Lexham Survey of Theology - feedback

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 5 2018 11:59 PM

David Paul:

Am I right in assessing that this document (process) is focused on ecclesial theology rather than Biblical theology? I would certainly prefer a focus that is on the later.

It’s Systematic Theology. I agree that something for Biblical Theology would be very useful, but it’s an entirely different discipline which would require a completely different approach.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 6 2018 12:05 AM

Doug Mangum:

Asking for a friend. Wink

Hi Doug. You've got some great suggestions in other posts, let me just complement them with one more book. God and the World by Joseph Ratzinger (https://www.logos.com/product/32881/god-and-the-world-believing-and-living-in-our-time-a-conversation-with-peter-seewald).

This is a book length interview with Peter Seewald, where Seewald asks Ratzinger questions about the Catholic faith in a rather systematic fashion, covering in one way or another most of the topics that would be covered in the Catechism or in a systematic theology, with the advantages and disadvantages typical of an interview. Ratzinger is considered by many to be the greatest Catholic theologian alive, and as a German theology professor was also intimately familiar with Protestant theologians like Luther and Barth.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 6 2018 12:01 PM

Fr Devin Roza:
Doug Mangum:
Asking for a friend. Wink
Hi Doug. You've got some great suggestions in other posts, let me just complement them with one more book. God and the World by Joseph Ratzinger (https://www.logos.com/product/32881/god-and-the-world-believing-and-living-in-our-time-a-conversation-with-peter-seewald).

This is a book length interview with Peter Seewald, where Seewald asks Ratzinger questions about the Catholic faith in a rather systematic fashion, covering in one way or another most of the topics that would be covered in the Catechism or in a systematic theology, with the advantages and disadvantages typical of an interview. Ratzinger is considered by many to be the greatest Catholic theologian alive, and as a German theology professor was also intimately familiar with Protestant theologians like Luther and Barth.

Fantastic suggestion!

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Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 6 2018 4:09 PM

Fr Devin Roza:

Hi Doug. You've got some great suggestions in other posts, let me just complement them with one more book. God and the World by Joseph Ratzinger (https://www.logos.com/product/32881/god-and-the-world-believing-and-living-in-our-time-a-conversation-with-peter-seewald).

Ths is a book length interview with Peter Seewald, where Seewald asks Ratzinger questions about the Catholic faith in a rather systematic fashion, covering in one way or another most of the topics that would be covered in the Catechism or in a systematic theology, with the advantages and disadvantages typical of an interview. Ratzinger is considered by many to be the greatest Catholic theologian alive, and as a German theology professor was also intimately familiar with Protestant theologians like Luther and Barth.

Thanks for all the reading suggestions. Sounds like this one might be the best to start with.

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 6 2018 7:48 PM

Damian McGrath:

Fascinating that "Mariology" is situated under "The Person and Work of Christ".

Is not the Council of Ephesus's declaration that Mary is the "Mother of God" a Christological statement? Does not Ineffabilis Deus give Christological reasons in the center of the definition of Immaculate Conception?

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 6 2018 11:32 PM

Fr. Devin:

Thanks for the suggested read.

  • Man
  • God
  • Creation
  • Order in Creation
  • The Two Testaments
  • The Law
  • Love
  • Revelation
  • The Light
  • The Way
  • The Truth
  • Life
  • The Mother of God
  • The Cross
  • The Spirit
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • The Sacraments
  • The Future

A question: In your opinion, why is moral theology left out of the contents? (just curious), and how about social teaching?

Kind regards.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 12:32 AM

Hamilton Ramos:

Fr. Devin:

Thanks for the suggested read.

  • Man
  • God
  • Creation
  • Order in Creation
  • The Two Testaments
  • The Law
  • Love
  • Revelation
  • The Light
  • The Way
  • The Truth
  • Life
  • The Mother of God
  • The Cross
  • The Spirit
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • The Sacraments
  • The Future

A question: In your opinion, why is moral theology left out of the contents? (just curious), and how about social teaching?

Kind regards.

Hi Hamilton. This is an interview, and in this case Peter Seewald wrote and asked the questions he was interested in. Ratzinger did not know the questions ahead of time, and his answers are unprepared. So, we would need to ask Seewald!

That being said, the full table of contents is quite a bit more detailed that what you list above, and there are quite a few specific chapters on moral theology.

