A Little Exercise for Young Theologians
A few days ago, I read A Little Exercise For Young Theologians by Helmut Theilicke who was the Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Hamburg in Germany. It was written for first year theological students. I read it about a year and half ago when I began classes at Nazarene Theological Seminary for an M.A. in Biblical Studies and have been reading again as I am preparing to teach a course in theology here at the Forerunner School of Ministry. He begins by discussing a major reason that theology is scorned in many circles that treasure heart-felt spirituality. The scene he describes is classic, which I have seen many times in college and unfortunately I probably did a few times in one form or another - someone is sharing in a Bible Study group something from the Word of God that really touched them and the seminarian proceeds to use a string of six-syllable words and technical theological terms to deconstruct their encounter with God in the Word and inform them (and the whole group) why their interpretation of the Scripture is not only wrong but entirely naive. The one who shared is embarrassed, others in the group who are beginning to have interest in Christianity are turned off if this is what Christianity is about, and all in all, intellectual study of theology is increasingly despised because it produces stuffy, prideful, rigid and cold religion that bears no resemblance to pleasures of King David, the passion of the apostle Paul the brotherly love of the apostle John and the sacrificial compassion of Jesus. He advises that first-year theological students should indeed keep their mouths shut more often than not. I can remember my first year of theological studies for my undergraduate degree - how I wish I had this book then - or that someone had told me to not talk as much! In fact, it strikes me as rather good advice even now.
Thursday, October 26, 2006