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Theological Essay Topics

Theology Topics

Included here are various topics that relate to theological issues, especially ministry and Christian growth in the context of the Church. Also included are historical documents of the Church, including many of the classic creeds and confessions of the Church, as well as contemporary Articles of Faith and position statements.

Theological Issues

Short essay contrasting theology seen as absolute truth and theology understood as testimony conditioned by time and place.

A simple chart listing the major differences between the five points of classical Calvinism and corresponding Wesleyan-Arminian views.

Comparison of the basic perspectives of Arminianism and classic Calvinism, concluding that most modern-day churches that cling to Calvinism in doctrine are actually Arminian-Wesleyan in practice, as well as noting the need for balance between the extremes of either position.

Examination of the Christian doctrine of security, contrasting the two extremes of unconditional security and eternal insecurity, concluding with a middle position that emphasizes God's grace in mutual relationship.

A discussion of the logical and biblical problems with the idea of predestination and the absolute foreknowledge of God, with a proposal for an incarnational model of God rather than a metaphysical one.

Examination of the word "change" in Malachi 3:6-7a as a proof text for the immutability of God.

A detailed essay examining from a biblical perspective the tension between the death of Jesus as predestined by God, or as the result of human decisions; concludes by examining the implications of this tension for theories of the atonement.

The concept of the 'pre-existence of the Son' in systematic theology in relation to the historical dimension of the biblical witness to God, highlighting the differences in method and goals of systematic theology and biblical interpretation.

A discussion of the roots of the debates about biblical inerrancy, their impact on the church, the relation to various theories of inspirations, and inerrancy in relation to Faith Statements about Scripture.

An examination of the theological basis for the renewed emphasis on "word and table" as the structure for Christian worship in some historically low church traditions.

Short article distinguishing humanism from secularism and atheism, concluding that some of the the biblical perspective is humanistic, but is sacral humanism in which all of life is placed under God, which calls for a careful balance in how the term "humanism" is used pejoratively.

A reflection on the problem of natural evil in the world, challenging the common assumptions about God that force the question to be framed in certain ways, suggesting that the problem is actually created in how we view the nature of God and the expectation of how he should work in the world.

An analysis of biblical perspectives on the Second Coming of Christ, in contrast to many popular ideas of the rapture.

A detailed look at the popular concepts surrounding the Second Coming, the millennial reign of Christ, and the rapture with an analysis of their biblical basis from a Wesleyan theological perspective.

A brief survey of some of the problems with the idea of a secret rapture and speculations about end times.

A series of ten biblical and theological questions that appear to have easy answers, but require a little more reflection to avoid folk theology.

A short article in outline format that compares the classical philosophical idea of ex nihilo creation ("out of nothing") with a more biblical model of creation out of chaos.

Theology and the Church

An essay on the Protestant Principle of "Faith Alone" traced through Habakkuk, Paul, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, concluding that genuine Faith is faithfulness in commitment to God despite circumstances and religious ideas about God.

Essay on the need for dialog in the Church of the Nazarene on homosexuality with suggested parameters for that dialog.

A brief survey of the inadequacy of traditional ways of expressing the doctrine of entire sanctification, proposing that the relational concept of love of both God and others provides an overarching and inclusive model.

A frankly negative evaluation of the current state of the holiness movement in traditional holiness churches, concluding with a positive outlook for the future of the holiness message and the rise of a new emphasis on holiness.

A reflective article based on Nehemiah 13 addressing the tendency of religious traditions to drift from their original purpose and vision as they move further away from their origins; suggestions for maintaining religious identity.

A biblically based reflective essay dealing with the mission of the Church and implications for ministry and education in the church in light of that mission.  Note:  If printed, this will take 25-30 pages.

Dr. M. V. Scutt is now retired, but served as the District Superintendent, Southwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene.  This is his 1995 Annual Report to the District Assembly in which he lays a theological foundation from the Wesleyan tradition for the evangelistic mission of the Church.