Under the section on God, there is a chapter on "Law" with questions about "The Four Laws" (referring to natural law, the law of desire or concupiscence, the Mosaic law, and the New Covenant law), followed by questions on the 10 commandments. This is then followed by a chapter on "Love" with questions on "The Meaning of Life", "How do we learn to love?" and "Aspects of Love."

There are also other chapters related to moral theology, like a chapter on "The Tree of Life", "So-called evil" (which deals with topics like temptation, the fall of the angels, and evil), chapters on Jesus as "The Way", "Power and Possessions", "Mercy", "Judging", "The Two Ways", "True and False Cares", "Guild and Reconciliation", "Marriage", etc.

I don't see any chapters dealing specifically with social teaching as such. However, social topics appear throughout the book at different moments. I did a search for the word "social", and it appears 25 times, and many of these references seem to be dealing with issues of social teaching. Here is an example text that deals with some aspects of social teaching. Texts in italics are Seewald, the rest is Ratzinger.

Excerpt from the chapter on Mercy:


Let’s pick out one of these works: “Clothing the naked”. That surely doesn’t mean giving away old clothes.

Of course this saying is meant in a more inclusive sense. Certainly the gift of old clothes can be a good thing, if it is done from the heart; we ought not to undervalue little things. But here it’s a matter of more than that. On one hand, it has always to do with real practical help. What matters is that we shouldn’t just hold fine principles and, from time to time, make a donation, but we should be on the lookout to see where people need me in my own life. That is usually uncomfortable and inconvenient. Think about the priest and the Levite who pass by the man who has been attacked and robbed. Each of them probably has an important appointment, or maybe they’re afraid something could happen to them if they stop fox too long in this frightening place. There’s always a reason.
Jesus’ parable of the last judgment, like the list of the works of corporal mercy, says to us, on the contrary, in a practical way: This doesn’t just include mankind as a whole, but right there where I meet someone in need is where I must help, even if it doesn’t suit, even if I have no time right then, or I think I can’t afford it. I have to think about particular cases, not just about general measures.
  p 316  That is what distinguishes the Christian exhortation to love from the Marxist one, which refers precisely to general plans and structural modifications and overlooks individual cases. But, on the other hand, it does of course mean that we must also take an interest in systems and structures on the wider scale, must try to undertake not just individual help, however important that may be, but also help to ensure that people in need are offered fundamentally improved opportunities. In the Church this has produced hospitals for the sick, schools for the poor, and much more. In that sense the two things go hand-in-hand: both an eye open for my immediate neighbor, whom I must not overlook on account of my plans for social and structural improvement, and also the overcoming of inequitable structures and systems and structural help for those who need, so to speak, to be clothed.

Besides the corporal works, there are also the seven works of spiritual mercy. These are:

         Giving advice to those in despair
         Teaching the ignorant
         Rebuking sinners
         Consoling those in mourning
         Forgiving injustices we suffer
         Being patient with those who are troublesome
         Praying for the living and the dead

What matters is that mercy cannot be concerned only with material things. If we provide only what is materially necessary, we have done too little. In development aid it has therefore always been clear to the far-sighted how important it is to give people training, so that they will be able to see to things for themselves. Only if we help people’s spirit, if we help the whole person, are we really helping. For that reason it is all the more important to bring God to people. Setting moral standards is in fact the most prominent work of mercy.

Let’s pick out one of them again: “Teaching the ignorant”. I think the recipients would, as a rule, hardly experience such teaching as a work of mercy.

Let’s stay with development aid, in Latin America. Here, both the Church and also left-wing groups have made literacy campaigns a major element of their activities. And why? As long as people are ignorant, they remain dependent. They cannot get out of this situation, which is a sort of slavery, by their own efforts. Not until they have access to education are they really being helped, because they are then in a position to get on equal terms with others and properly develop their country and their society. And there, people really have experienced what it means to teach the ignorant, that through this they find access to the world of the spirit, the key to what moves the world today.
Even if we think about earlier, corresponding movements in Europe, Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, for instance, who started the charity schools in France, for the poor, who had lived in a dependent condition for generations, being able to learn was an enormous opportunity. The basic capacity to offer the chance of learning, opening the door to the world of the spirit, that is the basic work of spiritual mercy—always supposing, of course, that you not only teach people to read, but introduce them to a meaningful spiritual context, that is to say, not just pass on an ideology to them, but open up for them the way to faith.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 5:48 AM

Fr Devin Roza:
However, it is a realistic goal that Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox all generally feel fairly represented, and can feel like their positions and arguments are fairly and honestly presented, in a way they can identify with. 

