Romans… here is where Paul shines as a theologian. It will take 11 chapters of theology–laying before he feels comfortable in shifting his focus a bit more onto every day life application. 1–11, theology. 12–16, application. I use the word “application” instead of “practical” because I reject entirely any implication that “theology” is less practical (or possibly not practical at all although somewhat necessary) than application; as if Romans 12–16 is now getting into the “good stuff” what is really helpful, in contrast to 1–11.
Can a house stand without a foundation? Can a car be of help without tires, a plane without wings? Both car and plane need an engine otherwise they will not get anywhere.
Without a solid theology you won’t get anywhere… well, actually, you will get somewhere, but like a car without a steering wheel, it’s doubtful you’ll get where you want.
Thomas Merton said, “… a readable theologian is dangerous.” I believe what he meant by this is that most theologians live in the clouds while most people live on the ground. “Readable theologians” live and write from the ground, therefore their readers, the grounded–ones, benefit from their theology.
Theology, the study of God, but not under a microscope wearing a white jacket, but a humble, naked–approaching, a slow, aware moving towards this infinite father–God whom we long to understand more and love even more.
Those who minimize “theology” actually do so from a theology but they often are unable to recognize this. Or, perhaps, they’ve never read a readable theologian and now have some problem with or misconception about theology.
As pastors we must be theologians, but grounded–ones, speaking from the ground instead of the clouds.
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