A practical, healing theology

A recent article in Christian Century magazine offers a wide-ranging commentary and overview of a significant new work on Christian theology. According to the article, this new book, A Fundamental Practical Theology by Don S. Browning, has as its "central purpose ... to show that all authentic Christian theology is governed by practical interests."

Furthermore, as the Christian Century article argues, "Theology begins and ends in the collective practice of living communities of faith—communities which seek clarity about their mission in the context of the contemporary world." The article also makes the point that it is the basic "practical concerns" of people that finally move them in the direction of responding to compelling theological issues through "proposals that foster more faithful and effective Christian living."

Every serious effort to demonstrate the practicality of Christian theology today is essential, for if the ministry of Jesus and his disciples is to have any lasting and contemporary meaning for people, it must have a direct impact, a clearly discernible effect, on their day-to-day lives. Theoretical theology or a theology that is primarily concerned with a distant, even ethereal, existence—a future kingdom—will remain only marginally useful to actual human experience. A people's moral, ethical, and physical needs require satisfactory responses here and now. Of course, that is exactly what the Master, Christ Jesus, provided through the original Christian theology he both preached and practiced in Judea some two thousand years ago.

Is man a false believer?
February 22, 1993

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