Sometimes, I have to admit, I need to be able to put people into a box.
It’s not that they will necessarily fit into the box comfortably, but frankly it saves time; it lets me know what set of terminology to use; it indicates to me what schools of doctrinal thought are off limits; it helps me find common ground with authors or worship styles or even Bible translation preferences.
This is not good.
However, sometimes it does cut to the chase. Give me some indicators and let me make assumptions. Is that the ESV Study Bible you’re holding? Here’s a new book from John Piper you might enjoy. You attend the Revival Center? You might enjoy the new Jesus Culture album.
I guess I think about these things a lot. And so does C. Michael Patton who has created this theological map:
But now you need to understand his terminology.
For that you need to link to this post at Parchment and Pen.
Ultimately, no two people are going to invent a map of theological systems identically. But where these things can be useful is if it starts us thinking along certain lines, and especially when we start asking ourselves, “Where do I fit into a map like this?”
Postscript: I went looking for something similar online and ended up being routed back here to this, something I got two years ago on Matt Stone’s blog:
- Are you cautious about putting people in a box or do you find yourself doing it somewhat recklessly?
- Do you find the first chart above a helpful shortcut to understanding where someone fits in?
- Does all this seem judgmental?
- Do you know where you fit in with each of the charts above?