I’m reinventing the website. Sort of. Perhaps I should call it the next stage of transformation? Either way, it is what it is and my dear readers are going to have to overlook any ambiguities because I’m too tired to think of an introduction that is more witty. But, in case you haven’t noticed what reinvention I’m referring to, what was once called The Official Fan Site and just previously Theories of Life has now been transformed into the site title of Christian Theory.
Why the big deal over such a tagline? I suppose it’s because I believe in labels. To put it more correctly, I believe in accurate labels and the previous title was just too broad. I wanted to narrow it down a bit. The nature of content on the website has changed dramatically and I see it continuing to do so. I’m producing more and more material of a doctrinal nature for which I make a lot of doctirinal assertions. These assertions dive into the realm of theory and the science of biblical interpretation. This content change begs a new tagline to more accurately portray the website. If you want to see how much the website has changed over time, you can start at the beginning but I don’t recommend it!
Now, let me talk a bit about christian theory and what exactly that expression means. I had to be careful in my choice of words for the tagline because, by christian theory, I do not mean myth. I do not mean legend, I do not mean fable and I do not mean folklore. There should be no confusion on that fact. By christian theory, I mean a supposition or a system of ideas that is intended to explain things that are interpreted and based on Scripture. In offering “theory”, I attempt to answer the why behind a lot of things. An example of such “why” can be found in my article ‘The Bible Saga‘. Some in the public sector may be apt to refer to all of this as hermeneutics (which it is) but the ‘H’ word is so often coupled with an ecclesiastical snobbery that I’m inclined to avoid it alltogether (let’s not even mention the fact that hermeneutics would have no aesthetic appeal on a website title).
Like all theory, christian theory must be made on the basis of fact. For Christians, the foundation of fact is Scripture. While I am sure to engage some atheistic or agnostic readers who would vehemently dispute the validity of the Bible, they are not the target audience. Just as church is for Christians, so is christian theory. If the naysayers want to hang around and frustrate themselves on the thorns of their own conscious, then they’re welcomed to but I’m not going to make a pretense of casting my pearls before swine (a statement non-believers may feel insulted by even though they have no idea what it really means). To emphasize it again, I won’t spend time disputing the validity of Scripture in what theories I write about. I do expect to produce some material that debunks a lot of the hogwash associated with that psudeo science called ‘textual criticism’. A good debunking is needed every now then and I’ll do it so long as it doesn’t drift too far from the realm of biblical interpretation.
Given a solid foundation, christian theory will manifest itself into traditional doctrine and this makes it very, very important. Think about it. People who possessed no understanding of baptism were shown the examples of John the Baptist, Christ and the Acts example of Philip with the Ethiopian. The theory of baptism precipitated a doctrinal belief in it which in turn allowed others to teach and practice the symbol with confidence. While I have no intention, expectation, or desires to introduce new doctrines into the Church, I do think there are many things “hard to be understood” that can be better expounded upon. These things beg for more a clear and concise level of interpretation.
Whatever you do, do not confuse doctrine with theory. This may appear to be self-evident but it can be confusing. Doctrine is the set of beliefs you maintain (hopefully based on Scriptural fact). Theory helps define doctrine and/or expound upon it. What you accept as biblical doctrine may be considered theory by someone else. It is imperative you recognize and acknowledge those differences if you’re ever going to have a fruitful conversation with someone about religious matters.
My theories aren’t always correct and I’m open to rational opposition. We should invite such opposition. You should invite it. This helps to weed out the assertions from the presumptions thereby giving us a better, stronger foundation upon which to build our religious habits. Christian theory can not be blindly dogmatic. If it becomes blindly dogmatic then it ceases to be theory because it has traded interpreted facts for gullible emotions. While some discussions are emotional by their nature, the decision making process shouldn’t be based on such emotion.
Finally, the science and study of Scripture will never go away. It should never go away (Acts 17:11). The minute it ceases to be an active part of your life, you’re on a decline. To put it more bluntly, if you’re not getting smarter, you’ll eventually get dumber. Iron sharpens iron and a rusty sword is not very effective. People are fond of saying, “Practice what you preach” and the proverb is true. You should always be engaged in christian theory to stay theologically sharp so you know why you are practicing what you practice. This is what it’s for so use it accordingly!