“All of us are theologians”

“…all of us are theologians, in one way or another Being a theologian just means thinking and speaking about God. True, we may not do much of that. We might go for days and weeks without a thought of God entering our heads, but that is usually impossible. Things happen. Acccidents. Tragedies. Deaths and funerals. Natural disasters. Illness. Loss. Suffering. Disappointment. Wrongdoing. And so on and on. There is also good fortune. Experience of great beauty or pleasure. Sheer grace. Chance encounters that determine our lives. Love. We begin to wonder… wondering if there is some logic to it all in our lives, or some injustice. We become theologians.”

Gerhard O. Forde  ‘On Being a Theologian of the Cross’, 1997. p 10-11

18 Responses

  1. Sometimes I feel like the scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz……..”If I only had a brain” when I tell or speak about the things of God.

    But it there in my weakness, when I’m witnessing to someone, that the Holy Spirit pours Himself out and I just get out of the way and let Him do what I can’t do.

  2. Going days or weeks without thinking about God? That just isn’t feasible in the Christian life. He should be on our minds abundantly day by day.

  3. This is also true with atheist. In fact they (having been one myself and if you read them much) are obsessed with thinking and talking about God. Which is odd, they think and speak constantly and positively about God in the sense of no God, however the theist speaks little and thinks little of “nogod”.

    In fact when something good or bad happens to us as Forde says we don’t gravitate to a thinking and response that in essences says (paralleling Dr. Forde), “We begin to wonder… wondering if there is some NOTHING to it all in our lives, or some non-injustice. We become atheologians.”


  4. We’re pretty “lifeless” beings as a result of the fall. It’s only when we encounter something greater that these dulled senses, on occasion, begin to spark. The scene in Perelanda, where Ransom encounters a real (unfallen) person for the first time conveys this well. I often find ‘experiences of great beauty or pleasure’ renew a sense of deeper reality.

  5. “What comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.” -A.W. Tozer

    While I agree with Forde & Tozer, I also recognize that even my best thoughts of God fall pitifully short of who God is and what God is like. My theology easily becomes my idol. We are all poor theologians dependent on the one who descended to our level to give us a wonderful glimpse of God and save us even from our bad theology.

  6. Theology is a matter for the church. Karl Barth.

    • In context: “Theology is not a private reserve of theologians. It is not a private affair for professors. Happily, there have always been pastors who understood it better than most professors. Nor is it a private affair for pastors. Happily, there have always been church members and many congregations who have discharged its function quietly but vigorously while their pastors were theological babes and barbarians. Theology is a matter for the church. It does not get on well without pastors and professors. But its problem, the purity of the church’s service, is put to the whole church. There are in principle no non-theologians in the church. The term “laity” is one of the worst in the vocabulary of religion and ought to be banished from Christian conversation.”

    • That Karl guy…did he live before Algore?

  7. oops… I meant “before”

  8. It’s OK Patrick–Algore and his invention kinda messed up some of the better quotes…

  9. Theology is what we do when we reflect on the world and our own human existence in the light of faith in God.

    Interestingly we sometimes come to different conclusions, but that’s the Holy Spirit for you.

  10. No Doorman Priest,
    The holy Spirit does not lead people to different conclusions, the Old Adam in us does that!
    The Holy Spirit leads us to Christ, the one conclusion for all of us.

  11. I second that, this is where all kinds of strange “spirit” led things deceive men. My wife having come from some strong and rather diverse varieties of charisma could tell you a lot about “false spirits” different conclusions.

    I’ve heard it said many ways by way of analogies about the Holy Spirit’s true office is to glorify Christ alone who in turn is the revelation of the Father…there is thus no discontinuity in the Trinity at all. Nor does the Spirit lead into heterodoxy in the least (that’s another spirit). The Holy Spirit does not make God’s Word confusing, unknowable or subjectively variable – false spirits do that. If/when there arises heterodoxy on any given issue three things are absolutely certain about it:

    1. The demonic enemy is the spirit in one of them.
    2. God’s saints are being tested as to whom they will listen.
    3. It is NEVER the case that ‘God desires variety in His garden’.

    We were just studying this in our new LCMS church SS and I was surprised the temptation many life long Lutheran’s are having with this very issue, it’s itching their ears so badly. I wanted to pipe up and say, “We’ve actually been there and you DON’T want to enter into that hell and deception AT ALL!” And I mean hell with all due force.


  12. The Apostolic confession is pretty clear –
    one faith, one confession, one sure and certain foundation,
    one pillar and ground of truth – isn’t that the means used by the Holy Spirit to reveal and thereby glorify the Godhead?

    The New Testament is also pretty clear about what happens when we deviate from that fixed point – we murder the truth and quickly bury ourselves and others under the weight of ‘another gospel’, the poison of our adversary.

    May our Great God and Saviour lead us to and keep us in the Gospel that truly rescues us from that horror!

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