Friday, May 24, 2013

A Tale of Two Theological Trajectories

Liberalism - theology is anthropocentric and revealed by studying man (i.e., what man thinks and has thought of God and religion). Hence, theology is nothing more than the study of man, and more appropriately called "anthropology."

Orthodoxy - theology is theocentric revealed by studying God's revelation/Scripture (i.e., what God thinks of Himself, man, and religion). Theology, therefore is the study of what God has said, and is appropriately called "theology."


  1. Even if you view scripture as given by God and infallible, it is mostly about man. It has surprisingly little to say about God, especially in the Old Testament. Its not about God so much as what God requires of man, and hence about man. Even in the New Testament its not about God but about how God "so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son" hence again, it centers on man. Man is the center of God's universe: God's every waking thought in the Bible is about man! It shocks the Psalmist: "What is man that Thou are mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him?" Man is lower than the angels, yet it is man that God has crowned with glory and honor and it is man that is the subject of the Bible. Even when man forgets God, God never forgets man: is that not the message of the Bible in general? It certainly is the message of the parable of the prodigal son! The son may have forgot his Father off in the far country for many years yucking it up with prostitutes, but the Father was mindful of him the whole time, waiting for him to return! The Father's universe was centered on the prodigal. Any theology, therefore, that is "theocentric" rather than "anthropocentric" is of necessity and idolatry (from the biblical perspective) for it deals with a totally different God than the God of the Bible. If God's ever-waking thought is of man, then how can we teach a theology that denies the anthropocentric message of the Bible without burying our heads in shame?

  2. You're confusing anthropocentricity in the message and anthropocentricity in how we discover what the message is.

    I, of course, would deny both of these. The message of the text is about God and His glory to the benefit of His people. It is about God's love, His salvation, His judgment, His mighty acts, His Son, His Spirit, His Church, His plan, His will, etc. And that is all from the perspective of God in orthodox study, not man's speculations about God, which is what I was getting at above in distinguishing how one goes about discovering the nature of reality.

    So what I said above has nothing to do with whether man is all over the place in the Bible. Of course he is. He is the instrument by which God is glorified in our cosmos, but my point above, is that it is God telling us these things, not ancient man speculating about God.