1. What is Olson’s point about a “mosaic” (vs. strictly systematic or historical); “Christian belief” (vs. theology, religion) and preferring the “both/and” or “mediating” over the “either/or” approach? * Olson uses the word mosaic in order to reflect his less quarrelsome “both-and” “mediating theology.” * He wants to show us how the broad consensus of Christian beliefs really fit like a mosaic into a comprehensible whole if we step back and look at the big picture. * There’s also a reason for “Christian belief” in the title instead of “systematic theology”. Though he takes a systematic approach, Olson wants to reach the popular reader or intro-level student. He tries to avoid some of the theology jargon, which can imply content strictly for professional clergy or academic types. 2. Etymology of the word “theology” as clue to its meaning. Give a good “working definition” for what we mean by systematic theology or Essentials of Evangelical Theology. * Theology means:
a. Theos= god
b. logos= word, word about study of, discourse
c. theo+logos= study of God & God stuff
3. What are some ideas for why we are choosing to study theology “systematically” instead of say, Bible “book-by-book” or historical theology or some other way? * It’s just good to remember that while a systematic approach might help for instruction, it is not the approach that’s inspired but rather the simple, original texts just as they were written. * One advantage could be that systematic approaches help maintain balance in recalling and teaching the “whole counsel of God” instead of just harping on your favorite texts and interpretations. * So, is there a “divinely-inspired” method of study or a “scriptural way” to study theology? * What is an advantage of a “systematic” study of anything? * You make sure you get a balanced coverage of the entire subject without leaving out parts you don’t like or get confused by. 4. “finitum non capax infiniti”: Latin phrase= “the finite is not capable of the infinite.” Explain what this ancient dictum might have to do with studying theology? * ANY approach to theology needs a healthy dose of the principle of “finitum non capax infiniti”: Latin phrase which means “the finite is not capable of the infinite.” That is, our humility before God and His Word takes precedence over any method we might prefer. Let God be God. Let the words in the text convict you. Then, let theology show you how those texts might do that. 5. What was Anselm’s definition of theology?
* “Faith seeking understanding” [credo ut intelligam] No need to memorize the Latin words, but you should be able to recognize these words when you see them 6. Who is considered the very first “systematic theologian”? * Augustine
7. What is the task of the “end” of theological study?
* To know God, not to just know theology or know “about God.”—Thomas a Kempis 8. List and explain Emil Brunner’s “three tasks of theology”. * Polemical —what is Christian belief and what is not? what is heretical? * Exegetical —how are the texts of scripture to be interpreted; what is the message God intends in this text? * Catechetical —what content should we teach and how should we go about teaching our children and new converts: our “catechumens”? 9. Typically what is the first area to consider with any introductory theology study? * All sources that are considered authoritative for the theology you are studying. * Bibliology: n. Biblical literature, doctrine, or theology 10. So, what are the sources of Christian authority? That is, if God is to be our authority, has God revealed Himself? And how has God done this revealing or self-disclosure? * General Revelation (or natural theology) or that is, “through what He has made” * Special or supernatural revelation or through what He has spoken. 11. So, through whom has God spoken in the past?