Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

What Is Theology? Foundational and Moral

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

What Is Theology? Foundational and Moral

Article excerpt

What is Theology? Foundational and Moral. By Edmond J. Dunn. Mystic, CN: Twenty-Third Publications, 1998. 263 pp. $14.95 (paper).

The tight correlation between what we believe and how we should act is Scriptural and taught by the Church. However, the division of theology into systematic, moral and esthetic theologies has tended to reduce the obviousness of the connection. Edmond Dunn has united the divisions in his recent book, in which he reminds us that "talking the talk" and "walking the walk" are tightly linked. The first part of his book is devoted to foundation theology, the second to moral theology, making a satisfying whole.

Dunn is a Roman Catholic ecumenical author, who writes for the pluralistic contemporary Christian Church. He describes and explains two understandings of what constitutes Holy Scripture, three models of Church polity and four understandings of the Eucharist. His definition of what constitutes a true Church is both specific and inclusive.

His method of theology is correlation as used by Tillich and Tracy and, for the nonspecialist, he makes it much more understandable and coherent. He illustrates how to think in this manner with definitions of theology (pp. 31-32) and revelation (pp. 41-42). These examples make intelligible what additional words might only confuse.

Moral theology rises out of our orthodoxy and also out of our life experiences. Dunn lumps methods in moral theology into three: teleological, deontological and relational, choosing the latter as his preferred method. One of the obstacles to relational experiences is our own moral development and he outlines the stages of moral reasoning as presented by Kohlberg. He implies that those persons operating in the lower stages of moral reasoning lack the ability to relate fully to others, which is imperative for employing a relational ethic. …

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