Examination of the popular idea of "born Again" used by some evangelicals, its biblical background, and what the biblical and traditional concept of "new birth" means.

Some people have a false view of God as vindictive and judgmental, when in fact God is presented in the Bible as gracious, loving, and forgiving.

A short article providing practical guidelines for ethical decision making based on biblical moral principles.

Series

A reference archive and a short history of various creeds and confessions of the Christian Faith from all periods of Church History, including the Ecumenical Creeds, Creeds of the Reformation, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, the Reformed Tradition, the Wesleyan Tradition, Modern Faith Statements, and Various Position Statements.

A collection of biblical studies, theological reflections, and general articles that address primarily the topic of women in ministry, as well as other topics related to women in the Church.

Links to online articles dealing with the general topic of women in ministry.

Selected writings from the history of the church that address significant or relevant issues facing the church today. Since there are many sites on the web that contain the full text of many historical writings, those presented here will normally be limited to short excerpts that have particular relevance to ongoing discussions in the various forums, are not easily available elsewhere, or are presented in digested or edited form to make them more readable.

John Wesley's Sermon "Catholic Spirit" in modern English
John Wesley on Differences of Opinion Among Christians
The Question, “What Is an Arminian?” Answered by a Lover of Free Grace (John Wesley)
John Calvin on Infant Baptism
C. S. Lewis on Inerrancy, Inspiration, and Historicity
Women's Speaking Justified, Proved, and Allowed by the Scriptures (Margaret Fell Fox)
Female Ministry; or, Woman's Right to Preach the Gospel (Catherine Booth)

A series of articles examining the concern with the idea of holiness of heart and life in the history of the church.

Psalm 51 and the Language of Transformation (Dennis Bratcher)

Holiness in the Early Church (Jirair Tashjian)

The Holiness Movement: Dead or Alive? (Keith Drury)

Sin and Holiness (Brad Mercer) [Dutch]

The Holiness Manifesto

-Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2013, Dennis Bratcher - All Rights Reserved
See Copyright and User Information Notice

All questions and answers are taken from The Theology Program courses.

##1-44 IT - Introduction to Theology

##45-91 BH - Bibliology Hermeneutics

##92-133 TR - Trinitarianism

##134-174 HUM - Humanity and Sin

##175-211 SOT - Soteriology

##212-258 ECC - Ecclesiology and Eschatology

Those sections correspond to courses: http://bible.org/article/theology-program

258 Questions about Theology

(Prolegomena)

1. What is theology?

2. Who is a theologian?

3. What is Tabloid Theology? (essential)

4. What is Folk Theology? (essential)

5. What are the other ways people “do” theology?

6. What are the different categories of theology?

7. What are the categories of systematic theology?

8. How What is biblical, historical, philosophical, creedal, and apologetic theology?

9. How does one “do” theology right? (essential)

10. Why are there so many different theologies out there?

11. What is the study of the way people come to know truth?

12. What is the difference in relative truth and objective truth?

13. What is Postmodernism? (essential)

14. Where did Postmodernism come from? (essential)

15. What are the key characteristics of Postmodernism?

16. What difficult questions was the church challenged by with moderns?

17. What difficult questions is the church challenged by with postmoderns?

18. What is the basic difference between modernism and postmodernism?

19. What is the modern view of truth?

20. What is the postmodern view of truth?

21. What is the Christian view of truth? (essential)

22. What truths are relative and what truths are objective?

23. What truths are relative?

24. What truths are objective?

25. What truths are essential for a believer to hold to be considered orthodox?

26. How certain should we be about our beliefs? (essential)

27. What is the “big picture” difference between Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism? (essential and controversial)

28. How do Protestants view Church History? (essential and controversial)

29. How do Roman Catholics view Church History? (essential and controversial)

30. How do Eastern Orthodox view Church History? (essential and controversial)

31. Why are there so many Protestant denominations? (essential and controversial)

32. Where do we go for truth?

33. How do the various Christian traditions view truth? - Part 1

34. How do the various Christian traditions view truth? - Part 2

35. How do my traditions, reason, experiences, and general revelation contribute to my theology? (essential and controversial)

