Christian theology

Christian theology

Encyclopedia

Divisions of Christian theology


There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology
History of Christian theology
The doctrine of the Trinity, considered the core of Christian theology by Trinitarians, is the result of continuous exploration by the church of the biblical data, thrashed out in debate and treatises, eventually formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD in a way they believe is...

.

Sub-disciplines


Christian theologians may be specialists in one or more theological sub-disciplines. These are the kinds of phrases that one finds in certain job titles such as 'Professor of x', 'Senior Lecturer in y':
  • Apologetics
    Apologetics
    Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers...

    /polemics – studying Christian theology as it compares to non-Christian worldview
    World view
    A comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...

    s in order to defend the faith and challenge beliefs that lie in contrast with Christianity
  • Biblical hermeneutics
    Biblical hermeneutics
    Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. It is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles for the text and includes all forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal.While Jewish and Christian...

     – interpretation of the Bible
    Bible
    The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

    , often with particular emphasis on the nature and constraints of contemporary interpretation
  • Biblical studies
    Biblical studies
    Biblical studies is the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts. For Christianity, the Bible traditionally comprises the New Testament and Old Testament, which together are sometimes called the "Scriptures." Judaism recognizes as scripture only the Hebrew Bible, also known as...

     – interpretation of the Bible, often with particular emphasis on historical-critical investigation
  • Biblical theology
    Biblical Theology
    Biblical theology is a discipline within Christian theology which studies the Bible from the perspective of understanding the progressive history of God revealing Himself to humanity following the Fall and throughout the Old Testament and New Testament...

     – interpretation of the Bible, often with particular emphasis on links between biblical texts and the topics of systematic or dogmatic theology
  • Constructive theology
    Constructive Theology
    Constructive theology is the re-definition of what has historically been known as systematic theology. The reason for this reevaluation stems from the idea that, in systematic theology, the theologian attempts to develop a coherent theory running through the various doctrines within the tradition...

     – generally another name for systematic theology
    Systematic theology
    In the context of Christianity, systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that attempts to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs...

    ; also specifically a postmodernist
    Postmodernism
    Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

     approach to systematic theology, applying (among other things) feminist theory
    Feminist theory
    Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical discourse, it aims to understand the nature of gender inequality...

    , queer theory
    Queer theory
    Queer theory is a field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of LGBT studies and feminist studies. Queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and the theorisation of 'queerness' itself...

    , deconstruction
    Deconstruction
    Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1967 book Of Grammatology. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger's concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading...

    ism, and hermeneutics to theological topics
  • Dogmatic theology
    Dogmatic theology
    Dogmatic theology is that part of theology dealing with the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and his works, especially the official theology recognized by an organized Church body, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Dutch Reformed Church, etc...

     – studying theology (or dogma
    Dogma
    Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

    ) as it developed in different church denominations
    Christian denomination
    A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

  • Ecumenical theology
    Ecumenism
    Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

     – comparing the doctrines of the diverse churches (such as Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and the various Protestant denominations) with the goal of promoting unity among them
  • Exegesis
    Exegesis
    Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

     – interpretation of the Bible
  • Historical theology
    Historical theology
    Historical theology is a branch of theological studies that investigates the socio-historical and cultural mechanisms that give rise to theological ideas, systems, and statements. Research and method in this field focus on the relationship between theology and context as well as the major...

     – studying Christian theology via the thoughts of other Christians throughout the centuries
  • Homiletics
    Homiletics
    Homiletics , in theology the application of the general principles of rhetoric to the specific department of public preaching. The one who practices or studies homiletics is called a homilist....

     – in theology the application of general principles of rhetoric to public preaching
  • Moral theology
    Ethics in religion
    Most religions have an ethical component, often derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance. "For many people, ethics is not only tied up with religion, but is completely settled by it...

     – explores the moral
    Morality
    Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

     and ethical
    Ethics
    Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

     dimensions of the religious life
  • Natural theology
    Natural theology
    Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.Marcus Terentius Varro ...

     – the discussion of those aspects of theology that can be investigated without the help of revelation scriptures or tradition (sometimes contrasted with "positive theology")
  • Patristics
    Patristics
    Patristics or Patrology is the study of Early Christian writers, known as the Church Fathers. The names derive from the Latin pater . The period is generally considered to run from the end of New Testament times or end of the Apostolic Age Patristics or Patrology is the study of Early Christian...

     or patrology—studies the teaching of Church Fathers
    Church Fathers
    The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

    , or the development of Christian ideas and practice in the period of the Church Fathers
  • Philosophical theology
    Philosophical Theology
    Philosophical theology is the disciplined employment of philosophical methods in developing or analyzing theological concepts. It therefore includes natural theology as well as philosophical treatments of orthodox and heterodox theology....

     – the use of philosophical methods in developing or analyzing theological concepts
  • Pragmatic or practical theology
    Practical theology
    Practical theology is the practical application of theology to everyday life. Richard Osmer explains that the four key questions and tasks in practical theology are:# What is going on? # Why is this going on?...

