When someone starts talking to you about “theology,” what is your initial reaction?
Some people get excited. Other people get nervous. A few get upset.
This is partly because theology has been used by some as a weapon, as an instrument of destruction and manipulation and control.
But as we see in today’s show, “theology” is not a cuss word, but is simply thinking and talking about God so that we all become more like Jesus.
One of the goals of Theology.fm is to broaden the conversation about God, church, Scripture, and theology and invite a wide variety of people into the room so that we can learn from each other and see things from other perspectives.
The ultimate goal of theology, of course, is to learn to love others.
Toward this end, I have specifically chosen to invite a variety of voices to contribute to the Theology.fm show.
Not all of the shows on Theology.fm will be sermons from Pastors. While the first official episode of Theology.fm was a pastor of a traditional church, this second episode is from a man who left institutional Christianity several decades ago, and has been following Jesus in exciting new ways ever since. Our guest today, Wayne Jacobsen, used to pastor a church, but left institutional Christianity to follow Jesus in a day-to-day relational setting.
Theology and Following Jesus
Did you know that the fastest-growing demographics among Christians today is among those people who no longer attend a formal church gathering on Sunday morning, but who nevertheless seek to follow Jesus in a relational way among their friends and family? It’s true. Which is why it is so important for both types of Christians to communicate with each other about Scripture and theology, and more importantly, how each can serve the other as we seek to follow Jesus and serve within the Kingdom of God in this world.
Typically what happens, however, is that we don’t talk to each other. Instead we condemn, criticize, and judge each other. Those Christians who attend a Sunday morning gathering look down on those who don’t as being somewhat backslidden or disobedient to the commands of God. At the same time, those who follow Jesus in a relational setting outside of institutional Christianity tend to criticize and condemn those who still feel that church attendance on Sunday morning is a mandatory requirement to be part of the Body of Christ in the world.
This is not helpful.
A better approach, is to follow the example of someone like Wayne Jacobsen. While he is definitely outside of institutional Christianity, he never condemns those who are still within it. His podcast is always loving, kind, and gracious. He wants to encourage everybody, whether they attend a Sunday morning gathering or not, to seek to follow Jesus in more relational, intimate, and loving ways.
In today’s show, Wayne Jacobsen reminds you that whether you participate or not in the large-group Sunday morning gatherings which some people call “church,” theology is still vitally important. All followers of Jesus, whether they participate in a Sunday morning gathering or not, have a theology which can be recognized, refined, and even redeemed, as you and I grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love theology, and while I know that “theology” is a Christian cuss-word for some people, I have always understood that everybody is a theologian, whether they recognize it or not. Even people who never have a thought about God are reflecting their particular theology.
So the best thing to do is admit that you have a theology, and then seek to understand and refine it by interacting with others through conversations, books, sermons, discussions, blogs, and podcasts.
What are your thoughts about theology?
Do you enjoy reading, studying, and learning about theology, or is it more of a cuss-word for you? I imagine that if you are listening to a podcast from Theology.fm, that you are part of the former group. You are someone who enjoys theology. If so, do you know anyone who does not like theology? I invite you to recognize that they have probably been burned and damaged by theologians in the past, and to not judge or condemn them for staying clear of theological pursuits.
But if you are not sure you like theology, listen to what Wayne has to say in this episode of Theology.fm, and then let me know what you think about Wayne’s explanation of the term, and how it is important for all followers of Jesus to recognize the existence of their theology, and more important than that, to center their theology on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Include your thoughts and ideas in the comment section for this show.