Due to some requests I'm posting what we teach at our church, Anchor Gaslamp, regarding Integrative Theology. The following is from our recent "Anchor U" Leadership Training...
Here at Anchor, we seek to understand, teach, and live out an "Integrative" or "Practical" Theology.
We call this "Integrative" for 3 reasons:
1) We want our Theology to be both Systematic and Narrative, integrated together seamlessly
2) We want our Theology to be integrated with our lives... not just a system of beliefs we have agreed to in our minds, but beliefs that have been fully accepted at a heart level and begun to work themselves into our daily lives (Orthodoxy > Orthopathy> Orthopraxy)
3) We want our Theology to be integrated with the whole of Scripture (a balanced perspective, where the doctrines are all in alignment with one another... we must learn to view any doctrine in light of all scripture)
Before we go on, let us define 3 words:
Orthodoxy - "Right Beliefs, sound doctrine, comprehending the truth about God... occurs in your head/ mind"
Orthopraxy - "Right Practices, good behavior, living out the ways of God... Occurs in your hands/ mouth/ body"
Orthopathy - "Right Feelings, pure emotions, having a heart after God... Occurs in your heart/ soul/ emotions"
The Bible requires not only that we speak truly about God (orthodoxy) and obey Him (orthopraxy), but that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Doctrine is never an end in itself. The purpose of doctrine is to teach us to love God rightly. Obedience is never an end in itself. Obedience is always the overflow of a heart that finds its satisfaction in God rather than idols. In this way of looking at things, orthopathy is just as fundamental as orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
There are Christians who are all "head-knowledge." Though they may understand deep truths, their lives produce little fruit. Their heart is not 100% after God and their relationship is anemic. They see Christianity as a series of logical propositions and agree to these by mental assent.
There are Christians who are all "heart." They mean well and pursue God with all they are. However, they are easily misguided by false teaching which can lead to a loss of the strong affection they have for God. They also live out of their beliefs, but those beliefs may be as easily pulled off track even though their intentions are pure.
There are Christians who are all "hands." They do many great things for the kingdom, but they often feel they are justified by works. Some of them have very little doctrine. Many of them do their works out of wrong motivations (someone's approval, working for salvation..etc).
We need to be integrated Christians who study the word of God diligently with our heads, believe it with pure motives and an overwhelming, passionate love for God in our hearts, and live out of those realities everyday with our lives.
Many Christians find themselves believing all the right things and trying to do all the right things and still feeling miserable. It is a heart condition. When your heart is overflowing with love towards God, obedience and discipleship flow easily from our heart to our hands because our motives are pure and our hearts are right. When you accept the truth about God (doctrine) in your heart (not only your head) and choose to believe it as more than a simple abstract logical truth, but as an applied emotional belief, it becomes transformational instead of just informational. In other words, it is important for your head, hands and heart to be right... and all 3 support one another.