Building Your Theology

Building Your Theology cover art
Instructor: Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
Lessons: 4
Forums: 4
Discipline: Theology
Course Group: Introduction to Theological Studies

Modern evangelical theology is flooded with conflicting viewpoints. Many of these disagreements arise between denominations, while others arise within denominations and individual churches. The apparent hopelessness of reaching theological unity has even led some Christians to deny the value of theology altogether.

With so many different ideas competing for our loyalty, how are followers of Jesus to determine what to believe? And how committed should we be to specific doctrines and traditions?

Course Goals:

  • Discuss the foundations for Christian theology.
  • Introduce the interconnected disciplines of biblical studies, theology, church history, and practical theology.
  • Describe a responsible, scriptural method for developing theological convictions.

57 min.

Lesson 1: What is Theology?

Explores typical definitions, and describes and evaluates the perspectives of these definitions.
96 min.

Forum 1: What is Theology?

A companion video to lesson 1 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • How are orthopraxis and orthopathos different from orthodoxy?
  • What are some examples of orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Does orthopraxis add a requirement of works to the gospel?
  • Which is primary: orthodoxy, orthopraxis or orthopathos?
  • How do orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos interrelate?
  • What is a web of multiple reciprocities?
  • How can we balance orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • How can we resolve tensions between orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Why is the series titled "Building Your Theology"?
  • Is it biblical to engage in formal theology?
  • Do the academic and life orientations toward theology influence each other?
  • How can we broaden our orientation toward theology?
  • Is formal theology the best way to discover truth?
  • Should we evaluate general revelation in terms of orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Do you have to be smart to do theology?
  • How do biblical studies, history and theology, and practical theology interrelate?
  • Why do seminaries have a hard time teaching practical theology?
96 min.

Forum 1: What is Theology?

A companion video to lesson 1 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • How are orthopraxis and orthopathos different from orthodoxy?
  • What are some examples of orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Does orthopraxis add a requirement of works to the gospel?
  • Which is primary: orthodoxy, orthopraxis or orthopathos?
  • How do orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos interrelate?
  • What is a web of multiple reciprocities?
  • How can we balance orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • How can we resolve tensions between orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Why is the series titled "Building Your Theology"?
  • Is it biblical to engage in formal theology?
  • Do the academic and life orientations toward theology influence each other?
  • How can we broaden our orientation toward theology?
  • Is formal theology the best way to discover truth?
  • Should we evaluate general revelation in terms of orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Do you have to be smart to do theology?
  • How do biblical studies, history and theology, and practical theology interrelate?
  • Why do seminaries have a hard time teaching practical theology?
62 min.

Lesson 2: Exploring Christian Theology

Defines what Christian theology is, explores the theological traditions that gave shape to Christian theology, and outlines the basic tenets of Reformed theology.
99 min.

Forum 2: Exploring Christian Theology

A companion video to lesson 2 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • What is tradition?
  • Which traditions are good?
  • Why is theology a form of tradition?
  • How can we distinguish what the Bible teaches from what we believe it teaches?
  • Should churches try to balance orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Should orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos all be emphasized in the local church?
  • What's wrong with theology being bound by tradition?
  • Should we avoid rationalism?
  • Why do we need to be aware of ourselves if the goal of theology is objective truth?
  • Are these lessons designed to convert students to a particular tradition?
  • Is it possible for different denominations to benefit from each other?
  • What are the five solas of the Reformation?
  • How do creeds and confessions relate to the solas?
  • Do the solas of the Reformation ignore the Father and the Holy Spirit?
  • If justification is by faith alone, why does the Bible emphasize good works?
  • If everything should be done for God's glory, where does our glorification fit?
  • How can the Old and New Testaments be unified when they look so different?
  • Is the New Testament more relevant to us than the Old Testament?
  • Does the Bible emphasize God's transcendence over his immanence?
  • Does the modern church need to hear more about God's transcendence or his immanence?
  • How much of the world's culture should the church try to transform?
  • Why does the modern church have a hard time trying to transform culture?
  • Is Christian theology defined as what Christians believe?
  • Is there a core set of beliefs that all Christians can affirm?
  • How much theological diversity is acceptable?
  • Why are some religions closer to Christianity than others are?
  • Do believers sometimes suppress the truth that God has revealed?
99 min.

