When we hear the word “theologian,” a certain picture is conjured up in our minds. A grim-faced man is sitting over a desk with heaps of books piled around him. The man has one hand holding up his head and is trying to write with the other. Perhaps he is an elder of some sort in a church, or more likely a lecturer at a secular university with more letters after his name than in it. His daily labor involves the use of large, technical words which are of such a concocted nature that ordinary Christians, such as you and me, could hardly pronounce, never mind understand them. But then, theology is not for the ordinary Christian…or is it?
Since the Middle Ages certain individuals have tried to define theology only in scientific terms and limit its practice only to a few. Before this, and during the Reformation, it was thought of as an act of worship to God which involved meditation of God as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word. This is a far better way of understanding theology, because it allows for the fact that all true thought about God must be carried out in faith, on the basis of Scripture, as an activity of our whole selves which should lead us to glorify and enjoy the true object of theology—the Triune God.
One of your greatest theologians, the Puritan Jonathan Edwards, wrote that theology (or divinity, as he called it) should not be thought of so much as an art of science, but as the doctrine that comprehends all those truths and rules, articles of faith and practice, which concern the great business and activity of the Christian religion. Unlike other branches of learning it does not depend on man’s natural reason, but fully on revelation, and is taught by God Himself in a book full of instruction which He has given us for this purpose. This is the only infallible rule of our theology given by God to guide us in searching after the knowledge of God, whom to know is life eternal.
Theology, then, is a very practical activity, and is the concern of all the Christians, even we young people. As those who have been recreated after the image of God in knowledge, there is a universal office of prophet among all believers, young and old, by which they teach and admonish one another. Part of this office is fulfilled in our calling to be theologians, as theology is the doctrine of living to God through Jesus Christ. By it the Christian understands and applies the Word of God to every area of his or her life, submitting to the sovereign rule of God with reverence and gratitude.
Questions for further consideration:
1) Does thinking of myself as a theologian in any way change the way I view what it means to be a Christian?
2) How much time and effort do I spend trying to read and understand God’s Word, the final source of my theology?
3) Are there any aspects of my life that I have not considered from a Christian perspective?
4) Might it be a worthwhile activity for me to try and discuss with my Christian friends some of the issues which affect us as Reformed young people? ❖