There are two terms that define how we approach and discuss theology. They are irenic theology and polemic theology. The latter former is peaceful, while the other is war like.
Michael Patton posted the following points on Irenic Theology:
Characteristics to being irenic in theological conversation and controversy:
- You accurately represent all theological positions, even when you strongly oppose them.
- Your tone of engagement comes from a humble respectful attitude.
- Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.
- Your defense of your position recognizes that strengths of the opposing side.
- You are gentle.
As I have become older I enjoy this method much more. Especially the part on “…the primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.”
That is what we are trying to accomplish at PBI, and through Inquiring Minds Lecture Series. I think that it is unfair to discuss a topic without properly, and fully understanding what the other position is.
I encourage all of you to be irenic in your approach, and refrain from polemic theology.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will. – CSB