*Note: I’ll return next time to my series about “The Promises and Perils of Bilingual Christians”

Who needs to bother about dry, dusty theology?

“Many things can be meant by the word ‘God.’  For this reason, there are many kinds of theologies.  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.  There is, moreover, no religion, no philosophy, no world view that is not dedicated to some such divinity.  Every world view, even that disclosed in the Swiss and American national anthems, presupposes a divinity interpreted in one way or another and worshipped to some degree, whether wholeheartedly or superficially.  There is no philosophy that is not to some extent also theology.  Not only does this fact apply to philosophers who desire to affirm—or who, at least, are ready to admit—that divinity, in a positive sense, is the essence of truth and power of some kind of highest principle; but the same truth is valid even for thinkers denying such a divinity, for such a denial would in practice merely consist in transferring an identical dignity and function to another object.  Such an alternative object might be ‘nature,’ creativity, or an unconscious and amorphous will to life.  It might also be ‘reason,’ progress, or even a redeeming nothingness into which man would be destined to disappear.  Even such apparently ‘godless’ ideologies are theologies.” (Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology: An Introduction, pp. 3-4)

Indeed:

“Theology is not undesirable, it is unavoidable.  What matters is that it should be good theology.” (Trevor Hart, Faith Thinking: The Dynamics of Christian Theology, p. 7)

Therefore:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.  For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.” (A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 1)

Conclusion:Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

UPDATE: Here are a few notable resources that might helpfully propel one into the serious study of theology:

*A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke

*The Religious Life of Theological Students by B. B. Warfield (this classic piece may also be read online here)

*The Trials of Theology, ed. Andrew Cameron and Brian S. Rosner (includes the Warfield essay, as well as selections from Augustine, Luther, Bonhoeffer, D. A. Carson, and others on the dangers and delights of being a theologian.  Highly recommended.)

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