When I was shown (in my heart) to begin a brand new web page, after having written a novel, I chose the tag of theology401, I just googled it and it is a good original title that fit my objective . . . my intent, however, is a bit more than a blog. I have been studying the Bible for over 50 years and am being directed into deeper study.
I went to the website of the Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas Texas, dts.edu, to view the mobile app, and watch one of their theology programs. One professor in particular that impressed me is Dr. John Hannah and his teaching style with his class in the History of Doctrine. (See the class on the DTS app.) It is my opinion that if we listen to his teaching-style long enough, we can learn and we will begin to become the teacher-shepherd also.
WHY WE SHOULD LEARN OUR HISTORY OF DOCTRINE
I have viewed many television programs on the Catholic Channel, EWTN. The Journey Home is one of the interesting shows that interviews some successful converts to join the Roman Catholic Church. The point is very well made that, their teaching (doctrine) includes all 2000 years of church history. No one else has that.
Not exactly. If you click on the link of Roman Catholic Church, you will hear Dr. Ravi Zacharias, explain its cult-like characteristics. But Dr. Hannah explains the difference between doctrine and dogma. Teaching and creeds are vastly different. Both teachers here know the Lord Yeshua-Jesus personally, and their teaching clearly explains.
The text that comes to me in this outset of postings, is 2 Timothy 2:15. You know it? Have you read the Message version by Dr. Eugene Peterson as described by biblegateway.com? But here we can’t get just one verse, we have the whole context of verses 14-18. But in this paraphrase, there is more to think about:
Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples, throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with.
What this has to do with our objective is that of mission-essential application. If we have grown old learning thousands of verses of scripture and have nothing better to do than yardwork and television, then you and I need to conclude there is hope for getting our warm bodies into the world for God, for Yeshua-Jesus, for Ruach haKodesh-Holy Spirit. Our objective: To make some difference for God and understanding his goodness.
The graduate systematic theology course is a prerequisite so listed in a degree curriculum. We can google that requirement and show the need of how it applies to our objective here. (Please see the Outline of Systematic Theology as represented here, an overview) My hope is to research the vast resources of the internet with the guide of my gentle comforter Who says to me to make this study as simple, yet to the point — enabling God’s power to reach within us, charging our hearts to recognize He is right here standing before us ready to help with every question.
Wikipedia offers the first branch of theology as a comprehensive outline: The Theory of Knowledge: Epistemology
This outline is an effective overview, and includes subjects that we might read for basic understanding — then theology won’t seem so extremely challenging. I have used Wikipedia as a source for all my journalistic writing, but it is only one website. The links it shows here should all be active. If I find some are not, I will correct them.
ALL KNOWLEDGE IS AMBIGUOUS
One more point about knowledge. When our earliest ancestors made the choice to eat from the fruit of the (forbidden) tree of the ‘knowledge of good and evil‘, they were (as well as we are), totally unaware of exactly what that means. I recently learned how ‘good’ and ‘evil’ were made to be ambiguous (unclear in meaning). My source is The Good Book by Peter J. Gomes, Wm Morrow Inc. New York, 1996, page 261. “All knowledge is ambiguous.” (John Habgood quote). From their innocent-newly-created viewpoint, we can understand (they accepted what an intellectual serpent told them) How could they have not fallen?
The worthy point in this is having become filled up with full knowledge about good and evil, we still have difficulty discerning the correct choices we need to make today. Professor Gomes shows us: “1) Evil is real; 2) The good are not as smart as they think they are; and, 3) The good need all the help they can get; one cannot be good on one’s own.” (Ibid. pg 262). Our enemy, “Evil has a brain.” He says. And then describes how cancer attacks according to strategies that keep our doctors guessing, and death is on the enemies mission statement.
“Good people do bad things, because good people are not good enough.” Gomes explains that good people are Satan’s prime target: “With evil working overtime, virtue cannot be a hobby.” (Taken from the book, The Good Book, chapter 12, The Bible and Evil.) We heartily recommend reading more on this subject there. 🙂
Next time: Quality of the Process