Thursday, March 24, 2011

Theology as a Language of Life

I've been thoroughly enjoying Jonathan R. Wilson's book "Why Church Matters".  Here is another quote from that book.  I know that it is kinda long, but it is well worth reading.  Even if you just skim down and read where it says "First", "Second", "Third" and the sentence right after that, I believe that it will encourage you to further study the Word of God and seek to live for Him.

Theology serves the community of faith by helping us to use the language of our convictions to shape our life and witness so that we are faithful to what God is doing in Jesus Christ and so that our witness is intelligible and applicable to our world.
...First, learning theology is like learning a language.  More specifically, theology is the grammar of faith.  Therefore, we learn theology the way we learn language.  We may initially learn the grammatical rules of a language by memorization, but at some point we are no longer conscious of the rules, we simply speak the language....
If this is the case, learning theology is not an end in itself.  It is, rather, a means to learning the language of faith and of becoming more faithful. This makes living central to Christianity, but it does not devalue theology or dispense with it.  Rather it gives us an account of the proper place and function of theology.
Second, the language of theology is the language of faith, not language about faith.  Just as we learn French not by learning about French but by actually learning French - its vocabulary and grammar - so also we learn theology not by learning about faith but by becoming faithful.  Theology, then, is not a "free creation."  It is determined by God's prior work that culminates in Jesus Christ....When we practice theology as a language of faith, then theology takes its rightful place within the disciple community.
Third, words do not refer; rather, people refer by using words.  This means that "the whole business of using theology as grammar requires also that we refer our nation, our world, ourselves, our future, to God".  It also means that the liveliness of a language depends largely upon the lives of those who use it.  That is, the vividness of the language of faith is, in large part, dependent on the vividness of the lives of the faithful.
 This was so good because it just refocused me on the purpose of theology and reminded me of how awesome God is and wise in establishing the order of things so that living for Him is so comprehensive in our lives.  When we take God seriously, we start to find that He consumes us and that we are more and more focused on Him, and that our lives start to materialize before our eyes.  Out of the nothingness of this existence, the meaninglessness of this life, God speaks into existence meaning and creates purpose.  How great is our God!  So fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  Learn to speak of him.  Learn how it was that he came, about his love, and grace, and wrath, and justice, and mercy, and righteousness, and as you learn of these things be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Walk in step with the Word.  Live each day in light of who He is and in communion with Him, and the world will see and know that He is God.

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