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David Ford: 12 Theses for Theolgy in the 21st Century

“These 12 theses articulate the main elements of what I hope twenty-first-century Christian theology can be about:

  1. God is the One who blesses and loves in wisdom.
  2. Theology is done for God’s sake and for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
  3. Prayer is the beginning, accompaniment and end of theology: Come Holy Spirit!  Hallelujah! and Maranatha!
  4. Study of scripture is at the heart of theology.
  5. Describing reality in the light of God is a basic theological discipline.
  6. Theology hopes in and seeks God’s purposes while immersed in the contingencies, complexities and ambiguities of creation and history.
  7. Theological wisdom seeks to do justice to many contexts, levels, voices, moods, genres, systems and responsibilities.
  8. Theology is practiced collegially, in conversation, and best of all, in friendship; and, through the communion of saints, it is simultaneously premodern, modern, and postmodern.
  9. Theology is a broker of the arts, humanities, sciences and common sense for the sake of a wisdom that affirms, critiques and transforms each of them.
  10. Our religious and secular world needs theology with religious studies in its schools and universities.
  11. Conversation around scripture is at the heart of interfaith relations.
  12. Theology is for all who desire to think about God and about reality in relation to God.”

–David F. Ford, Shaping Theology: Engagements in a Religous and Secular World (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), 243-244.


  1. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Interesting. I assume he’s thinking particularly of Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue in point nine? I’m interested to know what he has in mind and if he spells it out at all.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
  2. Jason Oliver wrote:

    What does Ford mean that theology is a ‘broker’ of the disciplines in thesis 9? Does theology have preeminence over these disciplines?

    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Ry, yes I’m assuming that’s what he’s talking about as Ford is very involved in the whole “Scrptural Reasoning” movement which is a Jewish-Christian-Muslim discussion.

    Jason, I’m assuming that by calling theology the “broker” of other disciplines Ford is maintaining that it is in some sense the arbiter of other discourses. Theology controls how we read engage other discourses, not the other way round.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  4. IndieFaith wrote:

    Hmmmm . . . nothing about redemption in there? Or is that just a theological category?

    Friday, March 28, 2008 at 3:17 am | Permalink
  5. Jason Oliver wrote:

    Interesting, Halden.

    Friday, March 28, 2008 at 5:37 am | Permalink

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