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The Place of Theology

February 22, 2021
By Dr. Matt Seufert, Upper School Theology Teacher

We believe that God made the heavens and the earth and everything in them, man and woman, beast and bird, land and water, sun, moon, and stars. We also believe that God made man in His own image to be in communion with Him and to love and adore Him for who He is and what He did, does, and will do.

Because we believe these things, theology has both a foundational and pervasive place within Rockbridge’s curriculum.

Rockbridge students take one theology class every year. In these, they learn about God as He has revealed Himself in His Word. God, supremely wise and good, has spoken many things for our good, and we think it’s well worth the time to listen and to learn how to listen to everything He’s said. We spend a lot of time reading, thinking about, learning how to interpret, writing on, giving speeches on, and discussing Scripture and what others, whether Christians or non-Christians, have said about it.

Knowing what He has communicated to us is a necessary part of our communion with Him. It shapes our minds, affections, and wills to image His, and opens our eyes to and fills our hearts with the reality of what He’s done in creation and salvation, inciting us to love and serve. We want to think the things He thinks, since He knows everything, and we want to love the things He loves, since He loves only the things that are perfectly good.

Body and soul, we are His creatures, intent on relearning what we were created to be, ideally and experientially. A significant part of this happens in studying the Bible. Whether we’re asking if Bertrand Russell’s interpretation of Jesus’s cursing of the fig tree is defensible, where in Scripture you would turn to defend the deity of Christ or the Holy Spirit, what the Bible teaches about divorce, church attendance, homosexuality, oaths, or anger, how the Old Testament points us to Jesus Christ, what redemption secures, or how to exegete a Psalm, we are aiming to commune with the heart, mind, and will of God and so be shaped by our vital union with Him. As His image and thoughts take hold of us, we cannot help but image Him more. Since we believe this to be our beginning and our end (see Gen 1:26-27; Eph 4:22-24; 1 John 3:2), ruined by us but remedied and in the process of being remedied by Christ, the Rockbridge curriculum keeps Him front and center for Kindergarteners, Seniors, and all grades between.

In addition to having its own course each year, theology envelops every Rockbridge course. This naturally follows from our affirmation of God as Creator. Since He created all things, He is related to every subject. He is the context in which each subject operates. This does not mean that the answer to seven and fourteen is God. What it means is that the design of plants and animals, as seen in Biology’s labs, the beauty of sound or sight or words in Music, Photography, Rhetoric and Art, and the fixed laws of Science have their origin, final explanation, and full appreciation only in God.

The 12th-grade theology class is Apologetics, the rational contention for the Christian faith. One of the arguments for God studied by that class is called the Transcendental Argument: without God, not this. In that formulation of the argument, “this” refers to the world and everything in it, including human beings and their capacity to think, to feel, and to will. If God lies back of everything, you cannot fully explain anything apart from Him. I can appreciate and understand to a degree the uniformity and complexity of Mathematics without believing in God, but I cannot explain them. With God, I have the only explanation.

This holds true for all things and governs every question we raise. If we’re asking “What is justice?” with Plato, “Was the American Revolution justified?” in History, “What is the good life?“ in Literature, or “Is man an animal?” in 6th grade, we want our first impulse to be to look through the lens of Scripture in order to see with His eyes, and we want to be equipped to know how to look and how to think.

Seeing God and God’s world, ourselves included, as He and it is, is a lifelong endeavor, fueled by God at every turn, and one Rockbridge is committed to commending K-12.

Dr. Seufert is in his fifth year teaching 11th grade New Testament and 12th grade Apologetics. He is interested in his wife and three daughters, the local church, Scripture, teaching and preaching, reading and writing, baseball, food, music, the Psalms, the mountains, and almost any kind of physical exercise.

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