'Theology Proper' Is the Heart of Christian Doctrine
What distinguishes Christian theology from others is the God it describes.
The consequences of this distinction run throughout Christian life.
A few examples from within my arm's reach:
Catherine of Siena and/or Julian of Norwich.
"These Things Are True of You."
Fleming Rutledge, "The Trinity in the Last Ditch."
Telford Work, Ain't Too Proud to Beg (here's a selection).
Yet our culture structurally rejects Christianity (cf. Craig Gay).
This makes God problematic:
Freud: God is an overbearing parent who postpones our maturity.
Feuerbach: God is a safe in which we lock away our human potential.
Marx: God is an Orwellian extension of the power of owners and kings.
Radical Feminism: God is a projection of male power.
Secularism: God is a philosophical mistake that dulls curiosity and saps ambition.
Theology as a History of God's Being Known Velli-Matti Kårkkåinnen, The Doctrine of God: A Global Introduction:
Our course traces the doctrine of God across Christian eras and cultures.
What Knowing This God Means: Theology for Spirituality
Michael Downey, Altogether Gift: A Trinitarian Spirituality:
God gives himself for us to know in order to include us in his life.
This kind of knowledge is uniquely divine, yet determinative of all other (cf. Miroslav Volf).
Definitive Moves from the First Christian Centuries Robert Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought:
Early Christian theologians grounded their whole tradition in the God of Jesus Christ.
This rethinking already characterizes the New Testament era
(cf. Marianne Thompson, Richard Bauckham).
Their conclusions have decisively shaped all Christianity ever since.
Scholastic Precision from the Middle Ages
Henri de Lubac, The Discovery of God:
Scholastic theology synthesizes natural and supernatural divine knowledge.
Scholastic theology draws (too much?) from Jewish and Muslim theology (cf. David Burrell).
The movement is surviving both Protestantism and modernity.
Supreme Initiative from the Reformation
Colin Gunton, Act and Being:
Thomas Aquinas' scholastic synthesis misdirects theology:
God's attributes float free from Trinitarian specifics.
Priority to naturalism creates room for secular modernity and agnosticism.
The doctrine of God is newly contested after the Reformations (cf. Herman Bavinck, Karen Armstrong, Lesslie Newbigin).
The results are catastrophic for Christianity and the West.
This Protestant theology grounds divine attributes in the God of Jesus Christ.
Contemporary Theology Looks for Ways Back/Forward
Contemporarily movements take a variety of shapes:
Openness theology reconceives God's relationship with the world (cf. Clark Pinnock).
Liberation theology radicalizes God's identification with the poor (cf. Leonardo Boff).
Black theology radicalizes God's identification with African-Americans (cf. Major Jones).
Feminist theology radicalizes God's identification with women (cf. Elizabeth Johnson).
Robert Jenson, Systematic Theology vol. 1: The Triune God:
Knowledge of God has suffered from philosophical overreaching, Christian divisions, skewed eschatologies, and modern incoherence.
This systematic project recasts the doctrines to address these and other needs.
It also introduces us to the craft of systematic theology.