Top 10 Best Christian Theologians: What makes their theology important?
Answering Hub Requests can lead to long afternoons, deep thought, and more questions...
How are we defining terms?
If a theologian is someone who is learned in theology or who speculates about theology and theology is the study of the nature of God and religious truth, well then, what is the nature of God and what is religious truth?
Religious truth may be easier to define than the Nature of God, though both are controversial concepts. Religious truth can mean:
1. Figuring out the underlying and intended meaning behind parables, stories, The Word, wisdom writings, etc. and shaping these discoveries into a coherent concept that points to a universal, unshakeable reality.
2. Acceptance of a dogma that informs a cohesive group's understanding of God, as in when a group of people come together to share in a group of religious beliefs that are considered absolutely correct.
3. An ethical statement of reality.
4. Whatever Jesus said.
5. Whatever Elvis said.
The Nature of God? Well, that, too, is not a perfect science. I suppose that is why theologians spend so much time and effort theologizing. Here are some ideas:
1. God is love.
2. God is Mother Nature.
3. God is the first mover.
4. God is everything.
5. God is energy... light... life...
6. God cannot be understood.
7. God is inside of you.
8. God is s/he who cannot and must not be defined.
The list goes on and on.
Who are the Top Ten?
- Arminian Chronicles: Top Ten Theologians of All Time
1. Athanasius – Defended the church from the most serious heresy it faced: Arianism. 2. Martin Luther – Champion of justification by faith and sola scriptura. 3. Augustine – Defended the church from the Manichean and Pelagian heresies, even
- Contest: The Top Living Theologians « Levellers
* Jürgen Moltmann (German Reformed ) If “best” WERE a theological category, Moltmann would have my vote for best living theologian, period. * Hans Küng (German Catholic). * Wolfhart Pannenberg (German Lutheran). * Desmond Tutu, Archbi
- Amazon.com: "Top 10 English Speaking Theologians"
Jensen, Milbank, Williams, Hart, Hauerwas, Volf, Marshall, Gustafson, O'Donovan, Grenz
- My Top Ten Theology Stories of 2008 | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction
Christianity Today continues as a leader in providing informative editorial on current events, news from a Christian perspective, Christian doctrine, issues and trends.
- Top 5 Christian Theologians: Who Did I Leave Out? « Kingdom People
Athanasius of Alexandria Augustine of Hippo Thomas Aquinas John Calvin Karl Barth
- Top 10 Most Influential Theologians… « my four walls
10. Norm Beck 9. Walter Wink 8. Brennan Manning 7. Rob Bell 6. C.S. Lewis 5. Walter Brueggeman 4. Brian McLaren 3. Tom Sine 2. Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch 1. Mike Yaconelli
- Top Ten Systematic Theologians
# Karl Barth, Reformed # Emil Brunner, Reformed # Hans Küng, Roman Catholic # John MacQuarrie, Anglican (originally Reformed, Church of Scotland) # Jürgen Moltmann, Reformed # Thomas Oden Wesleyan # Wolfhart Pannenberg, Lutheran # Karl Rahner, Roman
Who are the top ten theologians?
Okay, I admit I probably shouldn't have accepted the challenge of answering the request, Top Ten Christian Theology Writers, what makes them important? Because who is defining the top ten Christian Theology Writers?
Well, okay, we have the word Christian included in the text so I suppose this excludes non-Christian writers who have pondered the question of religious truth and the Nature of God. Contemporary guys like Ken Wilber and ancient books like the Bhagavad Gita are immediately stricken from a Christian list. But that doesn't begin to narrow the field.
Are we talking contemporary top ten, or top ten of all time?
Are we focusing on American Top Ten or English-speaking Top Ten or the Top Ten in the International Scene?
Are we eliminating anyone but the Catholic Top Ten- considering this religion contains the only theologians with numbers beginning with Number One, Peter of the Rock?
Or are we concerned with the nondenominational Christian Top Ten, which eliminates Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry the 8th?
What about the Unity Theologians? Charles Filmore built his faith on the Bible, the Christian book which contains The Word of God. But Unity scholars don't study it in quite the same way as the religious right studies it.
So, which path are we talking?
Are we going with fiction writers, like Dan Brown who write DaVinci Code and William P. Young who wrote The Shack?
Or are we sticking with guys like Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and John Wycliffe who were among the leading Oxford theologians of the later Middle Ages?
It's tough to begin to answer such a question until we rule out everyone falling outside a narrow frame of reference.
Which leads to my third and final question.
Theologian Rock Group
Why does it matter?
The world's worst wars were fought over ideology. But killing each other in the name of religion has never been out of fashion. John Kelsay
Let's see, in recent years, the earth has suffered Crusades, French Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War, Jihads, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Saxon War, the Irish war between Catholics and Protestants- all in the name of religion. Certainly, the Christian religion came out of the Jewish faith and the Old Testament overflows with battles fought under the protective care of the Great I AM.
So I ask you, what benefit do defining and redefining religious creeds bestow on mankind, other than further separating man from man? What positive changes for humanity have been directly attributed to the writings of a Christian Theologian?
If you can name one such benefactor to all of humanity, I guarantee his/her pragmatic theological statements would begin my list of significant theological writers.
© 2009 Barbara
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