     – studying theology as it relates to everyday living and service to God, including serving as a religious minister
  • Spiritual theology—studying theology as a means to orthopraxy
    Orthopraxis
    Orthopraxy is a term derived from Greek or an emphasis on conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace etc...

     – Scripture
    Religious text
    Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition...

     and tradition
    Tradition
    A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

     are both used as guides for spiritual growth and discipline
  • Systematic theology
    Systematic theology
    In the context of Christianity, systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that attempts to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs...

     (doctrinal theology, dogmatic theology or philosophical theology)—focused on the attempt to arrange and interpret the ideas current in the religion. This is also associated with constructive theology
  • Theological aesthetics – interdisciplinary study of theology
    Theology
    Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

     and aesthetics
    Aesthetics
    Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

     / the arts
    The arts
    The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

  • Theological hermeneutics
    Theological hermeneutics
    Theological hermeneutics is a field of theology. It broadly refers to the application of hermeneutics to theological texts, particularly scripture.-Christian hermeneutics:...

     – the study of the manner of construction of theological formulations. Related to theological methodology.

Major topics


These topics crop up repeatedly and often in Christian theology; composing the main recurrent 'loci' around which Christian theological discussion revolves.
  • Bible
    Bible
    The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

     – the nature and means of its inspiration
    Biblical inspiration
    Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology that the authors and editors of the Bible were led or influenced by God with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God.- Etymology :...

    , etc.; including hermeneutics (the development and study of theories of the interpretation and understanding of texts and the topic of Biblical law in Christianity
    Biblical law in Christianity
    Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

    )
  • Eschatology
    Christian eschatology
    Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning last and study , is the study of the end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world...

     – the study of the last things, or end times. Covers subjects such as death and the afterlife
    Afterlife
    The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

    , the end of history
    History
    History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

    , the end of the world
    World
    World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth....

    , the last judgment
    Last Judgment
    The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

    , the nature of hope
    Hope
    Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. It is the "feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best" or the act of "look[ing] forward to with desire and reasonable confidence" or...

     and progress, etc.
  • Christology
    Christology
    Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

     – the study of Jesus
    Jesus
    Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

     Christ
    Christ
    Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

    , of his nature(s), and of the relationship between his divinity and humanity;
  • Creation myths
  • Divine providence
    Divine Providence
    In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

     – the study of sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in people's lives and throughout history.
  • Ecclesiology
    Ecclesiology
    Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

     (sometimes a subsection of missiology)—the study of the Christian Church
    Christian Church
    The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

    , including the institutional structure
    Institution
    An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

    , sacrament
    Sacrament
    A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

    s and practices (especially the worship
    Worship
    Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

     of God) thereof
  • Mariology
    Mariology
    Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ as developed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject have been based on the belief that "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain...

     – area of theology concerned with Mary, the Mother of Christ.
  • Missiology
    Missiology
    Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work...

     (sometimes a subsection of ecclesiology)—God's will in the world, missions, evangelism, etc.
  • Pneumatology
    Pneumatology
    Pneumatology is the study of spiritual beings and phenomena, especially the interactions between humans and God.Pneuma is Greek for "breath", which metaphorically describes a non-material being or influence....

     – the study of the Holy Spirit
    Holy Spirit
    Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

    , sometimes also 'geist' as in Hegelianism and other philosophico-theological systems
  • Soteriology
    Soteriology
    The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

     – the study of the nature and means of salvation
    Salvation
    Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

    . May include Hamartiology
    Hamartiology
    Hamartiology is the branch of Christian theology, which aims to develop and articulate a doctrine of the biblical concept of sin....

     (the study of sin
    Sin
    In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

    ), Law and Gospel
    Law and Gospel
    In Christianity the relationship between God's Law and the Gospel is a major topic in Lutheran and Reformed theology. In these traditions, the distinction between the doctrines of Law, which demands obedience to God's ethical will, and Gospel, which promises the forgiveness of sins in light of the...

     (the study of the relationship between Divine Law and Divine Grace
    Divine grace
    In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

    , justification, sanctification
  • Theological anthropology – the study of humanity
    Human nature
    Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally....

    , especially as it relates to the divine
  • Theology Proper
    Theology Proper
    Theology Proper is the sub-discipline of Systematic Theology which deals specifically with the being, attributes and works of God.In a Christian setting, this study includes Trinitarian, the Holy Spirit and the study of Jesus Christ . The term Theology Theology Proper is the sub-discipline of...

     – the study of God
    God
    God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

    's attributes, nature, and relation to the world. May include:
    • Theodicy
      Theodicy
      Theodicy is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence , omniscience , and omnipotence . Theodicy is usually concerned with the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to the relevant...

       – attempts at reconciling the existence of evil
      Evil
      Evil is the violation of, or intent to violate, some moral code. Evil is usually seen as the dualistic opposite of good. Definitions of evil vary along with analysis of its root motive causes, however general actions commonly considered evil include: conscious and deliberate wrongdoing,...

       and suffering in the world with the nature and justice of God
    • Apophatic theology
      Negative theology
      Apophatic theology —also known as negative theology or via negativa —is a theology that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God...

