I have a confession to make. I was rather pleased recently when someone wrote to me and told me how impressed he was with my theological ability. He even called me a theologian. I think it was that which really massaged my ego. But isn’t that odd? We’ve turned the task of theology over to academia, and created a title for a select group of people to wear like a badge of honour: Look at me, I’m a theologian! But if evangelical theology is the truth about God in Christ, then all Christians are theologians in every sense that matters.
“Doctrine is an affair, not of the tongue, but of life.”
We’ve compounded the problem by seeing theology as the articulation of abstract and often difficult intellectual concepts. But the only theology worthy of the name is applied theology: theology that is worked out at street level in the messiness of life. Election is not a doctrine to be discussed only by professionals in the comfort of a study, but by a group of believers so that they are humbled and thrilled by God’s choice. Total depravity isn’t just something to be argued over in a lecture room, but faced up to by a group of saved sinners as they cry out to the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes. Calvin was right in a number of things, not least when he said, “Doctrine is an affair, not of the tongue, but of life.”