It has its origin in the eastern Mediterranean and rapidly grew in quantity and influence for several decades. By the fourth century, it had developed into a prominent religion within the Roman Empire.
During the early part of the twenty-first century, statistics show that Christianity has between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion followers. About one-third of the world's population is represented by Christianity and therefore is considered as the world's largest religion. Many countries around the world have made Christianity as their state religion.
Among the adherents of Christianity, Christian theology has become an aspect of Christian doctrine where many have varied views and methodologies. This research report deals with global Christian theology from an evangelical perspective and looks into the nature and scope of theology. Furthermore, it identifies the factors that impact theological discourse.
Dr. Alvah Hovey, the great Baptist theologian defined Christian theology as the "science of the Christian religion, or the science which ascertains, justifies, and systematizes all attainable truth concerning God and His relation, through Jesus Christ, to the universe and especially to mankind." (Hovey, pp. 14-16)
"It is the science of God and divine things, based upon the revelation made to mankind in Jesus Christ and variously systematized within the Christian church" (Pope, p. 14) is the definition given by William Burton Pope.
The Nature of Christian Theology
Christian theology is also known as Dogmatics which is a branch of theological science that has its objectives of presenting in a systematic way the teachings of the Christian faith. The term theology comes from the two Greek words theos and logos. It indicated a discussion about God.
Aristotle applied the term theology to his highest or first philosophy. The Greeks apply this term to their poets and their teachers which they honor. The term theology, therefore, maybe applied to an investigation which is systematic or scientific, of true or supposed sacred persons, things, or relations. If the subject matter pertains to that which is considered sacred then the term theology is used. Qualifying terms such as Christian or ethnic are used to make the term theology specific and definite.
The Scope of Theology
In order to understand a wide range of examination or research, the study of Christian theology must be stretched and put in an orderly and organized manner according to the main beliefs or philosophies regarded as foremost in the history of the Christian thought. Subjects which must be given consideration are as follows: God being the foundation, the theme, and the conclusion of all theology; Religion as the the agent which provides consciousness in man without which man cannot receive spiritual revelations; Revelation as a resource of facts wherein systematic theology is built upon; The relation of these facts to Jesus Christ , who is the Eternal Word and The Personal Word; The organization and development of theology in the church as the manifestation of the Christian life under the power of the Holy Spirit; and lastly, The relation of Christian theology to contemporary thought.
A Brief History of Christian Theology
Early Christian Theology
Proofs of some of the earliest forms of reflection of the Christ