       – negative theology which seeks to describe God by negation (e.g., immutable
      Immutability (theology)
      Immutability is the doctrine of classical Christian theism that God cannot change; this has been variously interpreted to mean either that God's nature cannot change but that God can, or that God himself cannot change at all...

      , impassible
      Impassibility
      Impassibility describes the theological doctrine that God does not experience pain or pleasure from the actions of another being. It has often been seen as a consequence of divine aseity, the idea that God is absolutely independent of any other being, i.e., in no way causally dependent...

       ). It is the discussion of what God is not, or the investigation of how language about God breaks down (see the nature of God in Western theology
      The nature of God in Western theology
      The nature of God in monotheistic religions is a broad topic in Western philosophy of religion and theology, with a very old and distinguished history; it was one of the central topics in medieval philosophy....

      ). Apophatic theology often is contrasted with "Cataphatic theology
      Cataphatic theology
      Cataphatic theology is the expressing of God or the divine through positive terminology. This is in contrast to defining God or the divine in what God is not, which is referred to as negative or apophatic theology.-Terminology:...

      ."

A traditional pattern


In many Christian seminaries, the four Great Departments of Theology are:
  1. Exegetical theology
    Exegesis
    Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

  2. Historical theology
    Historical theology
    Historical theology is a branch of theological studies that investigates the socio-historical and cultural mechanisms that give rise to theological ideas, systems, and statements. Research and method in this field focus on the relationship between theology and context as well as the major...

  3. Systematic theology
    Systematic theology
    In the context of Christianity, systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that attempts to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs...

  4. Practical theology
    Practical theology
    Practical theology is the practical application of theology to everyday life. Richard Osmer explains that the four key questions and tasks in practical theology are:# What is going on? # Why is this going on?...



The four departments can usefully be subdivided in the following way:

1. Exegetical theology:
  • Biblical studies
    Biblical studies
    Biblical studies is the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts. For Christianity, the Bible traditionally comprises the New Testament and Old Testament, which together are sometimes called the "Scriptures." Judaism recognizes as scripture only the Hebrew Bible, also known as...

     (analysis of the contents of Scripture)
  • Biblical introduction (inquiry into the origins of the Bible)
  • Canonics
    Biblical canon
    A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

     (inquiry into how the different books of the Bible came to be collected together)
  • Biblical theology
    Biblical Theology
    Biblical theology is a discipline within Christian theology which studies the Bible from the perspective of understanding the progressive history of God revealing Himself to humanity following the Fall and throughout the Old Testament and New Testament...

     (inquiry into how divine revelation progressed over the course of the Bible).


2. Historical theology (study of how Christian theology develops over time):
  • The Patristic Period
    Patristics
    Patristics or Patrology is the study of Early Christian writers, known as the Church Fathers. The names derive from the Latin pater . The period is generally considered to run from the end of New Testament times or end of the Apostolic Age Patristics or Patrology is the study of Early Christian...

     (1st through 8th centuries)
    • The Ante-Nicene Fathers
      Ante-Nicene Fathers
      The Ante-Nicene Fathers, subtitled "The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325", is a collection of books in 10 volumes containing English translations of the majority of Early Christian writings. The period covers the beginning of Christianity until before the promulgation of the Nicene Creed...

       (1st to 3rd centuries)
    • The Nicene Fathers (4th century)
    • The Post-Nicene Fathers
      Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
      A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, usually known as the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers , is a set of books containing translations of early Christian writings into English. It was published between 1886 and 1900...

       (5th to 8th centuries)
  • The Middle Ages
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

     (8th to 16th centuries)
  • The Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

     and Counter-Reformation
    Counter-Reformation
    The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

     (16th to 18th centuries)
  • The Modern Period (18th to 21st centuries)


3. Systematic theology:
  • Prolegomena (first principles)
  • Theology Proper
    Theology Proper
    Theology Proper is the sub-discipline of Systematic Theology which deals specifically with the being, attributes and works of God.In a Christian setting, this study includes Trinitarian, the Holy Spirit and the study of Jesus Christ . The term Theology Theology Proper is the sub-discipline of...

    • The existence of God
    • The attributes of God
    • The Trinity
      Trinity
      The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

    • Creation
    • Divine Providence
      Divine Providence
      In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

  • Doctrine of Man (theological anthropology)
  • Christology
    Christology
    Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

  • Soteriology
    Soteriology
    The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

    • Justification
      Justification (theology)
      Rising out of the Protestant Reformation, Justification is the chief article of faith describing God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice....

    • Sanctification
      Sanctification
      Sanctity is an ancient concept widespread among religions, a property of a thing or person sacred or set apart within the religion, from totem poles through temple vessels to days of the week, to a human believer who achieves this state. Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity,...

  • Pneumatology
    Pneumatology
    Pneumatology is the study of spiritual beings and phenomena, especially the interactions between humans and God.Pneuma is Greek for "breath", which metaphorically describes a non-material being or influence....

     (doctrine of the Holy Spirit
    Holy Spirit
    Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

    )
  • Ecclesiology
    Ecclesiology
    Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

     (doctrine of the Church)
  • Eschatology
    Eschatology
    Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

     and the afterlife
    Afterlife
    The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

    .


