Original Research

Escaping from the ghetto

Vincent Br
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 33, No 2 | a729 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v33i2.729 | © 2012 Vincent Br | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2012 | Published: 06 December 2012

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Vincent Br, University of Utrecht, University of Stellenbosch, University of Pretoria, Netherlands

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‘Revealed theology’ claims that religious belief derives from divine revelation and can only be justified in the light of such revelation. This entails a retreat into an intellectual ghetto: Only believers can participate in this kind of theology because only believers have access to divine revelation. The usual alternative to revealed theology is ‘natural theology’, which tries to prove the truth of (Christian) faith in the light of the universally accessible criteria of reason and experience. It is argued that natural theology fails to provide such proof and therefore cannot liberate theology from the intellectual ghetto of revealed theology. This paper argues for a ‘philosophical theology’ which analyses the meaning of (Christian) doctrine rather than proving its truth. Since the methods and criteria of this analysis are universally acceptable and not reserved for believers, this form of theology liberates believers from the intellectual ghetto of revealed theology.


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