Fr Devin Roza:
The presentations of the Catholic faith are rarely ones I can identify with as a Catholic

The problem here is that Catholics and Protestants often use the same language in very different ways. 'Grace' is an obvious example, but there are many others. In order to get (for example) an evangelical to correctly understand a Catholic doctrine, you have to explain that in a way that an evangelical would understand, which is not at all the way that a Catholic may explain it. And vice versa too, of course.

So you're with left either with (a) the evangelical doesn't understand the Catholic position (or worse, they think they do, but don't), or (b) the Catholic feels their position isn't being represented fairly.

I'm not saying LST can't be improved, but in my view it's certainly not as simple as is being suggested.

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 5:54 AM

Thank you Fr. Devin for an excellent and illuminating answer.

My bad that I did not check in detail.

From your experience, what do yo consider the best resources (best in L8) about moral theology, and social teaching?

Also Fr. Devin, in the Catholic topical index, I do not see an entry for moral theology, But there is an entry for social teaching.

Do you know how the CTI was made? was it done in a docx document and then compiled with pbb? can I do a similar thing so that I include things like moral theology?

Thanks ahead of time for your kind input.

Blessings.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 6:50 AM

Mark Barnes:

The problem here is that Catholics and Protestants often use the same language in very different ways. 'Grace' is an obvious example, but there are many others. In order to get (for example) an evangelical to correctly understand a Catholic doctrine, you have to explain that in a way that an evangelical would understand, which is not at all the way that a Catholic may explain it. And vice versa too, of course.

So you're with left either with (a) the evangelical doesn't understand the Catholic position (or worse, they think they do, but don't), or (b) the Catholic feels their position isn't being represented fairly.

I'm not saying LST can't be improved, but in my view it's certainly not as simple as is being suggested.

I agree it is a difficult task. But I am convinced it is possible.

When I have had the opportunity to dialogue with evangelical Protestants about the Catholic faith, which has been often, my almost universal experience is that the only thing I need to do to respond to some problem they express about Catholic doctrine is explain what we actually believe. More often than not, when I do that, even without giving any arguments in favor of the Catholic position, I will hear something like, "Oh... well, I didn't know that's what you think. I don't have a problem with that."

I have never yet had the experience of explaining the Catholic faith to an Evangelical and having them not understand me. On the contrary, I've been amazed at how easy it has been to explain what Catholic's really believe to Evangelical Christians. I have found them almost always very receptive and interested. Even in areas such as grace, which informs many of the differences.

Unfortunately I have also found Evangelical Protestants very misinformed about Catholicism. Time and time again I find that they have been presented with straw man arguments refuting a Catholicism no one actually believes in. Catholics who regularly speak with Evangelical Protestants often mention this as their experience. 

So, don't underestimate Evangelical Protestants. I have found them to be very capable of understanding Catholic positions, when they are actually presented in a Catholic way. 

And for a company like Faithlife, they have a wonderful opportunity, and I would say moral duty, to present different faith traditions in a way that is true and accurate, and that represents in an authentic way each tradition. History has had enough straw men. Let's get some real dialogue, where people can hear the other side in an authentic, intelligent way. I am convinced that the only possible result of such a step can be growth on all sides, and a mutual coming closer to Christ who is the Truth.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 7:12 AM

Hamilton Ramos:

From your experience, what do yo consider the best resources (best in L8) about moral theology, and social teaching?

 

For social teaching, I would recommend The Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church (https://www.logos.com/product/31939/the-compendium-of-the-social-doctrine-of-the-church). It's a bit like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but focused on social doctrine. As a Compendium, it will also send you to other sources for the topic you are interested in. 

For moral theology, in L8 you could look at The Way of the Lord Jesus by Grisez (https://www.logos.com/product/34188/the-way-of-the-lord-jesus). But even more than that I would recommend the little book Morality: A Catholic View by Pinckaers (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1890318566/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0), and if you finish that and want to go deeper, The Sources of Christian Ethics by Pinckaers (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0813208181/ref=rdr_ext_tmb). Unfortunately it looks like neither of these books by Pinckaers are available from Faithlife.    

