How Theology Influences Our Discussions

How Theology Influences Our Discussions

For today’s post, I’m going to give you a quick church history and theology lesson. I know; some of you are groaning at the thought. But hang with me here. I think you’ll quickly see how what happened in the past influences how we live together as the Church today.

In resolving differences, we tend to bring our theological influences to the discussion. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the language you use often reveals your theological camp.

Protestant Christianity has two primary ways of thinking about God and the Christian faith—Reformed Calvinism and Wesleyan-Arminianism. In case you haven’t picked it up, I’m from the Wesleyan-Arminian camp. And in my following attempt to broad-brush these two ways of thinking, I admit my bias and recognize that some Reformed folks would describe themselves differently.

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Science and Wesleyan Theology

Science and Wesleyan Theology

In my last post on Science and Religion, I left off just as I introduced the idea of interpreting Scripture from a perspective of Wesleyan theology. That’s where I want to begin today—looking at this issue through three specific lenses: tradition, reason, and experience.

Tradition

We listen to the ancient church and what Christians have believed from the past. We give dead people a vote by paying attention to their understanding and theology.

In the current science-religion debate, we should go back in history beyond the past one hundred years to hear the close symmetry between science and religion. Most science was done by scholars rooted in the church. And where the church was wrong about science (a flat earth, the earth rotating around the sun, etc.), the church corrected itself. This is our tradition.

Saint Augustine, writing centuries before Darwin was a gleam in his parent’s eyes, wrote concerning in The Literal Meaning of Genesis:

In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in search for truth justly undermines this position, we too will fall with it.”

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