Being a work on theology says something at once about extent, focus, and limitations. The word “theology,” from theos meaning God and logos meaning rational expression, means the rational interpretation of religious faith. Christian theology thus means the rational interpretation of the Christian faith.
At least three elements are included in that general concept of theology. (1) Theology is intelligible. It can be comprehended by the human mind in an orderly, rational manner. (2) Theology requires explanation. This, in turn, involves exegesis and systematization. (3) The Christian faith finds its source in the Bible, so Christian theology will be a Bible-based study. Theology, then, is the discovery, systematizing, and presentation of the truths about God. (Charles Ryrie, “Basic Theology,” 13)
What do you think about this definition of theology? Yeah, or Nay? What stands out about Ryries’ approach, and emphasis in defining “THEOlogy?”
I think about Prolegomena quite frequently (as I’m sure you do 😉 ), all “Prolegomena” means is a “prefatory word” on the methodology of how any given particular theologian “theologizes” (i.e. having to do with his/her methodology). This is probably one of the most important issues to deal with, if in fact you plan on writing a “theology” (it says a lot about what you — as a theologian — deem as most important “theologically” — as your “source” for knowledge of God). [Oh yeah, sorry about this little excursion on “Prolegomena,” this is where I found Ryrie’s definition of theology]
P. S. I have an autographed copy of Charles Ryries’ “Basic Theology” (he visited my school one year) . . . anybody want to buy it, I’m sure someday it will be a collectors item 😉 .