Methods, Norms, and Sources: Doing Theology as Normal People (aka Theological Hermeneutics for Dummies)

In theology, methods, norms, and sources refer to the building blocks, process, and standards for theological work. Sources are the places from which we derive theological content. It is important, when crafting a theological argument, to consider theological source material. For example, there may be sources about MAiD that give medical or sociological information about […]

On Men, Women, and Ruling Elders

In a 2005 presentation to the study conference on women and ministry leadership (the one that led to the 2006 resolution on women in ministry leadership), a leading MB pastor makes the clear point that the only thing that is not appropriate for women is teaching “in the position of authority, or for our purposes, […]

Believers’ Church? What does that mean?

I teach a seminary course called Believers’ Church Theology. Someone recently asked me what my 30-second elevator speech was to describe what I mean by ‘believers’ church.’ Here’s what I said: Believers’ Church ecclesiology (i.e., what Christians believe about church) is based on the idea that the church community is comprised completely and solely of […]

What is Truth? Epistemology and You

Here’s a little taste of what I tell students in my theology classes when I talk about epistemology and theological method. I first talk about a hierarchy of knowledge. On the lowest level is data — unsorted, chaotic information that humans sort intuitively and that we also learn to discern and understand. The second level […]

Contemplating the Sword

Early Anabaptist theologies of church and state differentiated between the types of power operative in the two realms, and made clear that external forms of coercion such as were common in the temporal realm have no place in the spiritual. The qualitative distinction between the two kingdoms prevents a direct transference of methods. Are these, […]

CCCP — A Simple Theological Hermeneutic

Last week I talked about using formal and material norms to help guide biblical interpretation. Of course, there are other factors that make this more complicated. Some people see a particular norm as a formal norm, while others see it as a material one. Where that happens, all manner of mayhem can ensue. Some examples […]