4. Practical theology:
  • Moral theology
    Moral theology
    Moral theology is a systematic theological treatment of Christian ethics. It is usually taught on Divinity faculties as a part of the basic curriculum.- External links :*...

     (Christian ethics and casuistry)
  • Ecclesiology
    Ecclesiology
    Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

  • Pastoral theology
    Pastoral theology
    Pastoral theology is the branch of practical theology concerned with the application of the study of religion in the context of regular church ministry. This approach to theology seeks to give practical expression to theology...

    • Liturgics
      Liturgics
      Liturgics is the academic discipline dedicated to the study of liturgy. Liturgics scholars typically specialize in a single approach drawn from another scholarly field. The most common sub-disciplines are: history or church history, theology, and anthropology...

    • Homiletics
    • Christian education
    • Christian counseling
      Christian counseling
      Christian counseling is counseling which draws upon psychology and Christian teaching. Efforts to combine counseling with Christian or other religious perspectives or approaches are sometimes called "integration."...

  • Missiology
    Missiology
    Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work...


Roman Catholic theology


One important branch of Christian theology is Roman Catholic theology
Roman Catholic theology
Roman Catholic theology comprises the "Roman Catholic teachings" of the Catholic Church which bases its conclusions on Scripture and Sacred Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium. The Church teaches that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, keeping of the Ten commandments and...

 which has these major teachings:
  • Biblical canon
    Biblical canon
    A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

     (involvement of Pope Damasus I [b.305]);
  • Absolution (sacerdotal remittance of sin);
  • The Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

     (i.e., of bishops and/or the Pope from the original Apostles);
  • Christology
    Christology
    Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

    ;
  • Ecclesiology
    Ecclesiology
    Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

     since Vatican II;
  • Infant Baptism
    Infant baptism
    Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child." The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or...

     (as first mentioned in Didache
    Didache
    The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

    );
  • Ecumenism
    Ecumenism
    Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

     (the move to reunite churches);
  • Ecumenical Councils (as means to bring about change and/or reform);
  • Icon
    Icon
    An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

     veneration
    Veneration
    Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

    ;
  • The Immaculate Conception
    Immaculate Conception
    The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

     of Mary;
  • Real Presence
    Real Presence
    Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

    ;
  • Liturgy
    Liturgy
    Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

     since Vatican II;
  • Models of the Church (Avery Dulles);
  • Moral Theology
    Moral theology
    Moral theology is a systematic theological treatment of Christian ethics. It is usually taught on Divinity faculties as a part of the basic curriculum.- External links :*...

    /Ethics
    Ethics
    Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

    ;
  • Natural Law
    Natural law
    Natural law, or the law of nature , is any system of law which is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behavior. Natural law is contrasted with the positive law Natural...

    ;
  • Indulgences (i.e., remissions by the Church of some penalties for sin);
  • Mary (Mary as Theotokos
    Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

     [i.e., in Greek, "God-bearer" or "Mother of God"]; as perpetually virgin; the Assumption of Mary
    Assumption of Mary
    According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

    );
  • The Pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

     (i.e., belief that the Pope is the successor of St. Peter, the "rock" on which the Church is built, and therefore the infallible head of Christendom);
  • Purgatory
    Purgatory
    Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

     (a "holding place" after death where souls are purified before entering heaven);
  • Sacerdotalism
    Sacerdotalism
    Sacerdotalism is the idea that a propitiatory sacrifice for sin must be offered by the intervention of an order of men separated to the priesthood...

     (priesthood as intermediary and sacred office; also see priesthood (Catholic Church)
    Priesthood (Catholic Church)
    The ministerial orders of the Catholic Church include the orders of bishops, deacons and presbyters, which in Latin is sacerdos. The ordained priesthood and common priesthood are different in function and essence....

    , Mass (liturgy)
    Mass (liturgy)
    "Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

    , and priesthood in Vatican II);
  • The Sacrament
    Sacrament
    A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

    s; Transubstantiation
    Transubstantiation
    In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

    ; Fermentum
    Fermentum
    Fermentum is a practice of the Early Christian Church whereby bishops affirmed their communion with one another.The custom of the fermentum was first practiced as early as 120 AD. A particle of the Eucharistic bread was carried by a minister of the Church from the bishop of one diocese to the...

    ;
  • Sainthood, canonization
    Canonization
    Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

     and beatification
    Beatification
    Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

    ;
  • Papal Infallibility
    Papal infallibility
    Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when in his official capacity he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals...

     (the Pope being infallible in matters of religion and morality);
  • Tradition (i.e., its authority relative to Scripture and role of Tradition in Church Councils).

Controversial movements


Christians have had theological disagreements since the time of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. Theological disputes have given rise to many schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

s and different Christian denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

s, sects and movements.

Pre-Reformation

  • Alogi
    Alogi
    The Alogi were a group of Christian heretics in Asia Minor that flourished around 170 CE. What we know of them is derived from their doctrinal opponents, whose literature is still extant, particularly St. Epiphanius of Salamis...

     – rejected the doctrine of the Logos
    Logos
    ' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

  • Arianism
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

     – doctrines regarding Christ's divinity;
  • Donatism
    Donatist
    Donatism was a Christian sect within the Roman province of Africa that flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries. It had its roots in the social pressures among the long-established Christian community of Roman North Africa , during the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian...

