God is everything that is good and righteous, not some Master presiding over a set of strict rules. It is because of the Holy Spirit transformative work in the believer’s mind and heart that he lives differently. This results in motive and desire to live differently than before that effects how the believer views certain subjects (political) and view others and the world. God is unchanging, He is the same today and yesterday and Scripture becomes one’s guide, life book. Christian theology utilizes additional sources to Scripture, such as natural revelation, tradition, and experience (Bird, 2013). When looking at these loci, the theologian can reasonably make sense of the biblical message; many theologians believe “The ultimate and trustworthy proof for believers is the witness of their Holy Spirit and His ability to discern truth as taught by apostolic witnesses (Highfield, 2008).
According to Bird (2013), “theology is something that is learned, lived, sung, preached, and renewed through the dynamic interaction between God and his people” (Bird, 2013, p. 30). The “something” for the Evangelical theologian is the Gospel. The Gospel has been recorded in what is known as the Bible, a collection of God inspired writings known as Scripture (Bird, 2013). The persons responsible for these writings are Jesus’ apostles, as well as other disciples of whom have witnessed or were close to events in the days of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It was incumbent upon these first Evangelists to pass down to the world the news about Jesus, this began the Evangelical movement or theology, as well as the birth of the church. Through Scripture, these Evangelists present snapshots of God’s character including His mercy, grace, and His gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to those that believe in God’s Son Jesus Christ who is the Messiah, our Savior send down to earth to save mankind from death, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life in Him” (John 3:16, NIV). Jesus is the good news, the promised Messiah according to the Old Testament. As Highfield puts it, “Historical study provides important assistance, and the witness of the Holy Spirit is the ultimate ground of our faith” (Highfield, 2008, p. 24-25).
Through methodology, a systematic theology, methods also used by the fiends of science and philosophy, the church has developed criteria for measuring information (Bird, 2013). The Christian theologian believes in reasoning the data and information from various sources, “Reason is the instrument which the believer uses in examining the objects of faith by the scripture, as by the infallible norm of truth, but is not the rule itself of these objects of faith” (Highfield, 2008, p. 40). Followers of Jesus find Scripture trustworthy, “It is Scripture understood in the light of the regula fidei [rule of faith] that will enable us to bring together the Christian canon and the Christian community in a fruitful exchange” (Bird 2013, p.80). In addition to these written teachings that reveal God’s character, we also see who He is through general and specific revelation (Bird, 2013). Through our senses we can see what He has done in nature, the universe, the earth, and all living things, but more importantly, it through our experiences and witness of our Holy Spirit that we truly become a believer of Christ (Bird, 2013).
Although many in the academia world do not view scripture as trustworthy, “Christian theology can be an academically respectable discipline” (Highfield, 2008, p.68). The Canon presents various “genres: law code, narrative, prophecy, proverbs, gospels, epistles, and an apocalypse” in which God reveals Himself to the world (Bird, 2013, p. 79). Scripture is trustworthy to the believer, it is “the ultimate norm for theology; that it, it establishes what is authoritative for Christian belief and practice” (Bird, 2013, p.64). It is through the tradition Jesus’ disciples that bring the Word to believers and is it the discernment of our Holy Spirit that we comprehend the Gospel of Jesus; it is historian “Thomas Aquinas speaks not of one, but of three forms of human wisdom cultivated in the pursuit of God” (White, 2014, p.1031). As presented in scripture, Apostle Paul writes, about the difference of the wisdom of men versus the wisdom of God, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate [taken from Isaiah in the Old Testament]” (1 Corinthians 1: 18-19 NIV).
Theology is necessary because in learning about our Creator, we learn who we are and God’s purpose for our life, “theology is about engaging with the biblical script that Christians are to perform in their daily lives” (Bird, 2013, p.82). It is in Genesis 3 that sin entered and changed the world, “the path which moves from Creation to Covenant is described as a series of alienations and separations from God” (Och, 2001, p.340). Jesus came to save the world and deliver His message about the Kingdom of God that is both here now and will be complete in the future, at the end of the age (Mihindukulasuriya, 2014). The Christian faith hinges on the life of Jesus through His ministry on earth; the advent of the cross in which Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb on our behalf; and the resurrection in which Jesus conquered death. It is through faith in Jesus as taught in biblical Scripture, a collection of these trustworthy writings that help develop and grow the faith of the believer.
Bird, M. F., (2013). Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. Retrieved by: http://www.gcumedia.com/digital-resources/harpercollins/2013/evangelical-theology_a-biblical-and-systematic-introduction_ebook_1e.php
Highfield, R. (2008). Great is the Lord: Theology for the praise of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. Retrieved by: https://lc-ugrad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=http%3A%2F%2Fgcumedia.com%2Fdigital-resources%2Fwm-b-eerdmans-publishing-co%2F2008%2Fgreat-is-the-lord_theology-for-the-praise-of-god_ebook_1e.php
Mihindukulasuriya, P. (2014). How Jesus Inaugurated the Kingdom on the Cross: a Kingdom Perspective of the Atonement. Evangelical Review Of Theology, 38(3), 196-213. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rlh&AN=96993783&site=eds-live&scope=site
Och, B. (1988). The Garden of Eden: From Re-Creation to Reconciliation. Judaism, 37(3), 340. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4881372&site=eds-live&scope=siteJudaism, 37(3), 340.
White, T. J. (2014). St. Thomas Aquinas and the Wisdom of the Cross. Nova Et Vetera (English Edition), 12(4), 1029-1043. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=100914445&site=eds-live&scope=site