Forum 2: Exploring Christian Theology

A companion video to lesson 2 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • What is tradition?
  • Which traditions are good?
  • Why is theology a form of tradition?
  • How can we distinguish what the Bible teaches from what we believe it teaches?
  • Should churches try to balance orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos?
  • Should orthodoxy, orthopraxis and orthopathos all be emphasized in the local church?
  • What's wrong with theology being bound by tradition?
  • Should we avoid rationalism?
  • Why do we need to be aware of ourselves if the goal of theology is objective truth?
  • Are these lessons designed to convert students to a particular tradition?
  • Is it possible for different denominations to benefit from each other?
  • What are the five solas of the Reformation?
  • How do creeds and confessions relate to the solas?
  • Do the solas of the Reformation ignore the Father and the Holy Spirit?
  • If justification is by faith alone, why does the Bible emphasize good works?
  • If everything should be done for God's glory, where does our glorification fit?
  • How can the Old and New Testaments be unified when they look so different?
  • Is the New Testament more relevant to us than the Old Testament?
  • Does the Bible emphasize God's transcendence over his immanence?
  • Does the modern church need to hear more about God's transcendence or his immanence?
  • How much of the world's culture should the church try to transform?
  • Why does the modern church have a hard time trying to transform culture?
  • Is Christian theology defined as what Christians believe?
  • Is there a core set of beliefs that all Christians can affirm?
  • How much theological diversity is acceptable?
  • Why are some religions closer to Christianity than others are?
  • Do believers sometimes suppress the truth that God has revealed?
66 min.

Lesson 3: Relying on Revelation

Explores what the Scriptures teach about revelation, the dynamics of understanding revelation, and how to develop confidence in theological conclusions.
79 min.

Forum 3: Relying on Revelation

A companion video to lesson 3 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • What is general revelation?
  • What are very general revelation and specialized general revelation?
  • Does God reveal things in dreams and intuitions?
  • Is modern prophecy special or general revelation?
  • Why do we need general revelation to interpret special revelation?
  • Do we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand even simple truths?
  • Does the Holy Spirit really work in unbelievers?
  • How do we come into personal contact with the Holy Spirit?
  • Why is truth analog rather than binary?
  • How does the Holy Spirit give us confidence in our theological conclusions?
79 min.

Forum 3: Relying on Revelation

A companion video to lesson 3 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • What is general revelation?
  • What are very general revelation and specialized general revelation?
  • Does God reveal things in dreams and intuitions?
  • Is modern prophecy special or general revelation?
  • Why do we need general revelation to interpret special revelation?
  • Do we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand even simple truths?
  • Does the Holy Spirit really work in unbelievers?
  • How do we come into personal contact with the Holy Spirit?
  • Why is truth analog rather than binary?
  • How does the Holy Spirit give us confidence in our theological conclusions?
72 min.

Lesson 4: Authority in Theology

Summarizes the outlooks on theological authority in the Medieval Roman Catholic Church, the early Protestant church and in contemporary Protestantism.
74 min.

Forum 4: Authority in Theology

A companion video to lesson 4 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • Does the modern church overemphasize the divine origin of Scripture?
  • Doesn't downplaying the human origins of Scripture make the Bible more exciting?
  • When Christians are illiterate, is it helpful for the church to make authoritative decisions?
  • Is it legitimate for the church to use images to teach illiterate Christians?
  • Did classical polyvalence always ground the figurative meanings of Scripture in its literal meaning?
  • How does a polyvalent approach differ from a search for literal meaning?
  • Were there good aspects of the medieval Roman Catholic Church?
  • How does the modern Roman Catholic Church interpret the Bible?
  • Did the Reformers really get their methods of interpretation from the Renaissance?
  • How did the interpretive methods of the Reformers accord with Scripture?
  • How did first-century Christians interpret the Bible?
  • Was Matthew concerned with the original meaning of Hosea?
  • Did the Reformers believe that Scripture could have multiple meanings?
  • Why did the church move away from a polyvalent view of Scripture?
  • Is every passage of Scripture limited to one, unified meaning?
  • Did the Reformers base their theology entirely on their exegesis of Scripture?
  • How clear are the teachings of Scripture?
  • Should we use clear passages of Scripture to interpret unclear passages?
  • Is John 3:16 a clear passage?
  • Should we hold all our beliefs with equal conviction?
74 min.

Forum 4: Authority in Theology

A companion video to lesson 4 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • Does the modern church overemphasize the divine origin of Scripture?
  • Doesn't downplaying the human origins of Scripture make the Bible more exciting?
  • When Christians are illiterate, is it helpful for the church to make authoritative decisions?
  • Is it legitimate for the church to use images to teach illiterate Christians?
  • Did classical polyvalence always ground the figurative meanings of Scripture in its literal meaning?
  • How does a polyvalent approach differ from a search for literal meaning?
  • Were there good aspects of the medieval Roman Catholic Church?
  • How does the modern Roman Catholic Church interpret the Bible?
  • Did the Reformers really get their methods of interpretation from the Renaissance?
  • How did the interpretive methods of the Reformers accord with Scripture?
  • How did first-century Christians interpret the Bible?
  • Was Matthew concerned with the original meaning of Hosea?
  • Did the Reformers believe that Scripture could have multiple meanings?
  • Why did the church move away from a polyvalent view of Scripture?
  • Is every passage of Scripture limited to one, unified meaning?
  • Did the Reformers base their theology entirely on their exegesis of Scripture?
  • How clear are the teachings of Scripture?
  • Should we use clear passages of Scripture to interpret unclear passages?
  • Is John 3:16 a clear passage?
  • Should we hold all our beliefs with equal conviction?