  • Ebionitism
    Ebionites
    Ebionites, or Ebionaioi, , is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian sect or sects that existed during the first centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus as the Messiah and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish religious law and rites...

  • Gnosticism
    Gnosticism
    Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

     – Generally rejected the goodness of the physical to emphasize the spiritual, also emphasized "hidden teachings."
  • Judaizers
    Judaizers
    Judaizers is predominantly a Christian term, derived from the Greek verb ioudaïzō . This term is most widely known from the single use in the New Testament where Paul publicly challenges Peter for compelling Gentile believers to "judaize", also known as the Incident at Antioch.According to the...

  • Manichaeism
    Manichaeism
    Manichaeism in Modern Persian Āyin e Māni; ) was one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions, originating in Sassanid Persia.Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived...

  • Marcionism
    Marcionism
    Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144; see also Christianity in the 2nd century....

  • Monarchianism
    Monarchianism
    Monarchianism is a set of beliefs that emphasize God as being one person. The term was given to Christians who upheld the "monarchy" of God against the Logos theology of Justin Martyr and apologists who had spoken of Jesus as a second divine person begotten by God the Father before the creation of...

     – doctrines regarding Christ's divinity
    Divinity
    Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

  • Monophysitism
    Monophysitism
    Monophysitism , or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Jesus Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity...

     – doctrines regarding Christ's divinity
  • Montanism
    Montanism
    Montanism was an early Christian movement of the late 2nd century, later referred to by the name of its founder, Montanus, but originally known by its adherents as the New Prophecy...

  • Nazarene (sect)
    Nazarene (sect)
    The Nazarene sect is used in two contexts:* Firstly of the New Testament early church where in Acts 24:5 Paul is accused before Felix at Caesarea by Tertullus of being "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."...

  • Nicolationism
  • Nontrinitarianism
    Nontrinitarianism
    Nontrinitarianism includes all Christian belief systems that disagree with the doctrine of the Trinity, namely, the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases and yet co-eternal, co-equal, and indivisibly united in one essence or ousia...

  • Novatianism
    Novatianism
    The Novatianists were early Christians following Antipope Novatian, held a strict view that refused readmission to communion of Lapsi, those baptized Christians who had denied their faith or performed the formalities of a ritual sacrifice to the pagan gods, under the pressures of the persecution...

  • Pelagianism
    Pelagianism
    Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

     – denial of original sin and helplessness of sinner to save himself, strong affirmation of libertarian free will (see also Semi-Pelagianism)
  • Quartodecimanism
    Quartodecimanism
    Quartodecimanism refers to the custom of some early Christians celebrating Passover beginning with the eve of the 14th day of Nisan , which at dusk is Biblically the "Lord's passover".The modern Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread is seven days, starting with the sunset at...

     – Easter controversy
    Easter controversy
    The Easter controversy is a series of controversies about the proper date to celebrate the Christian holiday of Easter. To date, there are four distinct historical phases of the dispute and the dispute has yet to be resolved...

  • Sabellianism
    Sabellianism
    In Christianity, Sabellianism, is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.The term Sabellianism comes from...

     – doctrines regarding the Trinity, also known as "modalism."
  • Simonianism

Post-Reformation


Because the Reformation promoted the idea that Christians could expound their own views of theology based on the notion of "sola scriptura
Sola scriptura
Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid...

," the Bible alone, many theological distinctions have occurred between the various Protestant denominations. The differences between many of the denominations are relatively minor; however, and this has helped ecumenical efforts in recent times.
  • Adventism – Typified by the Seventh-day Adventist Church
    Seventh-day Adventist Church
    The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

    .
  • Anabaptism
  • Anglicanism
    Anglican doctrine
    Anglican doctrine is the body of Christian teachings used to guide the religious and moral practices of Anglicans.-Approach to doctrine:...

  • Anglo-Catholicism
    Anglo-Catholicism
    The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches....

     – High church
    High church
    The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

     theology of Anglicanism.
  • Arminianism
    Arminianism
    Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius and his historic followers, the Remonstrants...

     – Reaction to Calvinist soteriology
    Soteriology
    The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

    , which affirms man's freedom to accept or reject God's gift of salvation; identified with Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius
    Jacobus Arminius
    Jacobus Arminius , the Latinized name of the Dutch theologian Jakob Hermanszoon from the Protestant Reformation period, served from 1603 as professor in theology at the University of Leiden...

    , developed by Hugo Grotius
    Hugo Grotius
    Hugo Grotius , also known as Huig de Groot, Hugo Grocio or Hugo de Groot, was a jurist in the Dutch Republic. With Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law...

    , defended by the Remonstrants
    Remonstrants
    The Remonstrants are the Dutch Protestants who, after the death of Jacobus Arminius, maintained the views associated with his name. In 1610 they presented to the States of Holland and Friesland a remonstrance in five articles formulating their points of disagreement from Calvinism.-History:The five...

    , and popularized by John Wesley
    John Wesley
    John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...

