The church and theology

Thinking and reading about a cultural neglect of theology in modern Christianity. Have we neglected doctrine and biblical theology? Perhaps too casually and often…

“Instead the church has become enamored with business practice and psychological method. Her leaders are expected to be CEO’s, not pastor-theologians. The church’s public gatherings are designed to be events that appeal to the outsider, rather than assemblies that give corporate expression to our identity as the people of God. And our habits of thought tend to be shaped more by polling data, the blogosphere, and the image-driven nature of television than they do the Bible. The thoughts of God and his glory, our nobility and depravity, and this world’s value and transience – thoughts that shaped and characterized the minds of previous generations of Christians – rest lightly, if at all, on the church today.

“If we are to faithfully give witness to Christ, the Lord of Life, in this age, then we must recover not simply the ability to think theologically, but the commitment to do so together in the life of the local church. Until we recover theological vision in the church, the nerve that gives rich and profound biblical life to our worship and mission will remain cut. Our public worship will remain shallow and entertainment-driven. Our mission will either be indistinguishable from the methods and goals of any sales organization, or it will be co-opted by the agenda of an ultimately hostile culture.”

– Michael Lawrence, Biblical Theology in the life of the church.

6 Comments

  1. Here, here. And the few that are trying to be “pastor-theologians” are doing the same church service with longer sermons and bigger words. It’s not working. We need a holistic re-imagining of what Church looks like.

    Reply

    1. We live in a hyper-educated culture that can order a drink at starbucks but we can’t handle theological terms? Perhaps we should be more modern in our speech but we shouldn’t shy away from theological issues in preference for performance or entertainment.

      And I agree that the long sermon is tired…

      Reply

      1. I wasn’t suggesting that we not use theological terms. I just meant that the people that are trying to be doing it differently aren’t actually that different. It’s the same exact thing with minor tweaks. I didn’t mean to demonize big words.

        Long sermons on the other hand… well… let’s just say when study after study comes out saying that the average adult has an attention span of 20 minutes and that lecture is the worst way to teach someone something, then we try to teach the Word through 40 minute lectures, there’s a disconnect.

  2. Criticizing the Church has become a Reformed pastime. I want to see more constructive examples. For instance, “in this age, then we must recover not simply the ability to think theologically, but the commitment to do so together in the life of the local church. Until we recover theological vision in the church, the nerve that gives rich and profound biblical life to our worship and mission will remain cut.” What does any of that look like in reality? Don’t just say “the Bible” Instruct. Educate. Improve.

    Reply

  3. All that to say, I agree with the reformed position of a return to scripture for guidance, but the criticisms of the modern church are out there, lets imagine a way to do church that brings more glory to God if we agree with said criticisms (which I do)

    Reply

  4. Ben – sorry you took it as a blast at the church… and perhaps pulling a quote like this from a much more reasoned book was a mistake. It comes form Lawrence’s Biblical Theology, and there he unpacks what it means to approach, study and preach in such a way to avoid the pitfalls mentioned here.

    Reply

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