Constructive theology


Constructive theology

Constructive theology is the re-definition of what has historically been known as systematic theology. The reason for this reevaluation stems from the idea that, in systematic theology, the theologian attempts to develop a coherent theory running through the various doctrines within the tradition (Christology, eschatology, pneumatology, etc.). A potential problem underlying such study is that in constructing a system of theology, certain elements may be left out, or "forced" in order to maintain the coherence of the overall system.

In response to this realization, some theologians (Sallie McFague, Catherine Keller, Young-Ho Chun and Sharon V. Betcher) feel that the term "systematic" is no longer accurate in reference to theology, and prefer the language of constructive theology. While not a proponent of the language of 'constructive theology,' Karl Barth frequently criticized the practice of systematizing theology or structuring a coherent system upon a philosophical foundation external to theology's own internal commitments.

Constructive Theology is also the title of a journal on the subject.

Further reading

  • Constructive Theology: a Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes, eds. Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland
  • Constructive Christian Theology in the Worldwide Church, William R. Barr
  • Christian Feminist Theology: A Constructive Interpretation, Denise L. Carmody
  • Constructive Natural Theology, Newman Smyth
  • An Essay on Theological Method, Gordon D. Kaufman
  • In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology, Gordon D. Kaufman
  • Jesus and Creativity, Gordon D. Kaufman

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