One of the charges made early in the book, in an attempt to justify biblical theology, is that no other theology is as Christ-centered as the one Goldsworthy suggests. This is not just a hyperbolic play to disparage other theologies, because in some cases, this is the case. However, is biblical theology the only theology that is Christ-centered?
There are generally four types of theology (not counting abhorrent and aberrant theologies). Systematic theology lists topics according to a broad overview, with each building upon the other. Historical theology pays attention to the past, to reception history, and to context. Philosophical theology builds the mind of the theologian and helps to argue for universal truths. And of course, there is biblical theology (See here for something more to this conversation). Biblical theology interprets Scripture by Scripture, without context or reliance upon Tradition. Further, it is presuppositional, and thus finds itself anchorless in determining universal truths.
However, Goldsworthy is making a very apt case for the Christ-centeredness of biblical theology. It is this that moves me to consider heavily Goldsworthy’s claims. The Christian theologian must remain Christ-centered; I fear other theologies tend to dispense with Christ until after a certain theology has been laid. Of course, biblical theology dispenses with historical theology and philosophical theology in its presuppositions. No theology can remain Christian unless it is first grounded in Christ, and what is more, in the divinity of Christ (regardless of how you choose to interpret it). I disagree with Goldsworthy about first making sure Scripture is seen as the Word of God, or that theologians must first believe it is inspired. Yes, I believe it is inspired, but only as far as the author of 2 Timothy meant that word. However, I suspect – and this is not confirmed – the meaning of Goldsworthy at this juncture is too close to the normative evangelical use of the word. Not just inspired or inspiring, but inerrant and infallible. This worries me because it tends to move the historical Jesus out of the picture. Thus, historical theology, in my opinion, trumps biblical theology here.
Just thinking out loud…