Doing doctrine (Thiselton via McKnight)

thiselton-hermeneutics-of-doctrine-2007.jpgScot McKnight has a short review of Thiselton’s Hermeneutics of Doctrine. (Click here for McKnight’s full review).

Here are some gems from that.

properly understood, doctrine involves the disposition of belief, which always includes formation and leads on to transformation . . . any piece of theology that does not lead to worship, absorption of God’s work on the cross of Christ, and sanctity in life in community, is not genuine theology.

What does it mean to “believe” a doctrine as true? Belief. . . is “inextricably embodied in patterns of habit, commitment, and action, which constitute endorsement, ‘backing,’ or ‘surroundings’ for the utterance.” To “believe” is to take a stand in the face of opposition. . . act as if it were true.” To believe is “performatory” in character. . . belief in a doctrine involves “communal commitment and communal formation.”

Here’s how I [McKnight] would put it: our beliefs emerge from our community, they reflect our time and our day, and they lead us to live differently.

. . . Formation and the ensuing transformation, then, are not elements of “practical” theology to be explored once we’ve learned the “systematic” (read: impractical) theology.

. . . Theology itself is praxis. . . to confess is to open oneself to be wounded. . .

. . . Genuine community, as Thiselton relentlessly proves in each chapter, involves commitment to listening to the whole Bible and to the voices of the Church throughout church history. Community-shaped theology is not just “my” community, but the community God formed with Abraham and that continues throughout the world to this day.

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