(PDF NEW) Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God AUTHOR Stanley J. Grenz
Stanley J. Grenz
Stanley J. Grenz ↠ 1 READIt it aims for understanding one s faithAlthough everyone is engaged in theology theological inuiries vary in type and uality In its most basic form theology can be good or bad For Grenz and Olson bad theology is unreflective and unwilling to learn Good theology on the other hand is articulate and self aware It goes beyond blind recital and can situate itself within the body of nowledge and interpretation In addition good theology does not let intellectual rigour break the connection between theology and faith In a nuanced description the authors present the variety of theologies along the spectrum distinguishing between five types 1 folk theology 2 lay theology 3 ministerial theology 4 professional theology and 5 academic theology p 16 Besides deriving their names from different types of practitioners the types along the continuum can be said to encapsulate different degrees of interaction between faith and reason Folk theology is pure blind faith and academic theology is sterile reason devoid of faith The authors reject these two types as undesirable while embracing the median types where the interplay between faith and reason is alive and vibrantIn Chapter 3 the authors move away from a broad definition of theology and describe theology in a narrow sense ie as a formal discipline In this sense theology takes different specific forms eg theology proper anthropology Christology pneumatology ecclesiology and eschatology Theology as a discipline is two pronged First it grounds Christian living p 31 The value of theology is therefore in improving our understanding of the gospel p 33 It is through theology that our faith develops contextual understanding it can relate to and comes to life Knowledge of theology is highly practical Professional theologians have described abstract notions in minute details because they have relevance to Christian life once their conseuences are considered Second theology pleases God The authors maintain that theology cannot be purely antropocentric and must be God centered p 36 Theology is a biblically grounded way of practicing discipleship on a cognitive level Grounding Christian living and pleasing God are not a by product of theology but an essential part of this discipline and its raison d treChapter 4 is dedicated to defending theology In this chapter Grenz and Olson identify common objections such as the Killjoy Objection the Divisiveness Charge the Speculation Accusation and the Stalemate Indictment p 45 and respond to them The Killjoy objection states that theology prevents us from enjoying God The response is that joy is not the point of Christianity biblical truths are p 47 The essence of the Divisiveness Charge is that theology divides Grenz and Olson respond that 1 theology teaches to distinguish orthodoxy from heresy 2 unity cannot be put above truth p 49 and 3 theology also can unite p 50 The Speculation Accusation arises from claims about that which we cannot now made by some theologians The response is that while this happens not all theology is speculative and we can make genuine but incomplete statements about God p 52 The Stalemate Indictment is an accusation about the lack of progress in theology The authors respond by pointing out the examples of paradigm shifts and developments in theology that can be described as progress in the sense of contextualizing theology for contemporary circumstancesIn Chapter 5 the authors describe the tasks of theology making a distinction between its critical and constructive tasks The former is divided into 1 examining and evaluating Christian beliefs and 2 categorizing them as dogma doctrine or opinion p 70 The latter is divided into 1 constructing unified models and 2 relating those models to contemporary culture p 70 Theology does not create truths or beliefs but works with beliefs circulating among
CHRISTIANS CATEGORIZING THEM ACCORDING TO THEIRCategorizing them according to their for being a Christian dogma or a part of a Christian community such as a church
or denomination doctrine Constructing unified models refers to conceptualizing notions revealed throughout biblical stories into a coherent whole and establishingdenomination doctrine Constructing unified models refers to conceptualizing notions revealed throughout biblical stories into a coherent whole and establishing between them eg the concept of Trinity that is not taught explicitly in the Bible Relating those models to contemporary culture is a task of expressing those models using contemporary language that is comprehensible to target audienceChapters 6 and 7 describe the tools theologians use such as the biblical message church heritage as well as contemporary culture and contextualization respectively A combination of these tools helps transmit biblical truths that are not self explanatory in the original context using the methods developed over time with necessary adaptations for contemporary audience The mandate