What’s the point of theology?

After all, we have the Bible, isn’t that good enough? Why should we care about what people have said about God?

In the 11th century, Anslem of Cantebury famously described theology as “faith seeking understanding”.  Theology is about combining reason and faith, and seeking to understand what significance words written and events occurring millennia ago could have today.

Take the Trinity as an example.  The word ‘Trinity’ never appears in the Bible, nor is there a good explanation of the Trinity anywhere in the New Testament (Philippians 2 is the closest we come), yet Trinitarianism has been a foundational belief of virtually every mainstream Christian denomination in the past 1500 years.  The Trinity is a theology, developed in the first few centuries of the Common Era, as Christians sought to understand the teachings of Jesus and the Bible about the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But theology isn’t just something for the past, nor something left to the academics.  Theology is about asking questions, about our faith, about the Bible, about our church traditions, and about how we act.

Asking “What Would Jesus Do?” and seeking to act faithfully upon it is theology.

Watching The Matrix with friends and discussing free will and salvation in the movie is theology.

Wondering how you can present a Bible story in a different way to help people better interact with the text is theology.

Reflecting on something that has happened to you, and asking what it teaches you about God, your relationship with him, or how you should act differently because of it is theology.

As Christians, our mission is theology; we’re meant to work out our faith in everyday life, continually asking how following Jesus of Nazareth changes the ways we think and act.

To be engaged with the world, our mission must inform our theology; our experiences lead us into asking questions about God, the Bible and the church.

What is something you’ve seen or done recently which taught you about God?

This is the first of two posts looking at the relationship between mission and theology, and the meaning of this site’s name: Mission:Theology”

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