My friend, Tyler Wittman, pointed me in the direction of this concise article by John Webster, “What Makes Theology Theological?”. The Journal of Analytic Theology is always fantastic. This article is no exception. You can find it online here. It basically summarizes the fifth chapter of my dissertation in a much more coherent and useful manner. (By the way, you can find much of this chapter in my article for biblicalphilosophy.org.) I read Webster’s new article and thought, “Gosh, I feel great about myself right now.” Now, I have to share it.
His abstract summarizes it pretty comprehensively:
An understanding of the nature of theology comprises an account of its object, its cognitive principles, its ends and its practitioners. The object of theology is two-fold: principally God the Holy Trinity, and derivatively all things in relation to God. God is considered first absolutely, then relatively; all other things are treated relative to God, under the aspect of creatureliness. The objective cognitive principle of theology is God’s infinite knowledge, of which God communicates a fitting share to creatures; the subjective cognitive principle of theology is the regenerate human intellect. The ends of theology are scientific (acquiring the knowledge of the matter which is proper to creatures), contemplative (rapt attention to God the cause of all things) and practical (regulation of the enactment of human life). The practitioners of theology are regenerate persons in the church whose creaturely intellect is instructed by God and all of whose works are accompanied by the practices of religion.