Lexham Survey of Theology - feedback

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Oct 30 2018 5:07 PM

Upon delving into the Lexham Survey of Theology, I quickly noticed a couple things that, together, I had not expected, and which I consider worthy of note:

1. The Lexham Survey of Theology is unambiguously Protestant in its perspective.

2. The Lexham Survey of Theology does not indicate that it is Protestant in its perspective.

Rather, this book seems to be trying to pass itself off as an "objective, sympathetic, [and] reverent" text "written from a scholarly perspective," to quote from the description given in the Library info pane. It's not at least one of those things. It is not objective. It is unambiguously Protestant. That's OK. But please say so.

(In case you're wondering, I looked at the articles on the sacraments first.)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 10:55 PM

Yes, one learns to accept that Logos is so intimately tied to a particular thread of Protestant that they can't see beyond it to recognize the limitations it imposes on their software. My favorite example is their assumption of studying a single passage. Note that they allow a sermon to be on multiple passages but you can only study them in isolation ...

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 3:01 AM

To be fair, Verbum already has sections in the Guides that deal with theology — from an exclusively Roman Catholic perspective, of course. Theology is an area where Logos users are catching up what Verbum users have been enjoying for years. (That's not to say I don't think it would be useful to have a Verbum equivalent of LST, of course.)

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Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 4:23 AM

I guess its a bit like which kind of ice cream you prefer? Personally, I like chocolate, but can go with most colours and flavours - after all its the ice cream that matters.  I guess I'm fairly ecumenical about ice cream at least.

With respect, SineNomine describes the "Lexham Survey of Theology" as "unambiguously Protestant"- but I read that to simply mean "unambiguously non-Catholic" because there are many of us out here who are not Catholic but (sadly) we're not really Protestant either. As a non-Protestant in a broad sense - should I complain too? To be fair there might be other  theological denominations or movements who want to see more of their own theology included - even perhaps some historic Protestants too. 

Actually, I think the writers of the Lexham Survey of Theology" have done a great job. No presentation will ever be absolutely complete, objective or satisfy everyone - and maybe it will be be amended in time with further perspectives too. In the meantime, I'm happy with this ice cream and will keep playing in my new Logos 8 sand-pit. Keep well folks. Paul               

 

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 4:55 AM

Deleted.

Posts 3023
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:00 AM

My fundamental complaint is NOT that LSOT is Protestant in outlook.

My issue is that it doesn't declare that it's Protestant. I have enough theology to be able to tell very quickly; I could have written equivalent sacraments articles myself either from a Catholic perspective or from an unaffiliated one. Trouble is, I know a lot of other Christians of different sorts who wouldn't know that this book has a strong theological slant.  Misleading them... that's not OK.

Verbum's theology resources are pretty clear that they're Catholic, and any deficits in that regard should be rectified. This Protestant resource should be clear about its own identity too.

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:09 AM

Since the Lexham Survey of Theology is included in the Verbum 8 Full Feature Set, I (as a Protestant) would agree that this is a valid complaint.

It is likely to be impossible to produce a systematic theology that's agnostic of any underlying theology, by the very definition what a systematic theology is.

Therefore it's true that it's impossible to cater to everyone. But that doesn't mean that a resource that specifically doesn't cater to Roma-Catholics should be included in the Verbum Full Feature Set.

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:15 AM

I know that I am naive but as a novice coming to this resource I might well be disappointed to find that the Survey is a narrow survey.

SineNomine:

My fundamental complaint is NOT that LSOT is Protestant in outlook.

My issue is that it doesn't declare that it's Protestant.

Whereas my issue is that it is Protestant in outlook. Trying to wear the shoes (and actually wearing my own shoes at the same time) of a new user I might well come to this resource hoping to compare outlooks rather than just find the best resources study just one.

In my mind it would be a great improvement to include the sections for the many alternative views available from our lookout tower.

(And I wholeheartedly support Martha's bewailing the lack of lectionary support in all aspects of our software. I am greatly pleased when this is raised at every opportunity)

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:18 AM

Mike Binks:

Whereas my issue is that it is Protestant in outlook. Trying to wear the shoes (and actually wearing my own shoes at the same time) of a new user I might well come to this resource hoping to compare outlooks rather than just find the best resources study just one.

In my mind it would be a great improvement to include the sections for the many alternative views available from our lookout tower.

I think it would be impossible to write a systematic theology that fairly encompasses both Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives. It's not just that some of the theology is different, it's that the whole structure and ontology would be different in many areas.

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:29 AM

Mark Barnes:
I think it would be impossible to write a systematic theology that fairly encompasses both Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives. It's not just that some of the theology is different, it's that the whole structure and ontology would be different in many areas.

