Watch out for flying flack

I might catch a little flack for my wording and premises in something I wrote for Intellectuelle, on Evangelical “Personal Relationship Theology”. And rightly so, even though I would defend the way I said things.

The difficult thing I said ( in my own estimation) is this:

Theology at its most basic is the application of what we know of God to what we experience of Him. For Christians this comes from outside of us, in the written scriptures, which we believe have come directly from God, Himself. Without experience, the ideas of theology are mere intellectual exercise in abstractions. Amusing stretches of the imagination. Somewhere theology and experience touch in order to be what we may indeed call “truth”. Personal experience has no qualifying unifying universality to claim truth except in its smallest denominator; it cannot judge the veracity of theological doctrine in the larger spectrum of reality. Without it, however, we are unaware of the integrity of the ideas presented to us. For an idea to be accepted as truth it must be tested; does it work in the “what is” ?

“Theology at its most basic is the application of what we know of God to what we experience of Him.” is pretty broad and some theology is concerned with contextual discussion, quite apart from whether it relates to man’s experience of it as truth or not. But I let the paragraph stand since I think at its basis, theology has no meaning for man if not as an extension of what he hopes to experience of God. You study God, and God’s “things”, because you want to personally know things about Him. But to put it out there without arguing for support of it was risky. Some might say foolhardy.

I had to face the fact that my statement was very colored by my own opinion that theology that does not line up with the great “what is” is a waste of time, and not worth consideration. It jumps an awful lot of ground to say that. OTOH, what use have theological abstracts that have no connection with mankind? Can you think of any? There is an argument on the foolishness of evangelical atheism in here somewhere, I think. If there really were no god/God why waste lots of time arguing about it?

Anyway, even though I believe the case is very strong for “personal relationship” being part and parcel of the gospel… I have a new question on what is the basic essence of theology?