Theology as Reaction

Where does theology begin?  Well, mostly it begins with an issue that it is reacting to.  When we look into the Church Fathers we see that a majority of their theology was in response to something, namely heresy or issues challenging the church.  Irenaeus of Lyon was writing in response to Gnosticism.  Tertullian was trying to iron down the sufficiency of Scripture (before the Canon of Scripture was even set).

Theology has the same function for us today.  It helps us identify issues and points of tension, then seeks to gain understanding from a faithful vantage point.  Perhaps we should look at theology more like an art or craft rather than a science or discipline.  It is like a potter fashioning clay, moving from through the creative process within the limits and commitments of her resources, convictions and skills.  When we reach those flashpoints requiring theological thinking, will we react with the passion and devotion of a fine artist and skilled artisan?

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