A Great Starting Point for Theology

I love this! How wonderful it would be if the truth of what I am copying in below were to be incorporated into all of our theology and hermeneutics as a first concept! These are the words of Mark D. Thompson:

Modern systematic theology needs a new appreciation of the impact of human sin on those who write it as well as those who read it. All too frequently in modern theology, fallibility is attributed to the biblical text as a matter of empirical certainty, while at the same time the theological constructs of the writer are presented without the slightest hesitation or acknowledgment of provisionality. The impression is given that only in the current generation have the practitioners of theology been able to escape the impact of the fall upon the human mind. There is a serious need for those of us who are involved in the discipline to admit that our own formulations are provisional and fallible, liable to be corrupted by our own prejudices and backgrounds as well as a deeply ingrained self-interest. When the gospel unfolded in systematic theology challenges our commitments and preferences, it is all too possible for us to perform hermeneutical and theological gymnastics in order to avoid the response of repentance and faith. This is not to say that we must inevitably be mistaken. It is still possible to speak the truth faithfully. Nevertheless, our own capacity for error and the possibility of recasting Christian theology in the image of our own belief structures ought to make us reluctant to dismiss too quickly the contributions of others, and especially the prima facie teaching of the biblical text.

– Mark D. Thompson. “The Missionary Apostle and Modern Systematic Affirmation.” The Gospel to the Nations: Perspectives on Paul’s Mission. Peter Bolt and Mark Thompson, eds. Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2000 (pp.378-9)


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