of theology is not to restate the Bible but to address a context p 95 The authors conclude the book by reiterating the importance of theology as a practical discipline To do theology right is to live it out p 115Overall this is an okay book It has a purpose and it does the job although the level of execution is a hit and miss depending on the chapter As a whole it felt too basic for an introductory book The strongest parts are the continuum of theologies and the part explaining the distinction between dogma doctrine and opinion as well as the part explaining the historical denominational divides The main point ie everybody needs theology that takes up a disproportionate amount of the book is neither original nor well articulated It does get uite repetitive The book has some value in it but one has to suffer through it to find it Luckily doing so doesn t take too long since the book is extremely short My review is partially influenced by the fact that I read it for a class and the lectures for this module seemed to cover exactly the same ground as most of the book Even taken on its own the first six chapters of the book seemed uite redundant and honestly rather uninspiring However I really enjoyed the last three chapters I liked the idea of the integrative motif from chapter 7 while chapter 8 discusses the absorption of theology into life so that beliefs and actions align Chapter 9 presents practical steps for starting a journey of personal theological study which looks excellent to me I appreciated the emphasis in that list of steps not only on exploring the Bible and theology but on analyzing one s own beliefs and distinguishing between those one would die for and those one would merely argue for My rating then is an average between the chapters that weren t my favorite and those I really liked This book was a great read If you have an interest in theology then this does a great job at explaining the basics and making a clear emphasis that the goal of theology is not to just gain nowledge but to grow deeper in relationship with the Lord This is an older book so the references are a bit outdated but many of the concepts still hold up today 4 stars only because it was a little redundant at times and dated But a great intro text Helped put words to a lot of my thoughts on the subjec. Ologian and how the theological enterprise can be productive and satisfying Their clear easily understood book is ideal for students church study groups and individual Christians who want to strengthen understanding belief and commitment by coming to now God ful. ,
Eral this was a really informative read I m just about to start my seminary education this semester and I feel like it was good to ask the uestions What is Theology And why study it Is it important And other related uestionsChapters 1 3 were somewhat boring but that s because they had to build from the most basic points in order to answer some of these uestions The authors define Theology with a wordy definition but it s definitely accurate My summary of their definition would be something like Theology is the study of who God is and what He has done and how that relates to us in our current age with the goal of glorifying God by representing Him well in all that we think say and do My definition is pretty wordy too but I think it would satisfy these authors criteria for a good definition of TheologyBut getting into chapter 4 after they have defined Theology pretty thoroughly the authors begin defending against objections to Theology My favorite point they made was in answering the uestion well isn t Theology stagnate We aren t discovering any truth from practicing Theology were just having endless debates about it And the simple form of the answer is saying that progress is slow because it s cross generational progress We aren t going to see universal agreement because there are always going to be dissenters but there have clearly been paradigm shifts throughout history that show major improvements in how people think about God One obvious example is the Reformation There are other examples in shifts in the mainstream thought of Christianity that he uses like the idea of God suffering but this is the easiest one to mention without going into detailAfter addressing these objections the authors get into some heavy and in my opinion interesting things The main point that the rest of the book revolves around is the idea that we cannot be 100% objective when we read scripture and do theology We always bring our cultural baggage and point of view to scripture even if we think we are aware of both our culture and 1st century culture The book uses an analogy of a molecular model as being the same as a theological idea They are models meant to give a good picture of the reality but they can never fully grasp the exact nature of the reality A model of a molecule is never as natural or complex as the actual thing In the same way the doctrine of the Trinity can never fully represent God in his true form because it is just a model meant to help us understand what