    . Key doctrine of Anglican and Methodist churches, adopted by many Baptists and some Congregationalist
    Congregational church
    Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

    s.
  • Brethrenism: Anabaptist-Pietist, with Open and Exclusive streams.
  • Calvinism
    Calvinism
    Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

     – System of soteriology advanced by French
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     Reformer
    Protestant Reformers
    Protestant Reformers were those theologians, churchmen, and statesmen whose careers, works, and actions brought about the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century...

     John Calvin
    John Calvin
    John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

    , which espouses Augustinian
    St. Augustine
    -People:* Augustine of Hippo or Augustine of Hippo , father of the Latin church* Augustine of Canterbury , first Archbishop of Canterbury* Augustine Webster, an English Catholic martyr.-Places:*St. Augustine, Florida, United States...

     views on election and reprobation; stresses absolute predestination
    Predestination
    Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

    , the sovereignty of God and the inability of man to effect his own salvation by believing the Gospel prior to regeneration
    Regeneration (theology)
    Regeneration, while sometimes perceived to be a step in the Ordo salutis , is generally understood in Christian theology to be the objective work of God in a believer's life. Spiritually, it means that God brings Christians to new life from a previous state of subjection to the decay of death...

    ; principle doctrines are often summarized by the acronym TULIP
    Tulip
    The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, which comprises 109 species and belongs to the family Liliaceae. The genus's native range extends from as far west as Southern Europe, North Africa, Anatolia, and Iran to the Northwest of China. The tulip's centre of...

     (see Canons of Dort
    Canons of Dort
    The Canons of Dort, or Canons of Dordrecht, formally titled The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands, is the judgment of the National Synod held in the Dutch city of Dordrecht in 1618–19...

    ).
  • Charismaticism
    Charismatic movement
    The term charismatic movement is used in varying senses to describe 20th century developments in various Christian denominations. It describes an ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopt...

     – Movement in many Protestant and some Catholic churches that emphasizes the gifts of the Spirit and the continual working of the Holy Spirit within the body of Christ; often associated with glossolalia
    Glossolalia
    Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables, often as part of religious practice. The significance of glossolalia has varied with time and place, with some considering it a part of a sacred language...

     (i.e., speaking in tongues) and divine healing.
  • Congregationalism
    Congregationalist polity
    Congregationalist polity, often known as congregationalism, is a system of church governance in which every local church congregation is independent, ecclesiastically sovereign, or "autonomous"...

     – Form of governance used in Congregationalist, Baptist, and Pentecostal churches in which each congregation is self-governing and independent of all others.
  • Counter-Reformation
    Counter-Reformation
    The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

     (or Catholic Reformation): The Roman Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

     (see also Council of Trent
    Council of Trent
    The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

    ).
  • Creation Spirituality – Panentheist theology.
  • Deism
    Deism
    Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

     – The general doctrine that no faith is necessary for justified belief in God's existence and/or the doctrine that God does not intervene in earthly affairs (contrasts with Fideism
    Fideism
    Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths...

    ).
  • Dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

     – Belief in a conservative, Biblically literalist hermeneutic and philosophy of history
    Philosophy of history
    The term philosophy of history refers to the theoretical aspect of history, in two senses. It is customary to distinguish critical philosophy of history from speculative philosophy of history...

     that, by stressing the dichotomy between Israel and the Church, rejects supercessionism (commonly referred to as "replacement theology").
  • Evangelicalism
    Evangelicalism
    Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

     – Typically conservative, predominantly Protestant outlook that prioritizes evangelism
    Evangelism
    Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

     above all or most other activities of the Church (see also neo-evangelicalism).
  • Fideism
    Fideism
    Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths...

     – The doctrine that faith is irrational, that God's existence transcends logic, and that all knowledge of God is on the basis of faith (contrasts with Deism
    Deism
    Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

    ).
  • Latitudinarian
    Latitudinarian
    Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th-century English theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance...

    ism: Broad church theology of Anglicanism.
  • Liberalism
    Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

     – Belief in interpreting the Bible to allow for the maximum amount of individual freedom.
  • Low church
    Low church
    Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups...

     – Puritan
    Puritan
    The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

    ical / Evangelical
    Evangelicalism
    Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

     theology of Anglicanism.
  • Methodism
    Methodism
    Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

     – Form of church governance and doctrine used in the Methodist Church.
  • Modernism
    Modernism
    Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

     – Belief that truth changes, so doctrine must evolve in light of new information or trends.
  • Latter Day Saint movement
    Latter Day Saint movement
    The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

     (Mormonism
    Mormonism
    Mormonism is the religion practiced by Mormons, and is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement. This movement was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. beginning in the 1820s as a form of Christian primitivism. During the 1830s and 1840s, Mormonism gradually distinguished itself...

    ): Belief that the Book of Mormon
    Book of Mormon
    The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2600 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr...

     and others to be additional divine scriptures; belief in living prophets; generally reject the Nicene creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

     and other early creeds.
  • New Thought
    New Thought
    New Thought promotes the ideas that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect.Although New Thought is neither...

