The Handmaiden of Theology?

Yesterday, I attended a theology seminar in which a presentation of analytic and natural theologies were front and center. It was a fairly dense discussion (in more ways than one), but later I came across a video that helped to give a bit better lay of the land. I offer this as a help to anyone who might be unclear of the on the ways in which theology and philosophy intersect.

One of the interviewees calls philosophy a “handmaiden” to theology. In principle, I would agree. However, the concern would be that the handmaiden might not be content to serve, and instead seeks to become the overlord. I suppose it is more or less unavoidable. One’s philosophical presuppositions (known or unknown) determine how we will do theology. No one does “pure” theology. I suppose it is better to understand what that philosophical framework is and be upfront about it.

3 Replies to “The Handmaiden of Theology?”

  1. Taido, again, I’m so glad I subscribed to square pegs. I’ve long wanted to attend seminary (for the knowledge – not to preach!), and as long as you keep posting about what you’re studying, I can do this vicariously. 🙂 I look forward to watching the video when I’m not trying to get ready for work.

    Thanks again for keeping us in the loop about what you’re studying, and offering your insights. I love it!

    1. If I were to nuance this a bit, I would say that no one does nor can do pure theology. By virtue of the limits placed on us by our finite nature, we are incapable of it. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a correct theology, just that it will always elude us. Our inability to be entirely correct in our theology doesn’t mean that it is a pointless endeavor. We wouldn’t say, well since I can’t be a perfect medical doctor who always makes the right decision, I think we should give up trying at all. The good news is that the church isn’t dependent on you or me getting everything ‘right.’ God is pure. God is sovereign. The church is sustained by His life-giving presence, not our rightness or wrongness.

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