36. What do emotions and special revelation contribute to my theology? (essential and controversial)

37. Does God still speak today? (essential and controversial)

38. Why do some people believe that God still speaks today? (essential and controversial)

39. Why do some people say that God does not speak through prophets today? Part 1 (essential and controversial)

40. Why do some people say that God does not speak through prophets today? Part 2 (essential and controversial)

41. What is the Soft Cessationist view of prophecy? (essential and controversial)

42. Can we have unity and diversity in the Church? - Part 1

43. Can we have unity and diversity in the Church? - Part 2

44. How do we do theology in our culture today?

Questions about Authority and the Bible (Bibliology)

45. How do Christian traditions have unity in diversity? (essential and controversial)

46. Who do we trust for Christian authority? (essential and controversial)

47. What is Tradition? (essential and controversial)

48. What are the five main view for Christian authority? (essential and controversial)

49. Is the Scripture all we need? (essential and controversial)

50. What are the arguments for Sola Ecclesia (the Roman Catholic view of authority in the Church)? (essential and controversial)

51. What are the arguments against Sola Ecclesia (the Roman Catholic view of authority in the Church)? Part 1 (essential and controversial)

52. What are the arguments against Sola Ecclesia (the Roman Catholic view of authority in the Church)? Part 2 (essential and controversial)

53. Is the Bible alone the only infallible source for authority (sola Scriptura)? (essential and controversial)

54. Has the text of Scripture changed since it was first written? (essential)

55. How was the text of Scripture transferred from one generation to the next? Part 1 (essential)

56. How was the text of Scripture transferred from one generation to the next? Part 2

57. How was the text of Scripture transferred from one generation to the next? Part 3

58. How accurate are Scriptures?

59. Do we have the right books? (essential)

60. What are the facts concerning the canon? (essential)

61. What are the tests of canonicity? (essential)

62. What are the arguments for the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal books of the Roman Catholic Bible? (essential and controversial)

63. What are the argumentsagainst the inclusion of the
Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal books of the Roman Catholic Bible? (essential and controversial)

64. Basic overview of the canon of the Old Testament

65. How were the New Testament books decided upon? Part 1 (essential)

66. How were the New Testament books decided upon? Part 2 (essential)

67. How were the New Testament book decided upon? Part 3 (essential)

68. What is the doctrine of inspiration? (essential)

69. What is the biblical view of inspiration? (essential)

70. What are the different theories of inspiration? (controversial)

71. Howdoes inspiration occur?

72. What is the most common mistake that evangelicals make with regard to their understanding of the inspiration of the Scriptures? (essential)

73. How do we know the Bible is inspired? (essential)

74. What is the internal evidence for the inspiration of Scripture? Part 1 (essential)

75. What is the internal evidence for the inspiration of Scripture? Part 2 (essential)

76. What is the external evidence for the inspiration of Scripture? Part 1 (essential)

77. What is the external evidence for the inspiration of Scripture? Part 2 (essential)

78. Does the Bible err? (essential and controversial)

79. How is inerrancy different from infallibility?

80. Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy (essential)

81. What are the objections and responses to inerrancy? (essential and controversial)

82. What about all the “contradictions” in the Bible? (essential and controversial)

83. How have people historically interpreted Scripture?

84. How did the Rabbis interpret the Old Testament in Christ's day?

85. How did the Apostles interpret the Old Testament?

86. How did the early Church interpret Scripture?

87. How did people interpret Scripture during the medieval period?

88. How did the Reformers interpret Scripture? (essential)

89. What is the modern way of interpreting Scripture? (essential)

90. What are the basic principles of biblical interpretation? (essential)

91. What are some common interpretative fallacies? (essential)

Questions about God (Theology Proper)

