So here I am, re-reading some of my old theology books from college attempting to refresh in my mind historical, systematical, practical, and exegetical theology and how they all relate to each other.
I came across a quote that I underlined in college that I had forgotten about, but was fascinating nonetheless; afterwards I came to a conclusion concerning today’s church culture. The affirmation was brought to me through 3 parts of this particular chapter on laying a solid foundational theology so that our Christian faith could be both logical and emotional – practical and theoretical.
Part 1: “Too often the Church is tempted to devote its efforts toward the study of the false while the ability to recognize the false actually resides in the truth of revelation.”
Essentually this is saying that when we’re seeking a divine interaction, or revelation, from God the false will not need to be sought after because our understanding of God will illuminate the false as false.
Part 2: Now, the book also goes on to state that theology should never be placed above the Bible, but always beneath it. This is important because our doctrine and functional theology come through our interpretation of the scriptures through devine revelation. The truth must be revealed to us through God’s willingness to reveal it to us, and then, after discerning the truth we must build our doctrine upon that. Some of us get into trouble when we prepare a doctrinal base before having the truth revealed.
Part 3: And this is huge, “Finally the task of theology is to present its truth in a form that responds to the questions being posed by the contemporary world. This means theology is to confront culture with revelation in a form to which culture can respond and make a decision regarding the revelation.”
My conclusion? I guess it’s more of a conclusion in the form of question that doesn’t seek an answer but exists to make us think about why the question even has to be asked…. why is it that if theology – the study of God – exists to answer the questions posed by a contemporary post-modern culture (and those answers can only be given through the revelation of God to us through experience and faith) do we have such a hard time relaying the love of Christ to that culture?
Our church – the methodological delivering system of theology to the world – should be the first to embrace an understanding that theology does not exist to simply help us understand who God is, but more importantly who He is to the the world around us.
In laymans terms…. WE MUST STOP GUARDING THE REVELATION OF GOD AS EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF THE CHURCH AND SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD… not in condemnation of who they are currently or what they’ve done previously (judgement is God’s and God’s alone – i’d rather not deal with it and I really don’t understand why anyone else would want that responsibility), and not so that they may come to understand OUR views of God through the doctrine that we’ve put in place, but that we would share with others the pure joy of receving a revelation of an almighty, loving, powerful, and forgiving God who desires to bless ALL of His children with good gifts.
If we can somehow move past the the desire to conform everyone to our world view and start focusing on creating an atmosphere where others can openly seek and experience God through His merciful revelation then I believe we can impact the world…not for the church (Let’s face it, the church has lost much of it’s New Testament attributes, although there are still some classial NT churches that live, breathe and exist solely to serve their community, not just those that fill their pews)…but for God.
After re-reading this I just realized that there probably won’t be anyone interested in reading it. After all, who wants to read about theology? But then again, maybe that’s why it’s a forgotten art – but hopefully not for long. Can a reformation be sparked once more, revitalizing God’s people? I hope so…and I pray God grants me the knowledge and boldness to be a leader in such a movement.