In the field of professional software there is movement (that is well underway) toward agile development methods that is very popular. This movement was launched with the Agile Software Manifesto that focuses on values and principles that should guide how one develops software. These values and principles focus on delivering customer value through constant feedback and lightweight development methods.
I think that we could benefit from an agile manifesto for doctrine and theology. The ideals proposed here can be traced back to the 5th century and Vincent of Lérins. In the Commonitory he wrote what is now commonly known as the Vincentian Canon that states:
we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.
Based on this idea I offer an agile manifesto for working through doctrine and theology.
We acknowledge Scriptures as the authoritative source of revealed truth. As we work to better understand the God it reveals, we will wrestle with doctrine and the different interpretations that can be made using the following principles:
- Focus on the essentials of the faith over the non-essentials
- Emphasize the clear & repeated themes in Scripture over the obscure & unique passages
- Favor tradition and the historic Rule of Faith over novel theological views
- Encourage practicing our faith over proof-texting our views
- Strive for unity over division
- Change the methods and illustrations over changing the content