A Proper Foundation: Two Answers

➡ Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

God's <abbr>EPIC</abbr> AdventureThe debate over finding a proper foundation produced two answers. First, the bedrock foundation could only be a religious experience. While personal in nature, they believed that it was universal. Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, often called the leading nineteenth-century theologian of the Protestant church, first voiced this approach to theology. He maintained that “the essence of religion is an awareness of absolute dependence or the experience of God consciousness.” [ref]Stanley J. Grenz and John R. Franke. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. 33).[/ref]

Others of a more conservative bend sought to find a different foundation. As a second answer, they concluded that this invulnerable foundation lay in an error-free Bible, which they viewed as the storehouse for all divine revelation. This led to sayings such as the one by Charles Hodge, a Princeton theologian, that the Bible is “free from all error, whether of doctrine, fact, or precept.” [ref]Beyond Foundationalism., 34.[/ref]

The second answer bolstered the process of propositional thinking and teaching in the form of systematic theology. Systematic theology took the fragmented view to a larger scale presenting themes without context instead of stories, by thinking it was teaching what the Bible says on any given topic where the “adept theologian claimed that he was only restating in a more systematic form what scripture itself says.” [ref]Beyond Foundationalism., 34.[/ref]

Hodge suggested that just as a natural scientist uncovered the facts pertaining to the natural world, so the theologian brought to light the theological facts found in Scripture by drawing theological propositions from the text and compiling these various facts. With such a foundation, conservative theologians were confident that they could deduce from Scripture the great truths about God or any other category and deliver an objective view of these beliefs. [ref]Beyond Foundationalism., 34-34.[/ref]

Just as the legacy of Schleiermacher dominated the liberal project to the present, the foundationalism of Hodge and other nineteenth-century conservatives sets the tone for what would become the theological paradigm of Evangelical theology through most of the twentieth-century. This “compendium of truth” that can be unlocked through scientific induction came to be the character of American fundamentalism and can be seen in Wayne Grudem’s definition of systematic theology as the attempt to determine what the whole Bible teaches about any given topic. Grudem says, “Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, “What does the whole Bible teach us today?’ about any given topic.” [ref]Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine 21. This definition of systematic theology was taken from Professor John Frame under whom Grudem studied at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia.[/ref]

➡ Purchase a copy of God’s EPIC Adventure.

Take a moment to pitch in for Winn Griffin on Patreon!
■ First, click on the button below.
■ Second, on the Patreon page, click on Patreon button in upper right corner.
■ Finally, follow the instructions there.
{ 0 comments… add one }

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)