S1E3: Theology Matters
Basics /:3:/ Theology.
Deriving from the Greek theos (God) + logos (word, speech, statement of truth), "theology" literally means "words about God". With the Bible as God's method of self-revelation, what are the key ideas, concepts and precepts that God reveals?
Scripture Covered: General survey of the Bible
Suggested Reading: Skim the entire Westminster Confession taking note of the titles of each chapter, which are the basic tenets (or beliefs) of the Christian faith. You might also want to review the transferrable concept from Cru entitled, "How You Can Be Sure You Are a Christian". Finally, check out this great Primer on Atonement Theories from Hacking Christianity.
Themes: Theology, some basic tenets of the Christian faith, including: Christ, Original Sin, Incarnation, Atonement, Sacraments and perhaps a few more if we have time.
The Bible is a library of divinely-inspired texts written by over 40 different authors spanning a period of several thousand years. Together, these texts, the books of the Bible, tell a unified story of interaction between God and humanity which culminates in a special figure in human history called "Messiah". Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is this figure, and the basic beliefs of the Christian faith describe how Jesus is involved in God's plan for humanity as it continues to play out– past, present and future.
Our ministry partners at The Bible Project have a great video that introduces us to the Messiah (Jesus).
You might also want to review this video from The Bible Project on the Atonement, which is among the most important beliefs of the Christian faith, revolving around Jesus the Messiah, including His role in God's plan.
We conclude this first three-part series having drawn the following basic conclusions from the great philosophers of history, applying a little bit of faith thanks to the inspiration of St. Anselm ("I believe so that I might understand"):
In this final study of the "Basics" series we focused on the things that God is saying to humanity through the Bible, which takes us into the domain of "theology". We learn that there are a number of theological methods, but none so comprehensive as systematic theology wherein we concentrate on an organized set of categories, which typically consists of the following eight:
Although systematic theology is traditionally the domain of seminary students and pastors, it's imporant for everyone to have a basic understanding of these broad concepts along with some of the underlying doctrines that frame the essential tenets of the Christian faith.
"doctrine" (ˈdäktrən) = teaching; a belief or set of beliefs; stated principles
During our gathering on September 25 we got a crash course in systematic theology, and then focused on the most important doctrine for every person to understand and internalize: the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
To personalize and internalize the Atonement is to be able to articulate and answer to these questions:
These are not easy questions, but they are essential and worthy of serious theological reflection. To be able to answer these questions leads to knowing the living God who created you, and ultimately understanding God's love and purpose for your life.