If we simply say that in knowing Jesus we don’t need God-talk – that is theology – then we effectively say we’re not talking about Jesus, who is God. Indeed, to say Jesus is God requires us to know what that means and is, itself, theo-logy. Just because some of the odder ideas of modern Christianity come from theology, should not blind us to the good things which have come, and continue to come, from it. For every John Shelby Spong, there is an NT Wright, and those who have a go at Rowan Williams ought to read some if his theology.
In answer to a good question from Jess, Struans wrote:
Theology isn’t something just coming from others and which we are mere consumers. We are all theologians ourselves. If we don’t have our own theology (which could well be completely co-terminus with the theologies of the magisterium of Rome, believing all of the documents when the come out without debate) then it’s difficult to know whether we are Christians or not. Christianity is something that is embodied, not observed.
That is one of the problems with responding to the series in an intelligent (or mildly so) manner.
I am not sure what is meant by us all having ‘our own theology’ in the context of the historic creeds and the history of Christianity. Bosco, I think, does have his ‘own’ theology, and one of the problems with communicating with him is that is so personal that it maps onto the common history of the Faith. We are not, to be sure. mere ‘consumers’ but neither, if we confess Christianity, are we originators.
Christianity may be embodied in us – or so we might claim – but as it has a meaning, if our claim embodies nothing of the commonly accepted meaning, then, in what sense that is real can that personal claim be sustained?
Now one could advance the claim that in my personal context – by which I include societal context – my revelation is that Jesus is a great moral teacher and a heck of a good guy, and that makes me a Christian. I am not sure, and would like to hear from Struans before he goes, how he’s respond to such claims. It seems to me that he’s have to accept it. The traditional response would be not to. Why?
Why, would involve not a disquisition on my personal experience, but on historic experience. That is where, although not an RC, I can make no real sense of Strauns’ claim that ‘There are (presumably) as many theologies by communicate RCs are there are people’; to me the word he needed there was ‘opinions’. If by theologies we mean opinions about God, then Strauns is clearly correct. But as he senses, there is a problem here:
yet in a sense there is also a theology of the church as it speaks, and the pope speaks for his church. This is a difference with synodical churches, which by and large, don’t have people who can ‘speak for’ their churches. So in that sense there is a theology of the RCC which is articulated by the pope. However, it’s not ‘the theology’ of the RCC, it is one of many as the RCC has theologies of all of its communicants (including individual cardinals and popes), and also have an officially voiced theology too.
Struans here seems to me simply wrong. There is a theology of the RCC and it is articulated by the Magisterium. You can claim to be an RCC, but if you don’t agree with its dogmas, then whatever you claim, you aren’t. Just because, as a Christian, there are things I believe in common with the RCC does not make me an RC, neither does it make my opinion an RC theology.
This is where the problem for me lies – Struans is talking about opinions and calling them theologies. Or am I missing something?