About

About

        The organization and content of this website reflects what I intend to write about in book form in the future. Thomas Aquinas said something to the effect of it being necessary that one’s thoughts be shared with others. So that is what I aim to do here; these are incomplete thoughts that I hope the Lord may use to be of benefit to both of us. I have thought about organization earnestly, sometimes painstakingly, but it is not all that complicated in reality. The divisions that I envision for this website all pertain to different approaches and emphases in theology. We have Biblical, Historical, Devotional, Ascetical, Practical, Systematic, and Dogmatic. Brief descriptions of each follow below.
        Biblical theology is interested in God’s historical and organic revelation of Himself in the Bible as it was being built. This is approached in two primary ways. First, we can begin with a book or corpus within the Bible and unfold what it says about a certain topic. Second, we can begin with a certain topic and unfold how the Bible discusses it as time passes.
        Historical theology is interested in how people outside of the Bible have understood it. All kinds of people from all kinds of ages have commented on the contents of the Bible. Discovering what they have said can often inform our thinking and feeling toward a text.
        Devotional theology is interested in the Christian’s experience and feeling of God. It is akin to what has historically been called mystical theology. Its primary interest is the actual experienced feeling of unity with God, rather than the mere theorizing of how it is achieved. This website will always consider devotional theology through the Lord’s Prayer.
        Ascetical theology is interested in the progress toward Christian perfection. In many ways it is closely connected to devotional theology, but rather than putting focus on unity with God, it is focused on the path towards such unity. This website will always consider ascetical theology through the Beatitudes.
        Practical theology is interested in outlining how a Christian must act on the earth. It is akin to moral theology. It is vital to inform right ethical conduct of an individuals, communities, and organizations. This website will always consider practical theology through the Decalogue.
        Systematic theology is interested in organizing and making coherent what the Bible as a whole says about specific topics. This website will always consider systematic theology primarily through the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds and secondarily through confessions and catechisms of various Christian traditions.
        Dogmatic theology is interested in organizing and making coherent the Bible’s topics in a way that is consistent with a given Christian tradition. This website will also consider dogmatic theology primarily through the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds and secondarily through Reformed confessions and catechisms.
        What was the painstaking component was thinking about how these four texts – the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Decalogue, and the Creeds – that I greatly desired to structure my thoughts around would correspond to these different angles of theology. All but the Beatitudes were easy because I had good precedents to build from. In St. Augustine’s Enchiridion, he divides his content, lopsidedly, between exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Decalogue. Additionally, he allows these to correspond with faith, hope, and love (or charity), respectively. This kind of schema is followed in the documents I am more familiar with, those of the Reformed tradition. It was easy to allow these to correspond to systematic, devotional, and practical theology. Then I encountered my problem.
A couple Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox catechisms included content interacting with the Beatitudes, and so I felt compelled to also include it. But where would I let it fit in? The Beatitudes seem to fit in most easily with the Lord’s Prayer. So I thought about how I might structure my devotional theology to handle both of these texts, but nothing I conceived satisfied me. Thankfully, as I began reading more about mystical theology, I stumbled upon ascetical theology. This is language is much more historically consistent with Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican thinking. I was pleased to learn that the goal of ascetical theology was Christian perfection. This is exactly in line with what many – such as A.W. Pink, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and Colin Smith – have said is the structure of the Beatitudes. Though it does not work as nicely with the triads of faith, hope and love; head, heart, and hand; or doctrine, spirit, and discipline, I am pleased to have found a satisfying place from which to expand my journey in discovering the rich truths of the Beatitudes and ascetical theology.