I told you that I was naive.

Still it will be interesting to review the edition in the New Jerusalem Library.

Posts 569
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 6:29 AM

Agree with your analysis Sinenomine.

In any serious theological work, first things need to come first: Prolegomena:

What are your assumptions? how about presuppositions? is there a commitment to certain tradition and why? do you believe God is supernatural and free to act as He wishes in His creation? what is the nature of reality (God's reality at that which is ultimate reality)?

How does the Holy Spirit take you to all truth? what is truth? John 14:6; has the actions of the devil ceased?are we still in a spiritual warfare until Christ comes to take care of business?

What worldview elements are you operating from? are those elements supported in Scripture?

Do you think that God is a moral monster because some affirm that He on a whim arbitrarily assigned some to go to hell and some to be saved?

What makes you think was the key factor in being assigned a Tare or Wheat status on Earth?

Is physical Israel different from spiritual Israel (gentiles included?) will physical Israel be grafted in at some time?

To my understanding of Scriptures, the nature and character of God, He always tries to be transparent and honest as much as our particular contextual situation and symbolic universe (language, etc) allows Him.

You will not see a large prolegomena going into detail in most Systematic Theologies, as many are just instruments of indoctrination into human theological constructs, and would not pass the test of basic critical thinking using as reference the Scriptures.

Fishing in muddled water best describes such approach.

Look at the writings of Paul, to me one of the best theologians of all times, crystal clear, in most thrusts, and that can only be done under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He was very able to put in perspective what in the OT had direct bearing on the historical events taking place in his times, and how a flawed religion was to spin off into the apostolic true one.

Did he do a prolegomena? some think yes, he listed all that he had accomplished as a flawed religion believer, joining wrong groups (pharisees), and under tutor of limited understanding guys (Gamaliel), and he openly said it was all rubbish when compared to Jesus Christ, His ultimate message, and His display of God's nature and character.

If most groups exposed in detail what their previous understandings, preconceptions, etc. are, we would not have much problems with false teaching, because it would be easy to tell by the Scriptures how out of whack they really are.

My own non-expert opinion of course.

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 7:07 AM

Strikes me that Logos was made by protestants, and so a certain level of bias is going to be unavoidable.

Especially when it comes to theology, regardless of the level of care - some things are going to seep through.

Does overtly it bash catholicism at any point?

I was asked a question on the forums the other day, and realized a day or two later when i revisited the post that I had responded in a way that was influenced by my (protestant, baptist, reformed) theology. It wasn't intended to be a theological statement. But that was the net result.

I can't speak for everyone - but for me - I try to allow scripture to be the lens through which I view everything else. Which means my thinking, and my understanding of scripture are going to permeate those things.

Short of also having had a catholic edition made, I'm not sure how they could have done differently.

Make a user voice - maybe they will make one for you :)

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 7:50 AM

Maybe we should identify the best tools to do our own guide, ST, topical idea, etc.:

from:

https://community.logos.com/forums/p/173727/1008186.aspx#1008186

in another thread:

Hamilton Ramos 

 Sean Boisen: for each of the 234 Systematic Theology topics

Thank you for the above information. May I assume that the 234 topics are the sub points found in the Lexham Survey of Theology?

As far as some considering the Theology Guide as Protestant biased, I would consider it part of protestantism biased, as I tried to find information on the following, and nothing came up:

Christian living, orthopraxis, spiritual warfare. 

I did find information on demons, spiritual gifts, etc.

So the question is: in one of the web pages advertising L8, there was a mention of making own Systematic theology.

a) is there a resource that lists all possible sub topics including sub topics in Prolegomena, Israelogy, Moral theology, etc?

b) what is the recommended module to produce own ST?: Pbb, workflow, canvas, notes?

c) can one do an own theology guide? how about something in the line of Catholic Topical index?

Thanks ahead for any input, and congratulations on the improvements to L8.

Blessings.

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Gordon Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 8:28 AM

MJ. Smith:

...Logos is so intimately tied to a particular thread of Protestant that they can't see beyond it to recognize the limitations it imposes on their software.

YesSad

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 8:48 AM

SineNomine:

Upon delving into the Lexham Survey of Theology, I quickly noticed a couple things that, together, I had not expected, and which I consider worthy of note:

1. The Lexham Survey of Theology is unambiguously Protestant in its perspective.

2. The Lexham Survey of Theology does not indicate that it is Protestant in its perspective.

Rather, this book seems to be trying to pass itself off as an "objective, sympathetic, [and] reverent" text "written from a scholarly perspective," to quote from the description given in the Library info pane. It's not at least one of those things. It is not objective. It is unambiguously Protestant. That's OK. But please say so.

