Theology for Everyday

Is theology even necessary? I’m sure, as you’re reading this, now you are considering the tried and true tests of the applicability of theology to everyday life. In fact, we’ve all done this, have we not? At some point in our lives, we have stopped for a moment to consider whether or not theology really does matter.

You see, if theology is only for preachers, seminarians, professors, and the like, then it really doesn’t matter that much for everyone else. If theology is some type of ivory tower discipline, then, no, it is not going to matter much in an ordinary person’s life.

BUT…

If it does matter to every ordinary person, then we must not take it lightly – we must consider its depths. If theology does matter, then it must be applied, because theology void of application is mere mindful erudition. If theology does matter, then it matters also what we do with it.

If theology does matter, then it matters also what we do with it.

Why Does Theology Matter?

Theology matters because theology is God-talk, according to Robert Smith.[1] In essence, Smith claims that theology is words about God. So, if theology is words or language or talk about God, then it matters how we discuss it. It matters how we interpret it. It matters how we communicate it. It matters what we think about it.

You see, language and words by themselves matter. How you say things matters. Different words used in everyday conversation matter. The way you speak to your spouse matters and the outcomes are largely different by the way you speak. Why? Because words and language matter.

The Bible contains language and words that must be studied and communicated and, thus, is the penultimate way in which God has provided sinful humanity a way to know him. The great reformer, John Calvin, proffers that the Bible is God’s expression of love and grace toward His elect to bring them nearer to Him.[2] But, the Bible was not written by infallible authors (those incapable of making mistakes), so their language contained within the Bible is not precise and perfect – they were human beings moved by the Spirit of God.[3] Since the authors of Scripture were ordinary human beings, their language is sometimes vague and difficult to interpret. Therefore, as students of the Bible look to Scripture for vitality in doctrine and practice, there must be a considerable amount of examination for the language and words of Scripture.

This also means that theology is more than a mere academic discipline. Theology is not only for the seminarians and professors of this world – it is for everyday life. Theology is for the ordinary Christian. Theology is for the Christian who’s found out their cancer is terminal. Theology is for the Christian who’s lost their job and has four children in the house. Theology is for the Christian who’s lost their loved ones to a virus no one ever expected to experience in their lifetime. Theology is for the Christian rejoicing in the birth of a newborn baby. Theology is for the Christian celebrating a prodigal returning home. Theology is for the Christian aiming to share the gospel with their friends and family.

You see, these “why” and “how” questions are theological questions. How can I say this? Here’s the truth: Every practical life question has a theological underpinning. This means, then, that all truth is founded upon belief. It does not matter what you say you believe, but what you believe matters.

Every practical life question has a theological underpinning

So, if what you believe matters, then theology matters because theology is, in fact, what you believe. Theology is more than just deep stuff about the Bible – it is the essence of Christian thought. You have no belief about the world or everything therein unless you have a theological framework. Your theology informs how you think and what you believe. What you believe about God informs how you live. What you believe about the origin of the universe informs how you think about God. What you believe about truth is predicated on your theological framework. What you believe about other people is derived through your belief about creation itself.

Conclusion

You see, theology is much more than an academic discipline or something for preachers to discuss – it is life for believers. It is the very air of which Christians must breathe. Why? Because it’s God-talk. Theology is belief informing practice. Because what you believe determines how you live. And how you live as a Christian matters. Therefore, theology matters and it matters everyday of your life.


[1] Robert R. Smith, “Theology, Preaching, and Pastoral Ministry” in Theology, Church, and Ministry: A Handbook for Theological Education, edited by David S. Dockery (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2017), 340.

[2]  JohnCalvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion, edited by Henry Beveridge (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 2008), 26.

[3] John M. Frame. The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1987), 216.

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