From “Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church”:
Canonical theism as a living option for both church and academy emerged over time as a fruit of intense personal struggle within the contours of contemporary Protestantism. Having expressed its claims elsewhere in this volume in terms of cold-blooded, impersonal theses, my aim in this paper is to provide a brief account of the spiritual and intellectual journey that lies behind it.
An understanding of the nature of theology comprises an account of its object, its cognitive principles, its ends and its practitioners. The object of theology is two-fold: principally God the Holy Trinity, and derivatively all things in relation to God. God is considered first absolutely, then relatively; all other things are treated relative to God, under the aspect of creatureliness. The objective cognitive principle of theology is God’s infinite knowledge, of which God communicates a fitting share to creatures; the subjective cognitive principle of theology is the regenerate human intellect. The ends of theology are scientific (acquiring the knowledge of the matter which is proper to creatures), contemplative (rapt attention to God the cause of all things) and practical (regulation of the enactment of human life). The practitioners of theology are regenerate persons in the church whose creaturely intellect is instructed by God and all of whose works are accompanied by the practices of religion.