Foundations of Our Theology
of Systematic Theology
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Perhaps whether we like it or not and whether we know it or
not, ideas and beliefs are arranged in an order of dependence
so that certain beliefs form the conceptual basis from which
and upon which all of our other beliefs depend. Understanding
and decisions on more fundamental or major questions affect
positions on subsequent major and minor issues. In other words,
for each one of us there are certain values, beliefs, or decisions
that take priority over all others and by which all others
are subsequently determined. However, it is perhaps also true
that an individual may not be aware of or have identified
what his or her "belief priorities" are, let alone why they
have adopted them, where they come from historically, and
what has influenced them. This chart as well as the "Taxonomy
of Worldview Questions" are designed to show
the relative hierarchy and flow between individual concepts
within theological thought and history.
The overall concept behind the chart below is to show the
connection and influence between an idea and the other ideas
or historic trends that are related to it. In this way, the
interwoven connections in Systematic Theology (or Systematic
Philosophy) are displayed. Although complex, given the sheer
volume of theological and historical concepts inherently involved
in any systematic understanding, the goal is to illustrate
the importance of knowing where ideas come from and what individual
ideas depend on and to help better illustrate why certain
concepts and approaches are correct.
As the symbol key in the upper left-hand corner of the graphic
below indicates: A.) lines represent "conceptual connection
or dependence," B.) dark purple text represents "major
points and questions of basic thought," C.) light
purple text represents "major points or questions of basic
spiritual thought," D.) blue text represents "key
non-Christian concepts," E.) circles represent
"major correct points in Judeo-Christian thought,"
and F.) red, orange, and green text represent "correct
points of Judeo-Christian thought" in a relative
descending order from more to less fundamental.
(NOTE: The word "fundament" in the previous sentence
is not meant to convey "essential" as if some concepts are
more essential and others less essential. It is simply meant
to denote that some concepts are more "foundational" and "basic"
than others. Although one concept might be more basic than
another, and therefore more "fundament" or "foundational"
to theology, that does not mean that it is less essential
to the Christian faith.)