The New Christians

The New Christians

What Is Practical Theology? Part Eight

After an all-to-lengthy excursion into interdisciplinary method,
it’s time to get back into the four core tasks of practical theology.
Having been through the descriptive and empirical moments, the third
moment of PT is the normative moment.

It is now, after gathering data and using the best of several
disciplines to interpret that data, that the practical theologian makes
normative claims for the life of the church. Often, practical theology
is in conversation with the other volumes of the “theological
encyclopedia” at this time, consorting with the likes of biblical
studies, systematic theology, and church history.

But remember that the practical theologian is grounded in real-life,
empirical data from church, society, and/or individual. In other words,
the practical theologian does not think, “I’d like to spend my career
studying the doctrine of sanctification” or “I’d like to write my
dissertation on the Nestorian controversy” or “The world needs another
book on the aorist tense.” (OK, simmer down. This is not meant to
disparage those who do perform those important tasks. Without them,
we’d never have to pay $75 for a book again!) The practical theologian,
instead, is confronted with a problem. It might be a theological
response to young women who cut themselves, or how to preach funeral
sermons in the African American tradition, or how the emerging church
is negotiating its relationship with culture (hey, there’s a great idea
for a dissertation!).


So let it not be said that the practical theologian is not in the
business of normative theology – she is, indeed, and it is normative
theology that responds to crises in the life of church and world.

Here’s my diagram of the four moments and four theoretical decisions of practical theology that I have described in these eight posts.


Comments read comments(3)
post a comment
Stanton Scrimsher

posted June 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

report abuse

click here in spanish

posted June 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I

report abuse


posted March 31, 2016 at 12:37 am

I was so excited to visit this site I really want to recommend this to everyone cause theres no doubt about its content I really love this one thanks for sharing this!

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

My Blog Has Moved
Dear Readers, After a year with Beliefnet, I've decided to move to my own domain for my blogging.  It's been a fine year -- some things worked, other things didn't.  But in the end, I'll be a better blogger on my own.  My thanks to the ...

posted 12:13:57pm Nov. 13, 2009 | read full post »

The Most Important Cartoon of the Year
By Steve Breen, San Diego Tribune, October 18, 2009 ...

posted 8:51:22am Oct. 25, 2009 | read full post »

Social Media for Pastors
Following up on Christianity21, we at JoPa Productions are developing a series of boot camps for pastors who want to learn about and utilize social media tools like blogging, Twitter, and Facebook.  These are one-day, hands-on learning ...

posted 10:45:52am Oct. 22, 2009 | read full post »

Ending Christian Euphemisms: "Fundamentalist"
I've taken some heat in the comment section for using yesterday's post on "unbiblical" and a "higher view of scripture" as a thin foil for my own disregard of biblical standards. To the contrary, I was pointing to the use of the word unbiblical ...

posted 10:15:41am Oct. 21, 2009 | read full post »

Why You Should Get GENERATE
Last week at Christianity21, GENERATE Magazine debuted. With the tag line, "an artifact of the emergence conversation," it fit perfectly at the gathering. When I actually got around to reading it last weekend, I was truly surprised at how good ...

posted 3:14:37pm Oct. 20, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.