Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rethinking Systematic Categories

I have been pondering the idea recently as to whether we need to redefine our typical systematic theology categories. I have particularly been thinking in the area of ecclesiology.

When we talk about the doctrine of ecclesiology, what do we mean by the term ecclesiology? Are we speaking only of the assembly or gathering of God's people? This is what the term ecclesiology would imply since the greek word ekklesia carries the meaning of gathering or assembly. So, are we only seeking to define what happens within the context of the assembly of believers? Or are we seeking to define something larger than the assembly?

Perhaps we need to change the labels that we use. Maybe instead of the Doctrine of Ecclesiology we should use the title the Doctrine of the People of God.

I am still working through this, but there appears to be some basic presuppositions that come to mind when we use the word church. Some people would immediately think of a physical building or of a Sunday morning "worship" service. The Scripture, though, does not define the church in this way.

There is so much work to be done in redefining our terms to match the biblical pattern. How would you seek to define the way the Scripture portrays God's people?

1 comment:

Alan Knox said...

Good question! The church certainly does not cease to exist when it is not assembled. "People of God" may be a good category... but of course, it doesn't sound as academic as "ecclesiology." Perhaps you could come up with a good -ology word that would make scholars happy.