Since I’ve begun teaching Introduction to Theology at CCBCY this year, I thought I could share some of my thoughts.
Who are theologians? What is theology? Does it matter?
Here’s a good place to start any discussion on theology. Richard Dawkins:
What has ‘theology’ ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody?
When has ‘theology’ ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious?
What makes you think that ‘theology’ is a subject at all?
While Dawkins is hardly qualified to comment on theology, I think many Christians would be in agreement with him, whether they realize it or not.
Theology is often seen as irrelevant and useless, only for dusty, boring people in a basement somewhere. It’s just a matter of time before someone releases a YouTube video called “Why I hate theology but love Jesus”.
Everyone is a Theologian
Unfortunately for those who deny any care for theology, you can’t escape it. This is even the case for unbelievers. Swiss theologian Karl Barth agreed:
“There is no man who does not have his own god or gods as the object of his highest desire and trust, or as the basis of his deepest loyalty and commitment. There is no one who is not to this extent also a theologian.”
Everyone is a theologian. According to the Bible, we have all “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” (Rom 1:25). The question is not whether we worship a god or not, the question is what or whom we worship as god.
If you worship a god, then you are a theologian. Even Dawkins is and according to Romans 1:21-22, for all his intelligence, he is a fool for denying the true God.
So what is Christian Theology?
There are many wonderful definitions for Christian theology, but for now let’s consider one. Based on Romans 1:25, Christian theology is a repentance of and turning away from our idolatry, and instead returning to worship the Creator. It is a transforming and renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2).
Thoughts matter, so our thoughts about God (or an idol) are the most defining aspect of us. We need to be rid of our idols, and be transformed into seeing everything the way that the LORD does.
This is theology, and all Christians should pursue it!
But there’s bad news. We can’t actually do theology. More on that later.