Mark McNeil

mcneiltheology.com

Theology Articles

What is Theology?

Theology
differs from Philosophy inasmuch as Theology makes use of the powers of human reason guided by the truths of divine revelation while Philosophy seeks to pursue truth without explicitly appealing to divine revelation as a source of guidance.  Human life is far too short for us to discover, digest, and work out the implications of all the truths the human heart yearns to know.  Christians believe that God has condescended to human weakness and frailty of understanding to make himself known to us.  It is in the light of this divine revelation that we are then able to reason properly about ourselves and the world of our experience.  This is not to say that Christians cannot engage in Philosophy, in the pure sense of that word.  Philosophy for the Christian, however, is a distinct activity of the mind from Theology.

Christian Theology is built on the foundation of the Sacred Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments.  For Catholic Christians, we interpret the Scriptures with the guidance of the Church.  The Church is entrusted the responsibility of handing along the faith in its lived context of worship, moral life, and creedal expressions.  This lived context provides the guidance necessary for the growth and deepening of Christian faith.  Consequently, Catholics reject the Protestant notion of sola scriptura.  The history of Christian theology gives abundant evidence of the ongoing need of an interpretive context in which the Bible should be read and lived.  

Christian Theology addresses a wide range of topics, all of which have an ongoing appeal to my mind.  Logically we might begin with the notion of God's self-revelation. This topic would require an exploration of the modes of divine revelation, the nature of this revelation, and the manner in which we recognize this revelation.  We might proceed to a consideration of God as creator and source of all reality.  This subject provides the proper framework in which to consider the nature and purpose human life, the fall into sin, the need for redemption, and a host of other topics. We might then consider God's plan of redemption, a subject that could involve the study of the entire Bible as a progressive unfolding plan at the conclusion of which we discover Christ as the supreme self-disclosure of our creator.  We would also need to consider how human persons experience and receive God's saving actions and then, finally, also consider the future hope Christ's salvation brings to us.  In a very real sense, Christian theology provides a context in which to understand everything beginning with the purpose and origin of the cosmos to the interior struggles of the individual soul to the longing for union with others persons.  Properly considered, there is nothing that cannot be approached theologically.

Writings

Below are several writings, some long and others shorter, on theological themes.  Various other articles are currently being written or edited so please check back when you are able. Among future topics in the planning stages are themes in St. Augustine's works, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Pride/Humility, Eucharistic Theology, Mysticism/Prayer, St. Theresa of Avila, Faith as "Hypothesis of Meaning," Theology and Liberal Arts Education, etc.

Jesus:  God and Man.  Reason and the Incarnation
Some reflections on the incarnation with special emphasis on the relationship between the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ.  An analogy is offered as help on this topic from the field of psychology.

Sports and Theology.
A short investigation of human interest in sporting events from a theological perspective.  This article was written based on classroom discussions on this subject.

Oneness Pentecostalism and the Trinity
Book-length manuscript on Oneness Pentecostal theology along with critical evaluations from a Catholic perspective.

This document includes a defense of the doctrine of the Trinity from Scripture alongside a response to Oneness Pentecostal "modalism" and common criticisms of Trinitarianism. 

This document includes a defense of the Matthew 28:19 baptismal formula and an explanation of the verses of Scripture most frequently used by Oneness Pentecostals (and others) to use "in Jesus' name" or some other wording in connection with water baptism.

Here you will find a discussion of all the relevant biblical texts to the subject of speaking in tongues and the "baptism of the Holy Spirit."  This chapter is part of a longer work on Oneness theology and is also a rewriting of an earlier document I wrote on speaking in tongues, available elsewhere on-line.  Although much of the argumentation is the same, there are some revisions to account for growth in my understanding of this subject over the last twenty years.

A Brief Introduction to Trinitarian Faith
An article on Trinitarian theology written especially to show the kind of "logic" that guides interpreters of Scripture on this subject as well as the kind of logic that tends to characterize those who reject the Trinitarian reading of the Bible.  
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