I have been a student of Christian theology my entire adult life. I have tested the waters or swum in many diverse Christian traditions from Orthodoxy, Presbyterianism/Congregationalism, Lutheranism, and Methodism/Wesleyanism. I have well-worn, dog-eared, note-filled theology books from all those great traditions on my bookshelves. Here's the thing none of the most staunch devotees will typically admit:
In an effort to create 'systems' that are logical and comprehensible to man, all of these systems have nearly insurmountable problems.
So, do we throw our hands up and walk away, cynical of any systematic approaches to Christianity? Do we take upon ourselves the impossible position of "no creed but the bible" or something similar? No and no.
Here is what we must do...
Above all, we must recognize the difficulty in studying our infinite and wonderful God and approach our studies and those of others with the utmost humility. We must be aware the difficulties in our own theological paradigms and be charitable in our discussions with those who hold differing views. We must realize (to paraphrase Roger Olsen) that we ultimate decide on a theological system (consciously or not) because we can more easily live with its problems than we can with those of another system. Finally, we must be aware the r considerable common ground with share with other orthodox Christians and admit that that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.
photo credt: Creative Commons | Mark Grapengater