And, yes, it be possible to make a Personal Book that acted a bit like the Catholic Topical Index, as it is easy to include links and chapter headings in a PBB.

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 10:14 AM

Fr Devin Roza:
And, yes, it be possible to make a Personal Book that acted a bit like the Catholic Topical Index, as it is easy to include links and chapter headings in a PBB.

Thanks for your kind answer.

Have you thought of doing a Verbum training where one can learn to do something similar to Catholic topical index, so that one can reference important information from other monographs, and even case experiences for certain activities (e.g. social type innovative initiatives)?

Also a topical index for moral theology and ethics, which would be of high value for Christlike decision making?

I do have the resources you mention in L8, not the offered in amazon. I wish there was a Verbum training about moral theology.

Blessings.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 10:55 AM

Hamilton Ramos:

Have you thought of doing a Verbum training where one can learn to do something similar to Catholic topical index, so that one can reference important information from other monographs, and even case experiences for certain activities (e.g. social type innovative initiatives)?

Also a topical index for moral theology and ethics, which would be of high value for Christlike decision making?

That is an interesting suggestion for the Faithlife team to consider for a future project regarding moral theology and ethics. 

Regarding the training video, see the video "Personal Books" from the Verbum 360 series. There I explain all the basic techniques you would need to do what you describe. For more detailed info about advanced tagging in personal books, from there you can check out the Logos Wiki, or ask questions in the forums (not on this post, which is about a different topic). 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 12:03 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
Have you thought of doing a Verbum training where one can learn to do something similar to Catholic topical index, so that one can reference important information from other monographs, and even case experiences for certain activities (e.g. social type innovative initiatives)?

I keep waiting and hoping for Logos to do the obvious - expand the Catholic Topical Index to contain 4 more categories: Anglican catechism & creeds, Anglican church documents (think Lambeth), Lutheran catechism & creeds (think Book of Concord) and Lutheran church documents (LCMS has some excellent ones)

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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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 1:25 PM

Thank you Fr. Devin. 

Blessings.

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 1:29 PM

MJ, it would be a dream come true.

But I do not shortchange power users, if we had the ability of doing topical index type resources, and then share them around, eventually we would get some awesome reference aid.

My own opinion of course.

I was very impressed with the ontologies article that you posted a link to, and want to thank you for doing so. I mentioned it to Sean to see if he can look into some of its underlying structure so multi tradition capabilities in ontology is a topic explored for further development.

I think Logos is moving in the right direction with the Systematic theology comparison capabilities and the theology guide.

Blessings.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 7 2018 2:39 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
But I do not shortchange power users, if we had the ability of doing topical index type resources, and then share them around, eventually we would get some awesome reference aid.

We can do them although we would probably choose "collection" to display them. I had avoided your earlier question because I did not understand what you wanted that we couldn't already do.

This wasn't Faithlife's first foray into ontologies. From an old reading list

Cultural concepts ontology

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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Br. Anthony | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 8 2018 8:30 AM

My biggest issue is that the Survey is inconsistant (from a Catholic perspective).  For example, in the doctrine of "Creation ex nihilo," recommended resources include: St. Anselm's Monologion, St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae and Summa Contra Gentiles, and Sokolowski's The God of Faith and Reason (a very recent work on Catholic philosophy/theology).  Now, I haven't looked at every section in the Survey, but the references to Catholic theologians is largely hit or miss, even though many (particularly St. Thomas) has much to say about the vast majority of topics.  

Unlike some on this forum, I was not expecting this to really have any references to Catholic theology, since faithlife is primarily (Evangelical/Reformed) Protestant, but if they are going to refer to Catholic theology in some places, they should do it for every topic rather than an arbitrary selection.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 8 2018 8:43 AM

Hamilton Ramos:

From your experience, what do yo consider the best resources (best in L8) about moral theology, and social teaching?

Hamilton, I asked one of our moral theology professors whom I highly regard what he would recommend currently for someone wanting to be introduced to moral theology. He recommended Introducing Moral Theology by William Mattison. It turns out that is available in Verbum/Logos: https://www.logos.com/product/6001/introducing-moral-theology-true-happiness-and-the-virtues

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 8 2018 9:00 AM

Fr Devin Roza:
true-happiness-and-the-virtues

Sure Mattison is not a Stoic philosopher? Hmm

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