Theological Formation

Prayer, Love, and Human Nature: Analytic Theology for Theological Formation is a multi-million dollar initiative funded by the John Templeton Foundation at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. We are a team of theologians working on deepening and thickening out Analytic Theology, as well as applying it to the practice of Christian churches.

THE PROJECT’S PURPOSE

The 2009 publication of Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology gave focus and a name to a burgeoning movement within academic systematic theology—Analytic Theology (hereafter referred to as “AT”). AT is an approach to theology that seeks contact and integration between theological investigation on one hand, and truth-apt, discovery-oriented disciplines such as analytic philosophy and the empirical sciences on the other. While there is still more work to be done on that score, especially in religious traditions outside of Christianity, within academic Christian theology, AT has gained more traction.

However, as Robert Jenson notes in the preface to his Systematic Theology, “Theology is the church’s enterprise of thought,” (emphasis added); thus, to remain viable, and to fulfill theology’s mission, AT must move beyond the province of academic theologians and into the church. An intermediate step on this path is the context wherein pastors and lay ministers are formed—in other words, the theological seminaries and divinity schools. This project’s primary purpose is to move AT into this context at Fuller Theological Seminary by:

  1. Supporting new research in AT on topics that are either of perennial or immediate pastoral/ministerial concern. We have selected three perennial topics that pastors and students in formation for the ministry are likely to consider as especially important for their vocations: (a) prayer; (b) divine and human love; and (c) the theological implications and engagement of the sciences of human origins (e.g., genetics, genomics, evolutionary biology). The former two are topics of perennial pastoral concern, and the latter is one of immediate pastoral concern, especially in the American context.
  2. Outreach to ministry students and current pastors in order to expose them to AT, and the potential benefits it may have for their theological education and their ministry. We will convene pastors, ministry students, and theologians for a series of colloquia and a larger-scale capstone conference. Finally, Fuller will run a course award competition designed to stimulate faculty from other theological seminaries and divinity schools to create courses that integrate AT.