Joel Chopp – Husband, Theology Student, Canadian, Banjo Enthusiast
Theology does not typically enjoy scoring very high on our “important things to do today” list. This can even be true of pastors and church leaders: often the “more practical” aspects of ministry, the activities where we “get our hands dirty” crowd out the time in our day for deep, serious reflection. For some, theology doesn’t even register as an activity to be crowded out—it’s boring and divisive, and the last thing our churches need is more of it.
Though these tendencies likely stem from good motives, they’re also working with a poor definition of theology. Theology is nothing less than the exercise of holy reason in thinking and speaking well about the Triune God, and I submit that there are few activities more important than this for the life of a church, or for an individual believer. A.W. Tozer said “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us,” in part because what we think and how we speak determines how we order our lives. A church that does not slow down to think and speak rightly about God—that is, to think and speak in accordance with his Word spoken to us—is a church that may be outwardly growing, but inwardly wasting away.
Theology is not for the academy, it is for the church. Theology is not first the professor’s job, it is the task of every disciple of Jesus. Every Christian is a student of theology because every Christian thinks and speaks about God. Today, we students have an embarrassing amount of riches at our fingertips—the works of the fathers and the scholastics, of Augustine and Anselm, of Aquinas and Arminius and Wesley and Whitfield—all at our fingertips. Take them. Read them. Drink deep and search the Scriptures: think and speak well of the Triune God.