The Fruit of Doctrine

As most of you know who have followed Theology Forum for any length of time, we have a real interest in the nature and task of theology and the spiritual aspect inherent in being a theologian and to “doing” theology. As we’ve mused on what this might mean, I have looked at several spiritual theologians, and, recently, reviewed Mark McIntosh’s volume Divine Teaching. There, as I noted in my post, he suggests that the outcome of a theology must speak to the quality of the theologizing itself. In other words, good theology will bear good fruit, we may say.

In light of this, I was wondering your thoughts about the inevitable move backwards – judging theology by bad fruit. Could we, for instance, attack an evangelical doctrine of Scripture by pointing out the reality that, were you to go to ETS, you are more likely to find a paper on the use of the aorist-passive in Greco-Roman shipping industry between the years 20-27 than you are to find a paper on a dogmatic account of Scripture? Along these lines, could we point out the seemingly backward use of integration in evangelical theology, commandeering history, philosophy and psychology well before doing any serious dogmatic work – as fruit of a sick tree?

How far can we take some of these issues? Is this a valid theological critique? I’m very aware of how this can be used poorly, but is there a place for this kind of analysis?

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