Saturday, January 10, 2009

Theology's Task Today

Theology is man's attempt to bring meaning into situation, to people or within history. This is why theology has been so diverse, as it has spoken in different ways and for different reasons.

Man seeks to understand life, this is what the natural sciences are about, but theology seeks to connect the real world to God. What is the real world?

The real world could be historical events that bring disappointment or despair. It could be a disorientation to life by a people, or it could be a people's situation. Theology can be systemized through themes of Scripture, but today's need is much broader than any of these.

Althougth there are still peoples that need hope in their specific context, there is a real need to univeralize the hisorical situation and mankind today. A universalization is akin to using our globalization for the benefit of mankind, to help bring meaning within a broader context and give more of a broader vision or perspective, so that the economic will not drive meaning and relationships.

Today Black Theology, Liberration Theology, Feminist Theology, Biblical Theology, Dogmatic Theology will not do. Texts and Cultures must be unified. There should not be a distinction of theology based on a ethnic group, such as the Jew, or the "Gentile". Theology should have a wide, and inclusive grasp that goes beyond specifics. We need a "Globalized Faith", where no one faith is primary, while allowing the diverse ways of understanding and worshipping God can be affirmed. Therefore, such universal needs of man must be recognized and addressed. I think that a theology based on the Quadralateral, psychology, history, and philosophy would meet this need.

For the "New Covenant" promises that they will all know me from the least to the greatest and no one will have to teach anyone to know the Lord for they will all know me"


Anonymous said...


It appears to me that your proposal here is one reminiscent of 19th century and early 20th century theological liberalism. What you propose here is similiar to Adolf von Harnack's classical text What Is Christianity?

If you have not read this text, you might enjoy it.

However, as you might suspect, I would diagree with your thesis. I would suggest a proposal much more in line with what is found in the section "The Article on the Church" in The Catechism of the Catholic Church which has holds to solid orthodoxy with an irenic recognition and respect for other religions. If you have not read this part of the Catechism, you might find it helpful as well.

Pax Christi,

Chris Bounds

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Chris, I just cannot agree that any one of us can have the "answer", nor can a politically connected organization be the ultimate truth. This statement does not mean that the Church as an organizational structure has no value. Of course, I believe that everyone grows in their understanding and knowledge dialogue. But,all social structures do have value, as man is a social animal.

The problem I find is with affirming that the "Jew" is a unique or special group, when it comes to understanding God. But, is this really what the question should be in postmodernity? Shouldn't it be about understanding the human, as "God's image-bearer"? Scripture and the Church, of course, affirm that the Jews were the ones whom the covenant was given, etc., etc.

Of course, you are not arguing the text, but the Church, as the ultimate authority. I believe the individual is the ultimate authority, as only the individual can determine what he believes and what he wants to commit to at a given time. The individual is made in God's image, not just the Church as a whole. (I do recognize that many have understood Paul's "body image" as "the image-bearer.) As individuals are always growing, at least hopefully, no one can determine for the individual where or what the individual should be doing or believing, much less a politically structured organization such as the Church! The Church determining for the individual would be no less than oppression, unless the individual just "happens" to be at the same place at the time that the organization's pre-determining "purpose". (Of course, I know you would know and understand how political organizations have brought about much oppression in the name of their own self interests or in the name of God at the costs of individual human lives. Is this just?)

Thank you for the suggestions! and the comment.