the Bible is telling us about God All we now about God is that He is Three in One Triune But as soon as we use metaphors and analogies we actually lose something in our increase of understanding Theology is still necessary because it allows us to express truths in our current age but we must never forget that our reason is finite and limited uneuipped to understand the complex and infinite nature of GodAnother thing I really liked about this book is the discussion of what tools we use when doing theology One would say the Bible of course But I like how these authors allow for nuance than that Of course the Bible is our standard and authority but we should also let Church history and our contemporary culture influence how we do theology Church history because there are already theological frameworks that have been built very good ones at that and culture because we need to take timeless truths and make them relevant to current culture and eventsThere is one thing I thought was missing from the book The goal of Theology in my opinion is to Elegies Elderberries (The Herbalist know God better in order to do as the creed says The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever I felt like this aspect was almost completely missing from the book He dances around this idea but I don t feel like he ever hammered home the point that we study and teach theology to simplynow God love Him and glorify
HIM I WISH HE WOULD HAVE HAD A CHAPTERI wish he would have had a chapter something like Theology and the Glory of God or something along those lines That is pretty much the only complaint I have with this book even if it is a rather large complaintThese are the main things that really stuck out to me in the book but there is a lot information that I haven t mentioned If you have reservations about the word theology this may be a good book for you If you already like theology it may give you a second opinion on what you are actually trying to accomplish in your study of theology I ve been reading theology for many years already but this book still gave me many new things to contemplate Have fun Excellent invitation to why every Christian should engage in theology although they already are whenever they ask and seek "to discover life s ultimate uestions Olson Grenz define and defend theology discuss theology s "discover life s ultimate uestions Olson Grenz define and defend theology discuss theology s s and tradition the tools reuired how theology should be constructed and the purpose of theology to bring theology to life in our livesFor anyone who has a negative attitude towards theology who find it destructive to the spiritual life just plain boring or too complicated to be involved in or just is a new believer finding an interest in the Christian doctrine this short only 150 pages and easy read is for you it s a great place to start on the road studying the Bible I want to say this is nigh on necessary for anyone looking to begin an intentional Theological journey Grounding and challenging yet understandable and dare I say even relatable This is an excellent first step In Who Needs Theology An Invitation to the Study of God 1996 Stanley J Grenz and Roger E Olson advocate for practicing theology by non theologians Grenz and Olson both professional theologians explain theology in an accessible way to convince their readers of the benefits of theological nowledge and practice The authors also encourage everyone to embark on a theological journey In doing so they address common misconceptions about theology and answer popular Christian arguments against it Distinguishing between five types of theology the authors make a case for practicing theology on different levels Above all this introductory text defines and defends theology while offering a glimpse into its historical development and elaborating on the possible tools to bring it into lifeIf there is an underlying premise that is foundational to the entire narrative advanced by Grenz and Olson it is that theology is practiced by everyone p 2 The authors start with defining theology
In A Very Broad Way As Any Pondering Upon Biga very broad way as any pondering upon big of life that in one way or another are related to God p 2 Christian theology is therefore pondering upon uestions related to God practiced by Christians as Christians The definition used intentionally blurs the line between theology practiced by ordinary Christians and professional theologians For Grenz and Olson the difference between the former and the latter is of degree not ind Any reasoning about God is theology regardless of the level of sophistication and tools used Theology defined as reasoning about God practiced by Christians as Christians underscores the intentionality of such a pursu. Rch In this short introduction Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson two theologians who care deeply about the witness of ordinary Christians and the ministry of the church show what theology is what tools theology uses why every believer advanced degrees or not is a the. .
