“The imitation of Christ has changed into the imitation of popular culture.”
To Know and Love God Method For Theology by David Clark edited by John Feinberg
In discussing Biblical Theology under the heading “Disciplines Within Doctrinal Studies” Clark says,
“Rejecting the very idea that God speaks will lead us to miss God’s purposes in inspiring the Bible, and therefore miss a main point of theology. The point is to get background noise out of the way and listen to Scripture. The medievals put systematic theology prior to the Bible. Liberation theology put praxis ahead of Scripture. Traditionalists put tradition in place of the Bible. Charismatics and mystics put experience ahead of Scripture. But the point is to hear the text itself. Thomas Oden noted in this regard, ‘The one thing I have learned in hermeneutics which has changed everything is what I can only call “obedience to the texts”—listening to the text itself instead of modern interpreters of it. This is the most improbable and difficult and revolutionary thing that has ever happened to me intellectually.’ This expresses effectively the key value of evangelical biblical theology: primary allegiance to the text.”
The overarching question then becomes, is there anything that informs my knowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit more than Scripture? Honestly, I am having to make a concerted effort to consciously internalize the question. Do I use my marriage above Scripture to teach me about God? Do I use my children above Scripture to teach me about God? Do I use friends to inform me about Christ before Scripture? Do I use books, scholars, church, circumstances, and the variables of life to teach me about Christ more than Scripture? A proper relationship with Scripture will be God informing and should lead to the proper use of theological systems, equipping believers for Christian living, commemorating uninspired traditions appropriately, and celebrating experience in Christ properly.
Special revelation GOTTA LOVE IT!
To Know and Love God Method for Theology by David Clark edited by John Feinberg
Another cool tidbit from Clark’s tedious work.
“Before 1721, tutors at Harvard and Yale took students through a variety of topics—mathematics, Bible, zoology, Latin—in order to teach those students to see God’s truth in the Word and the world. Then Harvard (in 1721) and Yale (1755), mimicking Edinburgh (1620), established chairs of divinity whose occupants specialized in teaching theology. A new curriculum structure that distinguished several facets of theology began evolving around 1760 although it was hinted at two centuries earlier by Hyperius in on the Theologican. By the beginning of the 19th century, the so-called theological encyclopedia used the word ‘theology’ in a broad sense to include the four allied theological disciplines:Bible, church history, systematics, and practical theology. (To us today, the word ‘encyclopedia’ connotes an alphabetical list of unconnected topics. I am using the word in an older sense, referring to the various areas of knowledge standing in unifed relationship to each other.) The theological encyclopedia came to American shores in the early 19th century as professors at the first American seminaries returned from study in Europe. The fourfold pattern still shapes theological curricula and ministerial education today.”
Here is an article publiseh this summer by David Evans…
“I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector…But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming.”
So I started a new book called To Know and Love God by David Clark and edited by John Feinberg. The book is quite engaging and Clark demonstrates his meticulous mind through intricate details scattered through his book. In the latest chapter, Clark gives us a glimpse into a few popular words in the world and among Christians today.
CULTURE – “came into English from the German word Kultur in 1871 in the work of anthropologist E.B. Tylor. A classic notion of culture comes from Edward T. Hall…’the way of life of a people,…the sum of a learned behavior patterns, attitudes, and material things.”
GLOBALIZATION – “…a term borrowed from economics, specifically currency speculation. It came to prominence in theological circles beginning with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Don Browning first raised the idea in a 1986 speech…In ATS, globalization denotes a movement to encourage theologians in American seminaries to experience, reflect on, and do their teaching and research in light of the variety of human cultures.”
CONTEXTUALIZATION – “…is a feature of theology and mission done in light of globalization. The term arose in 1972 as a replacement for the word ‘indigenization’ in a report of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches (WCC). WCC people believed the word ‘indigenization has a colonial feel, implying too strongly that dominant Western countries should play a superior role in relation to other nations.”
I hope you enjoy this tidbit of historical information as I did.
This post was inspired from a trip to the beach with family. The careful eyes of my daughter stimulated my thought to elaborate on God’s divine eyes looking at us. As my youngest daughter played on the toys at the inside water park, she constantly looked over her shoulder to see if my eyes were fixed on her actions. There was no need for the girls to worry, dad was watching with excitement as they went up and down water-slides, cruised around the lazy river, and shot basketball at the hoop in the pool.
How often our spiritual lives are like little children anxiously looking to see if their father is watching. We are constantly looking over our shoulder to see if God is watching. We want His eyes to be fixed on our lives observing each move we make. Often, we are scared that God is absent, yet HE is there you just can’t see Him.
God watches joyfully as we make decisions that bring glory to Him. God observes enthusiastically as we allow the gospel to let it’s roots mature in the soil of of our soul resulting in eternal fruit. Fruit such as faith in Christ growing abundantly exhibiting absolute dependence on HIM. The gospel’s fruit also boasts of love for brothers and sisters in Christ who cooperatively carry their visible cross. Just as my daughters looked to verify that my eyes were watching them so the Lord is omnisciently hovering over our lives.
Although my children usually enjoy me keeping a close eye on what they are doing, there are times when they wish I wasn’t looking. You know those moments when you walk into the room and your children freeze mentally saying, what do I do now? There are moments in our life where we wish God was not carefully watching us, but the reality is He is constantly abreast of everything in your life.
God watches painfully as we allow our thoughts, decisions, and actions to drift from Him. Joy turns to dismay when the gospel is ignored in our lives. Unfortunately, we seek security in self, ignoring our need of faith in Christ. We subtly suggest our self dependence as we build our inner Tower of Babel. The familiar result is seclusion in our sin. We effortlessly secede from brothers in Christ who daily reminisce in the cross; ones who admonished us to walk circumspectly in this world of dire sinful straights.
Thankfully! God’s tenacious stare penetrates our abandoned independent sin engaged life and reaps havoc on our conscience through the Holy Spirit passionately pursuing us. God’s written word brings exhausting conviction when we toss away our cross and refuse to follow. Hopefully the pursuit and conviction through the Spirit will encourage us to pick up the cross that was dropped in order to follow self and return to follow Christ through faith. AH what joy there is in bearing the cross for the One who patiently watches us.