August 11, 2018

OVERCOMING A WEAKNESS OF THEOLOGY

A Not-So-Subliminal Encouragement to Read the All-Time Best Seller.

THEOLOGY IS A HUMAN CONSTRUCT. It represents someone’s understanding of the nature, character, and purposes of God. The singular form refers to the discipline that seeks to develop, organize, and communicate various ideas about God. But it is technically more accurate to speak of “theologies” plural than “theology” singular, because no two individuals’ understandings of God are identical.

WARNING! Many think of theology as a collection of esoteric complexities restricted to the “playground” of professionals (ministers, academicians, and the like) and, therefore, strictly “off limits” to the uninitiated. The truth of the matter is that every single human being is a theologian in her own right, and every theologian is only more or less right in his theology.

Apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, who knew God perfectly (even in his incarnate state!), no human being, no matter how erudite, can lay claim to having gleaned the perfect understanding of God.  All theologies are works in progress and must be open to the testing and revision that results from dialogue with others using the only infallible and authoritative source for theology, namely, THE BIBLE.** Any who refuse to subject their theology to testing and revision through dialogue with others using the Bible as the adjudicating standard are commending their theology as the equivalent of Scripture itself—a dubious and dangerous practice indeed.

And there you have another one of my not-so-subliminal recommendations for frequently and thoroughly reading and studying the Bible! You took time to read this post. Will you take a few minutes out of your day to read God’s Word?  Not because it’s the law! Because it’s a GOOD idea!

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is the surest framework for your theology and the most effective antidote against the noxious distortions that pervade our cultural landscape.

Go ahead, monk. “Make my day!” Read it today!

** I am obviously speaking here from a protestant Christian perspective. However, I would also affirm that every faith tradition should be open to dialogue and critique with other faith traditions using, insofar as it is possible, adjudicating standards that they all agree on.


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