Theology is a word that creates a surge of excitement in the minds of some such as me while striking fear or even ambivalence for many others After all is not theology something for pastors and academics to explore and for the believer to sit in the pew each Sunday to hear what they need to hear so we can all move on with the issues of life Responding to these various presuppositions concerning theology authors Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson present the idea that theology is for all believers not just those who preach from the pulpit or who occupy the halls of academic In their helpful book Who Needs Theology An Invitation to the Study of God Grenz and Olson reorient the discussion and thus demonstrate that theology is a necessary part of the Christian lifeIt is no small task to find a way to present the topic of theology in such a way that people will grasp its importance in their daily life The very term has become far too associated as being the realm of a select few rather than what it truly is namely the study of God in which all believers are commanded in scripture to actively participate Grenz and Olson rightly note at the outset of this book that theology is an inescapable reality of life In fact every person must at some point in life face and wrestle with the uestions that point to the ultimate uestion of Godeven where God is ignored or denied God remains the ultimate horizon background and goal against which all of life s ultimate uestions arise and to which they point Theology then is as much a part of life as eating and breathingGrenz and Olson do note there are various levels of theology theological acumen and practice ranging from mere reflective Christianity to academic theology All believers exist at some point along the spectrum of theological practice Further theology is not just a stale definition that describes some ethereal pursuit of Miss Mackenzie knowledge Theology has a goal and a purpose which is rightly defined by Grenz and Olson as the need to understand and describe what we believe as Christians what we hold to be true given our faith in Jesus Christ Engaging in theology will necessarily assist believers to better ground their beliefs in sound biblical truth as It reuires that we scrutinize our beliefs in the light of biblically informed Christian truth In so doing theology exercises a critical functionAs you test your beliefs you may discover that certain things you assumed were true do not suare with sound teaching Thus engaging in theology will move the believer from a place of immaturity to that needed place of maturity in the faithThere are important tasks theology accomplishes which Grenz and Olson aptly note First they correctly state that a main function of theology is to examine beliefs and teachings about God ourselves and the world in light of Christian sources especially the primary norm of the biblical message Being able to examine our beliefs in light of Scripture is what provides the believer with the tools to not only note theological errors in their own life but also to provide a solid foundation by which they can properly defend that which they believe an activitynown as apologetics Another important task of theology noted by Grenz and Olson is the all important element of taking what you have learned and applying it to the world around you This aspect involves elaborating on the truth of Scripture in such a way so that others can grasp at their level the things of God which is of course theologyDoing theology involves having a set of tools available to you and Grenz and Olson do a great job of examining just what tools should be in the tool belt and workbench of all believers They recognize that Scripture is our absolute starting point for theology They also recognize the importance of using valuable tools to engage the truth of Scripture tools that have been developed to help the believer in their study of God s Word Things such as exegetical aids commonly nown as a concordance commentary or a theological dictionary for example are helpful tools for studying Scripture I do wish the authors would have explained the tools available to believers in a bit detail in this section if anything to help those unfamiliar with these exegetical aids to understand their purpose in doing theologyA particular part of this book I greatly appreciated was the discussion on bringing theology to bear in everyday life This is really where the rubber hits the road for all believers It is certainly one thing to occupy a seminary classroom or pew and to hear anything ranging from nerdy theological pursuits to a discussion of the Sermon on the Mount All that is great however if theology does not impact life it is nothing than mere head nowledge In fact Grenz and Olson provide a valuable reminder that No one is nowledgeable about theological things than our archenemy and his comrades Doing theology therefore leads to established theological convictions which lead us to look at life the way we do and allow us to experience the world as we do Grenz and Olson rightly aver that The Christian theological task is to use the tools of the craftto construct an interpretive framework that views all reality from the perspective that God has encountered us in Jesus of Nazareth Our goal in engaging in this task is to see the world through Christian eyes As we pursue the wisdom found in the pages of Scripture it will in turn impact every aspect of our lives to the glory of God Theology should no longer be considered as something for only certain people to be involved in as the study of God must be the pursuit of every believer Mind you not all believers will be scholars nor will all believers write books
OR STAND IN FRONT OF Astand in front of a to preach a message on a Sunday morning With that said all believers are theologians as we are all called to study God so we may live our lives to the glory of God so that we may be a light to the world Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson do an admirable job of explaining why theology is for
everyone and why it is such an essential part of the daily Christian walk I highlyand why it is such an essential part of the daily Christian walk I highly everyone to give this book a read as it will excite you to engage theology and to never neglect studying to show yourself approved unto God a workman who need not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truthI received this book for free from IVP Academic for this review I was not reuired to write a positive review The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 "CFR PART 255 GUIDES CONCERNING THE "Part 255 Guides Concerning the of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising A solid clear introduction to what is theology why we are all theologians and how to construct theology and apply it to our lives Grenz and Olson write in simple language that is easy to understand This is an easy to read book that I recommend to anyone wondering what is theology and how it is relevant to all of our lives A solid introductory textbook on Theology which suffers from a bit of redundancy and WAY too many references to the Peanuts comic strips In gen. To many Christians theology is something alien overly intellectual and wholly unappealing Even seminary students are nown to balk at the prospect of a course on theology Yet theology most simply the nowledge of God is essential to the life and health of the chu. .
Stanley J. Grenz