Sunday, May 16, 2010

Catechetic and Acroamatic Theology; or, Milk and Meat

Luther Poellot, trans. and ed., The Nature and Character of Theology: An Introduction to the Thought of J.A. Quenstedt from Theologia Didactio-Polemica Sive Systema Theologicum, pp. 43-47:

Thesis XVI

The theology of indirect revelation, or of institution, is either catechetic, initial, or more elementary (which is also called [theology] of babes, of novices and beginners) or profound, advanced, or more detailed (which is also called [theology] of the mature [or] established).

Thesis XVII

Catechetic theology is that which singles out only the chief heads of Christian doctrine and trains the unlearned common people in them. Hence it is also called elementary or initial, because it teaches the first elements and rudiments of Christian religion and is chiefly concerned with laying the foundations of the doctrine of faith. This kind of teaching was once called catechesis and catechism, the teachers themselves were called catechists, the learners [were called] catechumens, [and] the action itself was called instruction or catechization, 1 Co. 14:19; Gl 6:6; Acts 18:25.
Thesis XVIII

Acroamatic theology is that which teaches [and] establishes the mysteries of faith in greater detail and at greater length and refutes errors against sound doctrine, and it is [the theology] of the bishops and presbyters in the church, and especially of those who in the schools teach not simply Christians but future teachers of Christians and are called chief theologians.

Note: Catechetic theology differs from acroamatic not in the matter considered but by reason of the object and way of considering [it]....

Thesis XIX

In regard to manner of presentation, acroamatic theology is either exegetic, or didactic strictly so called, or polemic, or homiletic, or casual, or finally historical.

Thesis XX

Exegetic theology, which [is] also Biblical, also called prophetic by some, is that which is concerned with a paraphrase or a fuller explanation and commentary on either the whole or part of Holy Scripture, a book or some passage of it, and investigates its truth and true meaning.

Thesis XXI

Didactic theology, strictly so called, which is also called systematic and thetic or positive, is that which sets forth in order and clearly explains the theological commonplaces, exactly defines and divides the doctrines of faith, and derives and proves them from the fundamental seat that they have in Holy Scripture.

Note: This didactic theology is suited to schools and academies and is much more detailed and fuller than the popular or catechetical [theology] that obtains in the churches among the unlearned people....

Thesis XXII

Polemic theology, polemic and controversial, or controversial and refutative, which others call scholastic, or rather academic, deals with ancient and more recent theological controversies, properly formulates the point of the question, establishes the heavenly truth with arguments drawn from Holy Scripture, defends established [truth] against objections, asserts vindicated [truth] against objections and is thus concerned with building up orthodoxy and tearing down heterodoxy or in building up the truth and destroying falsehood. Briefly, Didactic theology teaches the truth, polemic [theology] defends the truth.

Note I. Didactic and controversial theology do not differ in regard to matter but only as to the way of handling [it].

Note II. In polemic theology this is especially to be avoided, that idle questions be piled up and arguments grow out of arguments, thus creating a theology of strife and contention, in which the truth is lost by too much altercation.

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