Too often I think the value of theology is under-appreciated, and the task of theology is misunderstood. Too many reduce theology to an abstract, esoteric task that doesn't really have anything to do with things that matter most. This is a view of theology that I do everything I can do work against. Instead, as I've tried to show before, we need a better picture for theology and how to do theology well. Theology matters.
In line with this re-presentation of theology, I'm grateful for Kevin Vanhoozer and what he says about the PURPOSE of theology. (In case you don't know the name Kevin Vanhoozer, let me suggest he's a contemporary theologian that many of us should be listening to. Check out this article Christianity Today recently did on him.) This quote on the PURPOSE (and value) of theology is from a recent book Vanhoozer co-authors with Owen Strachan, The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, page 125.
Listen to this:
What are theologians for? ....We reply: for confessing, comprehending, celebrating, communicating, commending, and conforming themselves and others to what is in Christ."
This last phrase is shorthand Vanhoozer uses to talk about the reality of what Christ's death and resurrection accomplishes for us and offers to us. Vanhoozer continues:
Theology serves the church to the extent that it helps disciples fulfill their vocation to put on Christ and grow into 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13). The real work of theology is indeed public: growing persons, cultivating a people. It is about helping individuals and communities to grow into the fullness of Christ. In sum: the real work of theology is the work of getting real - conforming people's speech, thoughts, and actions to the mind and heart of Jesus Christ, the source and standard of all truth, goodness, and beauty."
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