Outline of Christian theology

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christian theology:

Christian theology – enterprise to construct a coherent system of Christian belief and practice based primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament as well as the historic traditions of the faithful. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis, and argument to clarify, examine, understand, explicate, critique, defend or promote Christianity. Theology might be undertaken to help the theologian better understand Christian tenets,[1] make comparisons between Christianity and other traditions,[2] defend Christianity against objections and criticism, facilitate reforms in the Christian church,[3] assist in the propagation of Christianity,[4] draw on the resources of the Christian tradition to address some present situation or need,[5] or for a variety of other reasons.

What type of thing is Christian theology?[edit]

Christian theology can be described as all of the following:

Divisions of Christian theology[edit]

There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.


Christian theologians may be specialists in one or more theological sub-disciplines. These are the kinds of phrases that one finds in certain job titles such as 'Professor of x', 'Senior Lecturer in y':

Major topics[edit]

These topics crop up repeatedly and often in Christian theology; composing the main recurrent 'loci' around which Christian theological discussion revolves.

A traditional pattern[edit]

In many Christian seminaries, the four Great Departments of Theology are:

  1. Exegetical theology
  2. Historical theology
  3. Systematic theology
  4. Practical theology

The four departments can usefully be subdivided in the following way:
1. Exegetical theology:

  • Biblical studies (analysis of the contents of Scripture)
  • Biblical introduction (biblical criticism that studies the origins of the Bible[7])
  • Canonics (inquiry into how the different books of the Bible came to be collected together)
  • Biblical theology (inquiry into how divine revelation progressed over the course of the Bible).

2. Historical theology (study of how Christian theology develops over time):

3. Systematic theology:

4. Practical theology:

Roman Catholic theology[edit]

One important branch of Christian theology is Roman Catholic theology which has these major teachings:

Controversial movements[edit]

Christians have had theological disagreements since the time of Jesus. Theological disputes have given rise to many schisms and different Christian denominations, sects and movements.



Because the Reformation promoted the idea that Christians could expound their own views of theology based on the notion of "sola scriptura," the Bible alone, many theological distinctions have occurred between the various Protestant denominations. The differences between many of the denominations are relatively minor; however, and this has helped ecumenical efforts in recent times.

Contemporary theological movements[edit]

In addition to the movements listed above, the following are some of the movements found amongst Christian theologians:

Christian theology organizations[edit]

Christian theology publications[edit]

Persons influential in Christian theology[edit]


  1. ^ See, e.g., Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004)
  2. ^ See, e.g., David Burrell, Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994)
  3. ^ See, e.g., John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die (New York: Harper Collins, 2001)
  4. ^ See, e.g., Duncan Dormor et al. (eds), Anglicanism, the Answer to Modernity (London: Continuum, 2003)
  5. ^ For example, see Timothy Gorringe, Crime, Changing Society and the Churches Series (London:SPCK, 2004)
  6. ^ a b c "Session 1- What is theology? - Google Docs". Docs.google.com. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  7. ^ http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/torrey_ra/fundamentals/01.cfm

See also[edit]


  • Andcone, J.H., eds. Black Theology; A Documentary History, 1966–1979. Orbis Books, 1979
  • Appiah-Kubi, K and Torres, S., eds. African Theology en Route, Orbis Books, 1979
  • Bonino, J.M. Doing theology in a Revolutionary situation, Philadelphia:Fortress Press, 1975.
  • Christian Theology Reader by Alister McGrath. ISBN 0-631-20637-X
  • Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister McGrath. ISBN 0-631-22528-5
  • Elwood, D.J., ed. Asian Christian Theology; Emerging Themes. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1979
  • Fuller, Reginald H. The Foundations of New Testament Christology (1965). ISBN 0-684-15532-X
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity (1984, 1985, 1999). ISBN 1-56563-522-1)
  • Hill, Jonathan 2003) The History of Christian Thought. ISBN 0-7459-5093-0 and 0830827765
  • Hoare, Ryan, 2009,'What is Theology' A lecture Given at suburbschurch Bristol.
  • Koyama, Kosuke, Waterbuffalo Theology. Orbis books, 1974
  • Leith, John H. Introduction to the Reformed Tradition (1978). ISBN 0-8042-0479-9)
  • Miranda, J. Being and the Messiah. Orbis Books, 1974.
  • Moore, B., ed. The Challenge of Black Theology in South Africa. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1974.
  • Muzorewa, H. African Theology: Its Origin and Development. Orbis Books, 1984.
  • Sobrino, J. Christology on the Crossroads. Orbis Books, 1978
  • Systematic Theology, an ecumenical trilogy by Thomas Oden

External links[edit]