October 30, 2014
The renewal of my love for Theology has come full circle again. Studying Christian Theology this week has renewed my interest and pointed me to a point of theology that I believe is timeless in its nature, the quadrilateral. Before I get into that I want to also talk about a couple of thing before that. Standing out to me is a similar situation that we have today. The theology of the east and the theology of the west is almost the same today.
In Christian Theology scholars pointed out a significant difference in how the east and the west thought in early Christianity. “Many scholars discerned a marked difference in theological temperament between theologians of the east and west: the former are often philosophically inclined and given to theological speculation, where as the latter are often hostile to the intrusion of philosophy into theology, and regard theology as the exploration of the doctrines set out in scripture.” I believe as the west did then that theology should be the exploration of what is already in scripture and the experience with it. I will get into that in a minute. But it is important to me to not get so far into speculations that you get away from what is right in front of you. I have been in classes in graduate school and some professor told us that they did not believe certain stories in the bible to be taken literally. They actually relegated it to hyperbole to make a point. For instance the story of Jonah and the big fish has been written off as just hyperbole. But even Jesus referenced it in scripture as being a foreshadowing of his death and resurrection. So I believe scripture should not be left up to speculation we should approach scripture with blind faith.
Which led me to the quadrilateral of Christian Theology. “Broadly speaking, four main sources have been acknowledged within Christian tradition:
- Religious Experience.”
I was a student of this teaching at Azusa Pacific and read a book The Wesleyan Quadrilateral. I believe Christian Theology and thinking should be really focused and interpreted from these 4 areas because they are the foundation of our faith.
Scripture is paramount to them all because this is where are doctrine comes from. It is the place that our doctrines our dictated from for our theology to exist. Tradition is what the book Christian Theology is about to me. It gives us how we got where we are now. This must be distinguished from denominational structures though. My denomination will advocate our distinct tradition as the tradition that the Bible is speaking of not church history as a whole. So we have to be careful not to confuse what the quadrilateral is speaking of. Tradition here is speaking of church tradition as a whole. Then reason is important. Growing up it seemed like we were forbidden to do deal with the last two of this quadrilateral for some reason. But our thinking about theology and our questioning it is important to the formulation of our theology. As long as our theology is in line with scripture and Christian tradition we should be able to reason with our God given faculties to understand God. Then finally experience. There is a saying “experience is the best teacher.” This is true but I don’t think you have to experience everything in life to understand it. But experiencing God to me is so important because how another theologian or Christian experiences God can be totally different than how you did. Our Christian theology is shaped and formed by our experience with God, scripture, traditions, and reason. I don’t think that you can really understand Christian theology without this quadrilateral. No matter how much theology we read or study, nothing can substitute an experience with God one on one.
 McGrath, Alister E.. Christian Theology : An Introduction [eBook]. Wiley, 2010, accessed 30 October 2014;
 Ibid, 128.