92. What is a worldview? (essential)

93. What is a theistic worldview? (essential)

94. What are deistic, pantheistic, and panentheistic worldviews?

95. What are polytheistic, naturalistic, and pluralistic worldviews?

96. Canfinite humans understand the infinite God? (controversial)

97. Is human language adequate to describe God? (controversial)

98. Why do peopleobject to the study of God's existence? Part 1 (controversial)

99. Why do peopleobject to the study of God's existence? Part 2 (controversial)

100. Why do peopleobject to the study of God's existence? Part 3 (controversial)

101. Can we prove that God exists? (essential and controversial)

102. What are the arguments against the existence of God? (essential and controversial)

103. What are the arguments for the existence of God? Part 1(essential and controversial)

104. What are the argumentsfor the existence of God?Part 2(essential and controversial)

105. What makes God, God? (essential)

106. How is simplicity an attribute of God? (controversial)

107. How is the simplicity of God to be defined? (controversial)

108. What are the objections to simplicity? (controversial)

109. How is eternality an attribute of God? (controversial)

110. How is immutability an attribute of God? (essential and controversial)

111. What are the objections to immutability? (essential and controversial)

112. How is omnipresence and attribute of God? (essential)

113. What is the doctrine of aseity? (essential)

114. How is omniscience an attribute of God? (essential)

115. How is omnipotence an attribute of God?

116. How is sovereignty an attribute of God? (controversial)

117. Other communicable attributes of God?

118. An evaluation of Openess Theology? (controversial)

119. How did the early church understand the Trinity? (essential)

120. What are the early Trinitarian heresies? Part 1 (essential)

121. What are the early Trinitarian heresies? Part 2 (essential)

122. What is the importance of the ecumenical councils? (essential)

123. What are some of the difficulties in communicating the doctrine of the Trinity?

Questions about Christ (Christology)

124. How did the early Church understand the humanity of Christ? (essential)

125. What is Apollinarianism? (essential)

126. What is Nestorianism? (essential)

127. What is Monophysitism? (essential)

128. How did the Council of Chalcedon affect Christology? (essential)

129. What are the different interpretations of Chalcedon?

130. What do the Scriptures say about the humanity of Christ?

131. Why was Christ born of a virgin?

132. What does it mean that Christ emptied Himself? (essential and controversial)

133. Was Christ able to sin? (controversial)

Questions about Humanity and Sin (Anthropology and Harmartiology)

134. What is Anthropology?

135. Why did God create man?, Part 1

136. Why did God create man?, Part 2

137. What is our essential nature?

138. What is Monism?

139. What is Trichotomy?

140. What is the constitution of man?

141. What is the response to trichotomy?

142. What is dichotomy?

143. What is conditional unity?

144. What is Gnostic dualism?

145. What are the negative effects of Gnosticism?

146. When and how was our soul created? Part 1

147. When and how was our soul created? Part 2

148. What does it mean that we are in the image of God?

149. What else does it mean to be created in the image of God?

150. What are the aspects of the image of God within man?

151. How did the Fall affect the imago dei?

152. How far did we fall?

153. What does Scripture say about the Fall? Part 1

154. What does Scripture say about the Fall? Part 2

155. What are the different types of sin?

156. What is Pelagianism?

157. What is Augustinianism?

158. What is the Augustinian view of Original Sin? Parts 1

159. What is the Augustinian view of Original Sin? Parts 2

160. What is the Arminian view of Original Sin?

161. What is Original Sin?

162. Is there such a thing as Free Will? Part 1

163. What are the different positions on Free Will?

164. What are the different Free Will views of responsibility?

165. What are the problems with the different views of Free Will?

166. Is there such a thing as Free Will? Part 2

167. What is the theological difference between men and women?

168. What are the two main theological positions on the difference between men and women?

169. What is the Egalitarian view?

170. What is the response to Egalitarianism?

171. What is Complementarianism?

172. What is the defense of Complementarianism? Part 1

173. What is the defense of Complementarianism? Part 2

174. What is the response to Complementarianism?

 

Questions about Salvation (Soteriology)