     – Movement based on 19th century New England
    New England
    New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

     belief in positive thinking. Several denominations arose from it including Unity Church
    Unity Church
    Unity, known informally as Unity Church, is a religious movement within the wider New Thought movement and is best known to many through its Daily Word devotional publication...

    , and Religious Science
    Religious Science
    Religious Science, also known as Science of Mind, was established in 1927 by Ernest Holmes and is a spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical religious movement within the New Thought movement. In general, the term "Science of Mind" applies to the teachings, while the term "Religious Science"...

    .
  • Nonconformism
    Nonconformism
    Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

     – Advocacy of religious liberty; includes Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists and Salvationists.
  • Nontrinitarianism
    Nontrinitarianism
    Nontrinitarianism includes all Christian belief systems that disagree with the doctrine of the Trinity, namely, the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases and yet co-eternal, co-equal, and indivisibly united in one essence or ousia...

     – Rejection of the doctrine of Trinity
    Trinity
    The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

    .
  • Open Theism
    Open theism
    Open theism is a recent theological movement that has developed within evangelical and post-evangelical Protestant Christianity as a response to certain ideas that are related to the synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian theology...

     – A rejection of the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, by attribuiting it to Greek philosophy.
  • Pentecostalism
    Pentecostalism
    Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

  • Pietism
    Pietism
    Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

     – A stream of Lutheranism placing renewed emphasis on the Bible and a universal priesthood of all believers.
  • Presbyterianism
    Presbyterianism
    Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

     – Form of governance used in Presbyterian and Reformed churches.
  • Puritan
    Puritan
    The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

    ism: Movement to cleanse Episcopalianism of any "ritualistic" aspects.
  • Supersessionism
    Supersessionism
    Supersessionism is a term for the dominant Christian view of the Old Covenant, also called fulfillment theology and replacement theology, though the latter term is disputed...

     – Belief that the Christian Church, the body of Christ, is the only elect people of God in the new covenant age (see also covenant theology
    Covenant Theology
    Covenant theology is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible...

    ).
  • Restoration Movement
    Restoration Movement
    The Restoration Movement is a Christian movement that began on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century...

     – 19th century attempt to return to a New Testament
    New Testament
    The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

     model of the Church.
  • Restorationism (Christian primitivism) – The doctrine that most of the modern Church is apostate; includes the Millerites
    Millerites
    The Millerites were the followers of the teachings of William Miller who, in 1833, first shared publicly his belief in the coming Second Advent of Jesus Christ in roughly the year 1843.-Origins:...

    , Seventh-day Adventists
    Seventh-day Adventist Church
    The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

    , Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

    , and Latter Day Saints.
  • Salvation Army
    Salvation Army
    The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

     – An offshoot of the Methodist Church known for its charitable activities
  • Tractarianism – Oxford Movement
    Oxford Movement
    The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

    . It led to Anglo-Catholicism.
  • Ultramontanism
    Ultramontanism
    Ultramontanism is a religious philosophy within the Roman Catholic community that places strong emphasis on the prerogatives and powers of the Pope...

     – A movement within 19th-century Roman Catholicism to emphasize papal authority, particularly in the wake of the French Revolution and the secularization of the state
  • Unification Church
    Unification Church
    The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea, as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity . In 1994, Moon gave the church...

  • Unitarianism
    Unitarianism
    Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

     – Rejects a holy "Trinity" and also the divinity of Christ, with some exceptions (see modalism).
  • Universalism
    Universalism
    Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

     – In various forms, the belief that all people will ultimately be reconciled with God; most famously defended by Origen
    Origen
    Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

    .

Contemporary theological movements


In addition to the movements listed above, the following are some of the movements found amongst Christian theologians:
  • Black theology
    Black theology
    Black theology refers to a variety of Black theologies which have as their base the liberation of the marginalized, especially the injustice done towards Blacks in American and South African contexts...

  • Anarchism
    Christian anarchism
    Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that combines anarchism and Christianity. It is the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus...

  • Conservative Christianity
    Conservative Christianity
    Conservative Christianity is a term applied to a number of groups or movements seen as giving priority to traditional Christian beliefs and practices...

  • Covenant Theology
    Covenant Theology
    Covenant theology is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible...

  • Dalit theology
    Dalit theology
    Dalit theology is a branch of Christian theology that emerged among the Dalit caste in India in the 1980s. It shares a number of themes with liberation theology, which arose two decades earlier, including a self-identity as a people undergoing Exodus. Dalit theology sees hope in the "Nazareth...

     (a form of liberation theology developed in India)
  • Dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

  • Orthodox Christianity
    Eastern Orthodox Church
    The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

  • Emerging church
    Emerging Church
    The emerging church is a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants can be described as evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, post-evangelical, anabaptist, adventist, liberal, post-liberal, reformed, charismatic,...

  • Evangelicalism
    Evangelicalism
    Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

  • Feminist theology
    Feminist theology
    Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective...

  • Fundamentalism
    Fundamentalist Christianity
    Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

  • Holocaust theology
    Holocaust theology
    Holocaust theology refers to a body of theological and philosophical debate and reflection, and related literature, primarily within Judaism, that attempts to come to grips with various conflicting views about the role of God in the universe and the human world in light of the Holocaust of the late...

