Contemporary theology is generally defined as a study of theology and  theological trends from post-World War I to the present. Roughly covering the  twentieth century to today, the major categories typically addressed by  contemporary theology include fundamentalism, neo-orthodoxy, Pentecostalism,  evangelicalism, neo-liberalism, Post-Vatican II Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox  theology of the twentieth century, and the Charismatic Movement.

In  addition to these larger categories, contemporary theology also deals with  specialized areas such as liberation theology, feminist theology, and various  ethnic theologies. With the wide variety of credos involved, few scholars would  claim to serve as “experts” in contemporary theology. Rather, the trend is to  specialize in one or more areas of contemporary theological research.

A  more recent branch of contemporary theology is the study of interfaith dialogue.  Historic Christian theology is compared with the worldviews of non-Christian  belief systems as the basis for dialogue between different faiths. Recent  pursuits have focused on the shared values between two or more faiths, such as  the “Abrahamic Faiths” (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) or Eastern Religions  (including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christian movements such as the underground  Chinese Church).

Contemporary theology is primarily a field of academic  scholarship. As such, it addresses intellectual challenges facing theology,  including science, social issues, and religious practices. While many  contemporary theologians share a Christian heritage, not all do. In fact, many  agnostic or even atheist scholars have entered the field and are teaching their  views regarding faith and belief in contemporary society.

For the  Bible-believing Christian, contemporary theology is important, as it traces the  development of beliefs in recent history. However, it is critical to realize  that contemporary theology often departs from traditional Christian theology  when it evaluates faith in the context of various social movements or in  comparison with other belief systems. Adhering to a biblical worldview is not  usually the goal.

Those who want to understand what God’s Word teaches  on today’s important topics can find helpful information in a wide variety of  contemporary theological materials. However, the Bible itself does not change.  It is the standard of truth for the believer, both now and forever (1 Timothy  3:16-17).