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Theology proper is the sub-discipline of systematic theology which deals specifically with the being, attributes and works of God.
Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. It addresses issues such as what the Bible teaches about certain topics or what is true about God and his universe. It also builds on biblical disciplines, church history, as well as biblical and historical theology. Systematic theology shares its systematic tasks with other disciplines such as constructive theology, dogmatics, ethics, apologetics, and philosophy of religion.
God in Christianity is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent and immanent. Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe but accept that God's divine Nature was hypostatically united to human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, in an event known as the Incarnation.
In a Christian and Trinitarian setting, this study includes pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit) and Christology (the study of Jesus Christ). The term theology (lit. 'God-word') is popularly described as "talk about God" or God-talk, but is usually used in the generic sense to describe religious studies.
Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist [Holy Communion], prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.
Holy Spirit is a term found in English translations of the Bible that is understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.
Apophatic theology, also known as negative theology, is a form of theological thinking and religious practice which attempts to approach God, the Divine, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God. It forms a pair together with cataphatic theology, which approaches God or the Divine by affirmations or positive statements about what God is.
The attributes of God are specific characteristics of God discussed in Christian theology.
Cataphatic theology or kataphatic theology is theology that uses "positive" terminology to describe or refer to the divine – specifically, God – i.e. terminology that describes or refers to what the divine is believed to be, in contrast to the "negative" terminology used in apophatic theology to indicate what it is believed the divine is not.
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Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the ontology and person of Jesus as recorded in the canonical Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the ontology and person of Jesus in conjunction with his relationship with that of God the Father. Christology is concerned with the details of Jesus' ministry, his acts and teachings, to arrive at a clearer understanding of who he is in his person, and his role in salvation. The views of Paul the Apostle provided a major component of the Christology of the Apostolic Age. Paul's central themes included the notion of the pre-existence of Christ and the worship of Christ as Kyrios.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christian theology:
Colin Ewart Gunton was a British Reformed systematic theologian. He made contributions to the doctrine of Creation and the doctrine of the trinity. He was Professor of Christian Doctrine at King's College London from 1984 and co-founder with Christoph Schwoebel of the Research Institute for Systematic Theology in 1988. Gunton was actively involved in the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom where he had been a minister since 1972.
Binitarianism is a Christian theology of two persons, personas, or two aspects in one substance/Divinity. Classically, binitarianism is understood as a form of monotheism—that is, that God is absolutely one being; and yet with binitarianism there is a "twoness" in God, which means one God family. The other common forms of monotheism are "unitarianism", a belief in one God with one person, and "trinitarianism", a belief in one God with three persons.
Constructive theology is the redefinition or reconceptualization of what historically has been known as systematic theology. The reason for this reevaluation stems from the idea that, in systematic theology, the theologian attempts to develop a coherent theory running through the various doctrines within the tradition. A potential problem underlying such study is that in constructing a system of theology, certain elements may be "forced" into a presupposed structure, or left out altogether, in order to maintain the coherence of the overall system.
Homoiousios is a Christian theological term, coined in the 4th-century by a distinctive group of Christian theologians who held the belief that God the Son was of a similar, but not identical, essence with God the Father. Homoiousianism arose as an attempt to reconcile two opposite teachings, homoousianism and homoianism. Following Trinitarian doctrines of the First Council of Nicaea (325), homoousians believed that God the Son was of the same essence with God the Father. On the other hand, homoians refused to use the term οὐσία, believing that God the Father is "incomparable" and therefore the Son of God can not be described in any sense as "equal" or "same" but only as "like" or "similar" to the Father, in some subordinate sense of the term. In order to find a theological solution that would reconcile those opposite teachings, homoiousians tried to compromise between the essence-language of homoousians and the notion of similarity, held by homoians. Their attempt failed, and by the First Council of Constantinople (381) homoiousianism was already marginalized.
Missio Dei is a Latin Christian theological term that can be translated as the "mission of God," or the "sending of God." It is a concept which has become increasingly important in missiology and in understanding the mission of the church since the second half of the 20th century. Some of its key proponents include David Bosch, Lesslie Newbigin, and Darrell Guder.
Theocentricism is the belief that God is the central aspect to our existence, as opposed to anthropocentrism or existentialism. In this view, meaning and value of actions done to people or the environment are attributed to God. The tenets of theocentrism, such as humility, respect, moderations, selflessness, and mindfulness, can lend themselves towards a form of environmentalism. In modern theology, theocentricism is often linked with stewardship and environmental ethics or Creation care. It is the belief that human beings should look after the world as guardians and therefore in the way God wants them to. Humans should be considerate to all, from animals to plants to humans themselves. It maintains that human beings are merely here for a short time and should be looking after the world for future generations.
In Christian theology, the doctrine of the incarnation holds that Jesus, the preexistent divine Logos and the second hypostasis of the Trinity, God the Son and Son of the Father, taking on a human body and human nature, "was made flesh" and conceived in the womb of Mary the Theotokos. The doctrine of the incarnation, then, entails that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, his two natures joined in hypostatic union.
Michel René Barnes is Associate Professor emeritus of Historical Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He focuses on Latin and Greek Patristic Theology, in particular, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine of Hippo, and pneumatological development in the early church.
The doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ asserts the ontological or personal existence of Christ before his incarnation. One of the relevant Bible passages is John 1:1–18 where, in the Trinitarian interpretation, Christ is identified with a pre-existent divine hypostasis called the Logos or Word. There are other nontrinitarian views that question the aspect of personal pre-existence or the aspect of divinity or both.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to theology:
Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:
The Lamb of God is the first part of the three book, comprehensive presentation of Eastern Orthodox theology by Sergei Bulgakov. The book is in effect a comprehensive presentation of the Eastern Orthodox Christological perspective, which is then followed by his other works on pneumatology.
Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus is a 2009 theological book by the Australian Jesuit priest and academic Gerald O'Collins. This work was originally published in 1995 with the title Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus Christ, but the author thoroughly revised the whole text in 2009 to take account of the numerous biblical, historical, and systematic studies of Jesus that appeared following its first edition.
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen is a Finnish theologian. He is Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. An ordained Lutheran minister, he is also a world-renowned expert on Pentecostal-Charismatic theologies.
Patriology or Paterology, in Christian theology, refers to the study of God the Father. Both terms are derived from two Greek words: πατήρ and λογος. As a distinctive theological discipline, Patriology or Paterology is closely connected with Christology and Pneumatology.