(In case you're wondering, I looked at the articles on the sacraments first.)

Well, thanks, SineNomine! I didn't get a package/features, so clues about L8 are always welcome. Theology that doesn't structure to the larger Christian group. I agree labeling as a minimum. I also wonder that protestants somehow hop over the bishops' Nicene etc. Our fundementalist denomination happily did that. They were cute little rabbits. My, my, Logos amazes.


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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 9:21 AM

Like Sine Nomine, the first portion I looked at to see theological bias was in the sacrament section. In my case, I started with Baptism to see how it fits with my Lutheran understanding. I do not mean to engage in theological discussions, which indeed would be against the forum rules. But to critique the Logos resource, I offer the following:

The initial definition: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration and union with Christ, one of two sacraments ordained by Christ to be practiced in the church until he returns."

This is better than I would have expected, honestly. That said, I would not want to be dogmatic about the number of sacraments here - I personally would say exact number of sacraments is highly dependent on how exactly you define "sacrament" - and this is indeed discussed in another section. For me that is a minor quibble. For those who dogmatically define it differently, however, it would be much more than a minor quibble - it would be a constant irritation.

My biggest problem is that it seems to hide the key part of my Lutheran understanding of Baptism - namely that it is God who is the actor who actually Baptizes us in his powerful Word which clings to the Baptismal water in the tiny phrase "ordained by Christ."

Later it says: "All major Christian bodies regard credobaptism, baptism that is based upon a convert’s confession of faith, as the normative practice of the church." Yes, the first Lutheran orders ask the infant to confess the faith of the church. IIRC, so do the Roman Catholic orders upon which the Lutheran orders were based, letting Adults officially speak for minors - which was part of the Legal tradition. The article then gives typological arguments that can be used to extend the practice to Infants. I am, of course, familiar with each of the arguments. Many Lutherans have made some of these arguments.

But Luther in his Large Catechism uses none of them - and for us Lutherans, this is the by far most extended portion of our Confessions (and so our official theology) which speaks to this issue. Instead he argues:

1) God seems to approve of the baptism of Infants because obviously God has given the Holy Spirit to people who have been baptized as infants.

2) Everything depends on the Word and commandment of God, and so the effectivness is still there no matter the faith state of the person who is the hands and lips God uses for this Word and the state of faith of the person who receives it.

3) What is faith? How do you know that an Infant does not have faith?

You are, of course, free to disagree with Luther and the official teaching of the Lutheran Church. But if you are trying to make a resource that is ecumenically aware with the goal of serving the whole church, it would be better if it seemed more aware of us - one of the larger sub-streams of the Church thoughout the world and history.

As an added note, I was frustrated that in looking through the Sacraments section, the only recommended Lutheran resource seemed to be Pieper. While he has had significant influence, it would be much better to reference either the offical Book of Concord accepted by all Lutherans, or some of Luther's MANY writings on the sacraments.

I was also a bit frustrated that none of the links to CCC work for me since I have the US and not the International edition in my library. Especially since CCC is such a multi-lingual world-wide document, would it it not be better to link to your datatype instead of just any particular edition of it?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 1:20 PM

Ken McGuire:
to link to your datatype instead of just any particular edition of it?

I hadn't noticed this - that is a big mistake, in my opinion. The same would hold for the Book of Concord.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 1:29 PM

abondservant:
Short of also having had a catholic edition made, I'm not sure how they could have done differently.

This underestimates the issue - the Anglo-Catholics/Catholics/Eastern Orthodox/Lutherans/Oriental Orthodox - do not need a separate "catholic" edition. Logos needs to learn that Christianity has been around for two millennia not two centuries and that Christianity is not a European phenomena. At times, Logos looks as if their view of Christianity is limited to England/America of the last three centuries.

I say this as one whose grandparents covered Congregationalist, Mennonite, Catholic, Pietist Lutheran, and Stone-Campbell traditions - with a bit of Unitarian flavor sprinkled on top.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith:

Ken McGuire:
to link to your datatype instead of just any particular edition of it?

I hadn't noticed this - that is a big mistake, in my opinion. The same would hold for the Book of Concord.

I've reported this feedback to the editors.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 1:45 PM

Mark Barnes:
I think it would be impossible to write a systematic theology that fairly encompasses both Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives.

This statement illustrates the problem - it is not a Protestant/Roman Catholic divide as that is not where the divide falls. While it is also not quite right, the division is closer to Calvinist vs. everyone else. From the perspective of IT/AI a common ontology should be relatively easy with the Nicene Creed providing an outline that has been commonly applied across space and time.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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