175. What does it mean to be saved?

176. What is salvation?

177. What is the process of salvation (ordo salutis)?

178. How do various Christian traditions view salvation differently? (essential)

179. What does it mean to be predestined? (essential and controversial)

180. What is the doctrine of election? (essential and controversial)

181. What is a defense of unconditional election (essential and controversial)

182. Is election conditioned upon my choice? (essential and controversial)

183. What is a defense of conditional election (essential and controversial)

184. What are the arguments against conditional election (essential and controversial)

185. Is predestination fair? (essential and controversial)

186. Does God predestine people to Hell? (controversial)

187. Why did Christ die on the Cross? (essential)

188. What is the Recapitulation theory of the Atonement?

189. What is the Governmental Theory of the atonement?

190. What is the Ransom to Satan Theory of the atonement?

191. What is the Satisfaction Theory of the atonement?

192. What is the Moral Example Theory of the atonement?

193. What is the Governmental Theory of the atonement?

194. What is the Substitution Theory of the atonement? (essential)

195. For whom did Christ die? (controversial)

196. Can we say no to the Gospel? (controversial)

197. What does born again mean?

198. Does regeneration precede faith? (controversial)

199. What does it mean to have faith?

200. What does it mean to repent?

201. Can someone be saved without repenting?

202. What does one ultimately have to do to be saved? (essential)

203. How is a person justified before God?

204. What is the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view of justification?

205. What is the Roman Catholic view of justification? (essential)

206. What is the Protestant view of justification? (essential)

207. How does one become a better Christian?

208. What are the basic principles of sanctification?

209. Can a believer lose their salvation? (essential and controversial)

210. What are the arguments of those who say you can lose your salvation? (essential and controversial)

211. What are the arguments of those who say you cannot lose your savation? (essential and controversial)

Questions about the Church (Ecclesiology)

212. What is the story of Christianity?

213. What is the Church? (essential)

214. What is the nature of the Church? (essential)

215. How do the various traditions view the nature of the Church differently?

216. What is the Dispensational and Replacement views of the Church? (controversial)

217. What is the relationship between the Church and Israel? (controversial)

218. What is Replacement Theology? (controversial)

219. What is Classic Dispensationalism? (controversial)

220. A defense of Classic Dispensationalism (controversial)

221. What is Progressive Dispensationalism? (controversial)

222. What is Progressive Covenantalism? (controversial)

223. What is the difference between Israel and the Church? (controversial)

224. What is the purpose of the Church? Part 1

225. What is the purpose of the Church? (Why is the Church here and not in heaven?) Part 2

226. What is the purpose of the Church? Part 3

227. What purposes are limited to those that can be accomplished only on the earth?

228. What are the ministries of the Church?

229. What ministries does your local church have?

230. What constitutes a local church? Part 1

231. What constitutes a local church? Part 2

232. What constitutes a local church? Part 3

234. What is worship, teaching, fellowship, evangelistic outreach, and in-reach?

235. What is an ordinance/sacrament? Part 1

236. What is an ordinance/sacrament? Part 2

237. What is baptism? (controversial)

238. What is the Lord’s Supper? (controversial)

239. How is the Church equipped to accomplish its ministry?

240. What are the different views of spiritual gifts? (controversial)

241. What are spiritual gifts? (controversial)

242. How many spiritual gifts are there? Part 1 (controversial)

243. How many spiritual gifts are there? Part 2

244. What are the marks of a false church? Part 1 (essential)

245. What are the marks of a false church? Part 2 (essential)

246. What are different models of church government? (controversial)

247. How should the church organize its government? Part 1 (controversial)

248. How should the church organize its government? Part 2 (controversial)

Questions about the End Times (Eschatology)

249. What is eschatology?

250. What are the different views of the millennium? (controversial)

251. What are the arguments for postmillennialism? (controversial)

252. What are the arguments for amillennialism? (controversial)

253. What are the arguments for premillennialism? (controversial)

254. What are the different views of the rapture? (controversial)

255. What is the pre-tribulational view? (controversial)

256. What is the mid-tribulational view? (controversial)

257. What is the post-tribulational view? (controversial)

258. Questions about Heaven and Hell

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