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June 13, 2021

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What is Christian Theology?

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“Christian Theology, or Dogmatics as the term is often used technically, is that branch of theological science which aims to set forth in a systematic manner the doctrines of the Christian faith.

“The term theology is derived from the Greek words theos (qeoV) and logos (logoV), and originally signified a discourse about God. The word was in use before the advent of Christ and the development of the Christian Church.

Aristotle in his Organon applied the term theology to his highest or first philosophy. The Greeks were accustomed to applying the term theologoi to their honored poets and teachers, such as Homer, Hesiod and Orpheus, “who with poetic inspiration sang of the gods and divine things.”

In its most general sense, therefore, the term theology may be applied to the scientific investigation of real or supposed sacred persons, things or relations. However crude the content of these treatises may be, usage allows it to be called theology if the subject matter is concerned with that which is regarded as sacred. The term is therefore elastic and somewhat vague, and must be made more definite and specific by the use of qualifying terms as Christian or Ethnic theology.

Definitions of Christian Theology. Christian theology has been defined in various ways by the masters of this science. Perhaps none of these definitions, however, exceeds in adequacy or comprehensiveness that of William Burton Pope who defines it as “the science of God and divine things, based upon the revelation made to mankind in Jesus Christ, and variously systematized within the Christian Church.”

Taken From Wesley Center for Applied Theology, H. Orton Wiley: Christian Theology, Chapter One