“What’s Your Theology?”

23 02 2009

Recently I went out to lunch with a pastor, which was great for two reasons.  #1. He paid. #2. It wasn’t peanut butter and jelly.  We talked for a bit about our backgrounds and the future.  Then he asked me, “So, Tim, what’s your theology?”

I was a bit puzzled, mostly because it is such a broad question.  How does one answer that question over lunch?  So, that’s what I told him… that I didn’t know how to answer the question, because it was too broad.  So, trying to be helpful (I think), he asked, “Well, are you traditional? evangelical? progressive? social justice? …”

All I could think to answer was, “Yes.”  I either am all those things, or want to be them.  This question didn’t puzzle me… this question frustrated me.  I felt like he was trying to box me in… to label me one way or the other (And I doubt that’s what he intended to do, but that’s how I felt).  Doesn’t he know that postmoderns don’t like to be labeled?

…anyway, the next morning I started reading John’s gospel, and came across a couple of stories of Jesus encountering several of his future disciples (John 1:29-51).  The first ones come to Jesus and ask him where he is staying.  He answers “Come, and you will see” (1:39).

In the next story one of the future disciples (Philip) goes to his friend (Nathanael) and tells him about Jesus.  Nathanael asks, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?!”  …to which Philip answers “Come and see” (1:46).

When Nathanael encounters Jesus, he is shocked and declares “You are the Son of God,” because Jesus told Nathanael that he had seen him under a tree.  Jesus replies, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree.  You will see greater things than that… you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man” (1:50-51).

So, that’s … “Come and you will see” (1:39), “Come and see” (1:46), and “You will see…” (1:50-51).

“What’s your theology?”   …how about “Come and see.”  Because theology has to be lived.

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3 responses

24 02 2009
dan

very nice!

I would never label you…

25 02 2009
Phil

My theology is whatever the denomination I’m currently employed by:)

Sadly, UMC doctrine can be far different then many UMC congregations…so that doesn’t work right now either!

I like the “come and see”….it keeps you humble and admitting that you don’t have all the answers. One thing I fear about seminary is all these type discussions….they are good to a point, but in a diverse setting it could get very old.

My Theology:
God created man…man created sports. To honor God, man should build a sports themed church. Every church is supposed to have a narrow focus of people they target (if you try to get everyone then you get no one) so I’m going for the ESPN/sports addicts. If wives aren’t interested we can put them in a rooom with a Beth Moore video….haha!

Seriously….who wouldn’t come to this church?

27 02 2009
Matthew

Good stuff.

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