Teach a Church to Think

Teach a Church to Think July 9, 2016

If you haven’t been following the Religion Bulletin series “So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders,” you should. Here is a quote from the recent post in the series by Justin Henry:

[P]erhaps my approach does resemble that of one eminent theologian, Paul the Apostle. Nicholas Wright argues that Paul’s theology was not inherently dogmatic, but was rather a framework for Christian communities to think together and come to their own conclusions regarding the essence of scripture: “Give a church a rule and you guide them for a day; teach a church to think and you guide them for life.”

Give a student a bunch of names and dates, and they’ll forget it by the end of the semester; teach a student to think about religion in relation to their own life, and they’ll keep thinking about it for years to come.

Click through to read the rest, and check out other posts in the series too!

Teach a church to think

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  • John MacDonald

    “Nicholas Wright argues that Paul’s theology was not inherently dogmatic, but was rather a framework for Christian communities to think together and come to their own conclusions regarding the essence of scripture.”

    That’s what Jesus did (try to come to his own conclusions regarding the essence of scripture). In Mark we read:

    28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

  • Darach Conneely

    Give a church a rule and you’ll bind their minds for generations.

  • jekylldoc

    Well, I think you lifted the best part for your blog post, but it was interesting. Despite my reservations about a Ph.D. candidate for religious studies who uses “tenants” for “tenets” I think he has a valid point about Paul and about theology.

    The next question, for those of us outside academia, is how you arrive at a usable framework for the group when theology is meant to accomplish something in the way of tying people together, given that the subject matter has little in the way of expert validation to specify an authoritative version. I certainly don’t like the old way, where 200 versions are put forward and each claims the others are all wrong, and I am well and truly fed up with proof-texting as authority, so what do we know about finding common ground in spiritual community?

    • Sorry for taking so long to reply. I think the key is to make the common ground one’s quest for truth and seeking after God, rather than one’s adherence to dogma.