TheFour Sources of Theology
TheFour Sources of Theology
Thestrengths and weaknesses of discovering the truth about God throughtradition, natural theology, scriptures, and experience are thatthese four sources are interlinked. One cannot explicitly existwithout depending on the other. According to scriptures, the strengthof discovering the truth about God in them is that there is a storybehind each book in the bible and how God did marvelous things forthem. In line with tradition, God is seen as an authoritative figurethat is seen as the ruler. According to experiences, truth about Godsurfaces during humanity’s hardest times.
Whenhardship is being experienced, that is when they seek God. Consistentwith natural theology, observable facts based on ordinary experiencesexplain the truth about the existence of God1.Authority has been used mostly in the secular context and within thereligious setting, God is seen as the highest authority andChristians strive to live and abide by His ways. This paper willdiscuss the strengths and weaknesses of discovering the truth aboutGod through tradition, natural theology, scriptures, and experienceas sources. Finally, drawing from Wright, a theologically richaccount of the authority of scriptures as canon will be provided andhow an individual or the church stories are supposed to beinterpreted.
Part1- Sources of Theology
Thestrength of discovering the truth about God through scripture is thatthe literature maintains the continuous and stabilized identity ofthe community of believers, and gives them a stable cornerstone,which protects them against subjective issues. It bonds and bringspeople together because they share the same literature, which givesthem inspiration. In essence, it promotes a sense of identity amongpeople who have a common cause. Another advantage is that the peoplebelieve that the messages in the scriptures come from God and that Heuses His people to convey the messages.
Theweakness of the theology source is that there exists too muchselectivity, which may result in overemphasis and distortion ormodification concerning one concept in the scriptures. Sometheologians are not usually comprehensive in using the scripture, asthey get their knowledge from selected parts of the scriptures.
Thestrength of discovering the truth about God through tradition is thatthe scripture was based on the tradition that was passed from onegeneration to the next. When the scriptures were put in writing,their interpretation was facilitated by the Church’s tradition.Through tradition, the scriptures were taught and proclaimed as well.It shows the significance of tradition in the church setting, andthat it is important for the Christian community because it shows theorigin of the scriptures and its contents as well.
Despitethe theological source having this advantage, it also has a weakness.In particular, tradition can be rendered nonexistent and become aritual, which lacks meaning. If not regularly interpreted and renewedin regard to the change of cultures, it may stop having meaning andrelevance. Another disadvantage is that it may become extremelyformalized, whereby it can establish other stories, which do not havesubstantial roots in Jesus Christ. 2Traditions should be thought, employed, and experienced within aparticular situation, and should add meaning to the Christians,rather than weighing it down by the use of rituals, which have nomeaning or basis of foundation.
Thestrength of discovering the truth about God through experience isthat people’s experiences in life inform their faith3.Every situation an individual goes through in life is considered anexperience, for instance breathing, sleeping, and spiritual oremotional aspects, to mention just a few. Such experiences encouragepeople to have a stronger faith and tackle life with courage.
Oneof the weaknesses of the theological source is that in religiousexperience, the object of faith is not seen. In particular,individuals can only comprehend the experiences through the faith ofthe community encounter such as trust, penitence, adoration, and soon. In addition, the other weakness is the issue of being subjective,whereby people’s experiences mislead them hence, their experiencehas to be always tested, coupled with the person’s sources of theirknowledge of God, and their community experience.
Thestrength of discovering the truth about God through natural theologyis that an individual gets to know about God through his or hernatural human capacity, rather than revealed theology, which isdependent on inspired scripture. The personal experiences makepeople’s faith stronger as they experience the natural situationsin life. The weakness of the theological source is that it is onlybased on the boundaries of human understanding therefore, could besubjective as people would not have the ability to judge situationsand learn from them.
TheBible is the real point of authority regardless of how individualstry to portray it since it advices people on how to live amongst oneanother. The more an individual tries to portray themselves that theyare based on the bible the more they are inclined to cause divisionthere is division in churches into smaller groups with each groupthinking that they have the truth of the Bible with them. The aim ofthe Bible is to inspire individuals. However, others misuse theauthority of the Bible to attack others saying that they know thebible better than the others, making it look like a competition.4Many evangelists who consider themselves translators of the Bible dothis to their advantage and to mislead the people they have beengiven responsibility by the church to guide. The Bible is aninfluential book people are misled by the false interpretation ofthe book where even individuals are even told to give up theirearthly riches to ministers in the church by donating everything tothe church because one can only enter heaven when one is poor. Theonly thing that such individuals are deprived of is knowledge aboutthe book and that what is meant is people will only get to meet Godupon their death when they have used what they have on earth toinspire others.
Individualsshould interpret their stories according to how the scripture wantsthem to live. People should live in harmony with each other accordingto what the authoritative scriptures advise them to do. And in thechurch community, people should be there for each other during thebad and the good times. The authority of the Bible is bestowed to itby God who wants people to live according to His will.
Thefour sources of theology comprise of the origins of issues revolvingaround Christianity. As such, Christians can discover the truth aboutGod through sources such as scripture, tradition, experiences, andnatural theology. All these sources have weaknesses and strengths,based on the outlook of the Christians. TheScriptures have high Authority only that other people try to twistand interpret them to their advantage so as to make them manipulateothers.
Alter,Robert. Canonand Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture.Yale University Press, 2015.
Erickson,Millard J. ChristianTheology.Baker Academic, 2011.
McGrath,Alister E. ChristianTheology: An introduction.John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Wright,Norman T. "How can the Bible be Authoritative?." VoxEvangelica 21,no. 2013 (2013): 7-29.
1 Alter, Robert. Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture. Yale University Press, 2015.
2 McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
3 Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. Baker Academic, 2011.
4 Wright, Norman T. "How can the Bible be authoritative?." Vox Evangelica 21, no. 2013 (2013): 7-29.