     (In response to the horrors of the Holocaust
    The Holocaust
    The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

     especially in relation to Theodicy
    Theodicy
    Theodicy is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence , omniscience , and omnipotence . Theodicy is usually concerned with the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to the relevant...

    )
  • Liberal theology
  • Liberation theology
    Liberation theology
    Liberation theology is a Christian movement in political theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions...

  • Lutheranism
    Lutheranism
    Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

  • Methodism
    Methodism
    Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

  • Narrative theology
    Narrative theology
    Postliberal theology began as a late 20th-century development in Christian Theology. It proposes that the Church's use of the Bible should focus on a narrative presentation of the faith as regulative for the development of a coherent systematic theology...

     – studying a narrative presentation of the faith rather than dogmatic development.
  • Neo-orthodoxy
    Neo-orthodoxy
    Neo-orthodoxy, in Europe also known as theology of crisis and dialectical theology,is an approach to theology in Protestantism that was developed in the aftermath of the First World War...

     (also known as "dialectical theology" and "crisis theology", stemming from the works of Søren Kierkegaard
    Søren Kierkegaard
    Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

     and Karl Barth
    Karl Barth
    Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

    )
  • New Church
  • New Covenant Theology
    New Covenant Theology
    New Covenant Theology is a Christian theological system which teaches that the Old Testament Laws have been fulfilled and abrogated or cancelled with Christ's death, and replaced with the Law of Christ of the New Covenant. It shares similarities and yet is distinct from Dispensationalism and...

  • Paleo-Orthodoxy
    Paleo-Orthodoxy
    Paleo-orthodoxy is a broad Christian theological movement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries which focuses on the consensual understanding of the faith among the Ecumenical Councils and Church Fathers...

  • Pentecostalism
    Pentecostalism
    Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

  • Personalism
    Personalism
    Personalism is a philosophical school of thought searching to describe the uniqueness of a human person in the world of nature, specifically in relation to animals...

  • Postliberal theology
  • Postmodern theology
  • Process theology
    Process theology
    Process theology is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and further developed by Charles Hartshorne . While there are process theologies that are similar, but unrelated to the work of Whitehead the term is generally applied to the...

  • Progressive theology
    Progressive Christianity
    Progressive Christianity is the name given to a movement within contemporary Christianity characterized by willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity with a strong emphasis on social justice or care for the poor and the oppressed and environmental stewardship of the Earth...

  • Queer Theology
  • Relational care theology
  • Quakerism
    Religious Society of Friends
    The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

  • Restoration Movement
    Restoration Movement
    The Restoration Movement is a Christian movement that began on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century...

  • Revisionist theology
  • Roman Catholic Christianity
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

  • Thomism
    Thomism
    Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, his commentaries on Aristotle are his most lasting contribution...

  • Transcendental Theology
    Transcendental theology
    Transcendental theology is a term coined by Immanuel Kant to describe a method of discerning theological concepts. Kantdivided transcendental theology into "ontotheology" and "cosmotheology", both of which he also coined, "in order to distinguish between two competing types of 'transcendental...


See also



  • Biblical canon
    Biblical canon
    A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

  • Catholic–Orthodox theological differences
    Catholic–Orthodox theological differences
    This article discusses Catholic–Orthodox theological differences, based on the views of some Eastern Orthodox Church and Catholic Church theologians on what they see as differences between their theologies, along with ecclesiastical differences...

  • Christian anarchism
    Christian anarchism
    Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that combines anarchism and Christianity. It is the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus...

  • Christian ecumenism
  • Christian worship
    Christian worship
    In Christianity, worship is adoration and contemplation of God.-Overview:Throughout most of Christianity's history, corporate Christian worship has been primarily liturgical, characterized by prayers and hymns, with texts rooted in, or closely related to, the Scripture, particularly the Psalter;...

  • Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Ecumenism
    Ecumenism
    Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

  • Emerging Church
    Emerging Church
    The emerging church is a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants can be described as evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, post-evangelical, anabaptist, adventist, liberal, post-liberal, reformed, charismatic,...

  • Fundamentalist Christianity
    Fundamentalist Christianity
    Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

  • Heresy
    Heresy
    Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

  • Liberal Christianity
    Liberal Christianity
    Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century and onward...

  • List of Christian theologians
  • List of Methodist theologians
  • Neo-Orthodoxy
    Neo-orthodoxy
    Neo-orthodoxy, in Europe also known as theology of crisis and dialectical theology,is an approach to theology in Protestantism that was developed in the aftermath of the First World War...

  • Protestant Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

  • Roman Catholicism
  • Vatican II
  • Theology
    Theology
    Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

  • Wesleyan Quadrilateral
    Wesleyan Quadrilateral
    The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a methodology for theological reflection that is credited to John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement in the late 18th Century. The term itself was coined by 20th century American Methodist Albert C...

  • Word of Faith
    Word of Faith
    Word of Faith is a family of Christian churches as well as a label applied by some observers to a teaching movement kindred to many Pentecostal and charismatic churches and individuals worldwide. The basic doctrine preached is that of salvation through Jesus Christ and what that salvation entails...


External links