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This book is written by one of my favorite systematic theologians. Like his intro work on Christian theology, it is well-written, tightly argued and highly objective and practical.
In this work, Thomas uses a series of 19 questions to illustrate or demonstrate how one goes about analyzing or constructing a theological argument. Some of the questions he poses are "Should experience be the main criterion of theology?" and "Is it necessary to believe in the doctrine of the trinity in order to be a Christian?" Thomas also asks, "When Jesus prayed, who was praying to whom?" Another chapter that I also found interesting and helpful was, "What is the relation of sin and neurosis?" In this chapter, the author contends that sin and the Freudian concept of neurosis are complementary relations.
The purpose of this publication is not to solve theological conundrums. Rather the author seeks to show how one goes about formulating and answering theological questions, especially when writing academic papers. In addition to the foregoing material, Thomas also discusses the locus and method of theology by introducing and reviewing Stephen Toulmin's schema for making informal arguments. In particular, he illustrates how Toulmin's schema, a model based on jurisprudential argumentation, can be utilized with good results in theology. This information is much needed, especially since a number of Christian theologians often construct or present arguments that are neither sound, valid nor logically warranted.
Finally, Thomas' chapter on the Trinity is quite thought-provoking. Must a Christian believe in the ontological dogma of the Trinity in order to be saved? Read the book to discover Thomas' answer to this question.
The Locus and Method of Theology
Which comes first faith or revelation?
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