesis Member

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    The people who officiated the funeral of one of my in-laws said "we're not gonna get theological" at least three times during their... speech? It was clear they used it as cover for not actually being prepared, and it was the most disrespectful service I've ever seen.

    Theology absolutely matters.
     
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  9. Rami

    Rami Member Anglican

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    Are the 39 Articles of Faith theology?
     
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  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.

    There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    So clearly at least in part, they are specifically theological.
     
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  11. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    Yes.

    They lay out the theological doctrines of the AC.

    Any confession is theological.

    I think most people think theology is reading Athanasius or Irenaeus, but going through the XXXIX Articles is just as much theology.
     
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  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I think my reluctance in this area is that the XXXIX are not fully in the sense of a confessional statement like perhaps the Westminster Confession and some parts of them probably do not belong in the same category as others. Some of them are not fully expansive and allow an understanding encompassing several views. There probably isn't an authoritative source in Anglican Circles like the RCC CCC (https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM - which when a printed book is some 900+ pages) In the main Anglicans are less dogmatic and more inclusive. That being said there are some absolute fundamentals, and so this is where the XXXIX becomes the guard rails, to ensure we are not absolutely off-track (yes I know there will be some raised eyebrows now!).

    In the main this is why grace (and graciousness) are so distinctly part of Anglican DNA.
     
  13. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    Point of clarification. Creeds are necessary as they start with the words “I believe…”. Theology, in that context, builds on what you believe. In my humble opinion from my personal experience , the depths thereof form the depths and contribute to richness of your faith.
     
  14. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    I don’t think they are in as that was not their original purpose. Are they doctrinal? Absolutely.
     
  15. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    What is doctrine if not theology? The Trinity is a doctrine, it's also very complex theology.
     
  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Doctrine.

    Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or in a belief system. The etymological Greek analogue is "catechism".

    Theology.
    Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine, or more broadly of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.

    I would be inclined to see them as somewhat different, in that doctrine may be seen as a given, and theology may be seen more as an approach and a method. Doctrine will declare the truth, whereas Theology is more inclined to seek the Truth.
     
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  17. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    I'm not sure you can have one without the other.

    Would you argue that the Incarnation is doctrine or theology?
     
  18. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    It depends on the mode of the media. A line in a sentence or two-three short paragraphs? Thats doctrine.

    Volumes of books or “position papers” carried over the ages? Seems to me to be more in the lines of theology.

    Within that framework, from my perspective, approximately 37 of the Thirty-Nine articles are doctrinal in their presentation representing much deeper theological standing. I believe that position is generally accepted across the more learned members of our faith.
     
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