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Exam Review: Beware of contemporary theologies

My final exam in theological foundations is on Thursday. I am reviewing the 690 pages of text reading as well as the 50 pages of lecture outlines. Thankfully, Dr. Fowler prepared us well by having a weekly quiz, so that I'm not drawing a complete blank as I go back.

One of the chapters we looked at discussed the methodology of theology. Erickson recounted some of the changes in contemporary theology. For example, there are no more theolgical "giants" like there once were. We don't have a lot of Augustines, Aquinases, or Calvins these days. The explosion of information has narrowed the focus of theology so that most theologians are "experts" in one particular area rather than being conversant in a larger range of study.

Erickson gave some warnings about aligning ourselves too closely with contemporary theologies. He pointed out that the love of popularity in other areas has infiltrated theological circles so that we have scholars drawing large audiences before there is any longevity in their teaching. He said:

. . . beware of too close an identification with any current mood in culture. The rapid changes in theologies are but a reflectioon of the rapid changes in culture in general. In times of such rapid changes, it is probably wise not to attempt too close a fit between theology and the world in which it is expressed . . . it is perhaps prudent at the present time to take a step back toward the enduring form of Christian truth, and away from an ultracontemporary statement of it.

. . . the result of unreserved commitment to another person's system of thought is that one becomes a disciple in the worse sense of that term, merely repeating what has been learned from the master. Creative and independent thinking ceases.

I was particularly struck by that second sentiment. I remember hearing D.A. Carson at a conference say that latching on to one or two teachers is a bad thing, but once one has looked at many, he is on the road to learning. We do like our little groups, and I can see how the rise of what is known as "tribalism" in Christian circles has become an issue. I think it's alive and well. The desire for independence in thinking isn't promoted as much.

Onward and upward. I'm hoping to get a lot covered today.

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