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ARE YOU AN ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN?

WHAT IS THEOLOGY?

ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN

Theology is neither a nine-to-five job nor a career. To know and speak truly of God is a vocation that requires more than academic or professional qualifications. The image you should have in mind is not the professor with a tweed jacket, but rather the disciples who dropped everything to follow Jesus. Becoming a theologian means following God’s Word where it leads with all one’s mind, heart, soul, and strength.

Theology is the study of how to speak truly of God and of all things in relation to God. But theologians can’t approach the object of their study the way biologists study living creatures or geologists the earth. God cannot be empirically examined. God is the creator of all things, not to be identified with any part of the universe or even with the universe as a whole. Speaking of God thus poses unique challenges. If God had not condescended to communicate to creatures something of his light, we would be in the dark.

BY GOD, OF GOD, TO GOD

Are you familiar with Thomas Aquinas’s definition? “Theology is taught by God, teaches of God, and leads to God.”

By God. Only God can make himself known. We’re simply children who love their father and want to know him better, who trust their father’s wisdom: And He (Jesus) said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”                                                                     Matthew 18:3

Of God. Theology is thinking hard about what God has taught about Himself and all things in relation to Himself.

To God. Theology is ultimately about cultivating godliness, in oneself and one’s community. A theologian is a certain kind of person, whose created intelligence has been illumined by the Holy Spirit.

It’s true, there is a guild of “professional” theologians—mostly academics who populate colleges, seminaries, and university divinity schools—and there are scholarly journals and awards to be had, not to mention salaries and sabbaticals.

Don’t confuse making a living as a theologian with living out the knowledge of God. If you aspire to speak of God, do so to please God, not people: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?” Galatians 1:10 We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”                                                                                              1 Thessalonian 2:4

When theology proclaims the deep mystery—God’s plan of redemption conceived “before the foundation of the world”: “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”                                                                   Ephesians 1:4

It doesn’t promote cleverly devised myths, but reality. The world is passing away (even scientists agree, acknowledging that our sun will eventually burn out), but God’s Word endures forever:Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”                                                                                                                                          Matthew 24:35

Have you considered whether academic theology is your vocation rather than as a pastor or priest?

ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN

THEOLOGICAL THINKING

Let us begin with four adjectives (Trinitarian, biblical, catholic, and systematic) that qualify Christian theological thinking.

First, becoming a Christian theologian means developing a Trinitarian habit of mind.  God the Father has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ through the Spirit (what Irenaeus calls the “two hands” of God).

Second, the best way to stay focused on the subject matter of theology is to stay focused on Scripture.  It’s no coincidence that the most important figures in the history of theology—Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth—also wrote biblical commentaries.

C. S. Lewis’s distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along it clarifies what’s at stake. Those who look at the biblical text analyze it from a critical distance. They see the text, but not necessarily what it’s talking about. In contrast, those who look along the text enter into its strange new world.

God addresses us in Scripture and requires our response. It involves reading all the books in the Old and New Testaments as parts of an overarching story. The theologian is a kind of cartographer of this new world.

The third thing you must do to acquire a theological habit of mind is to read the Word of God with and for the people of God.

The best theologians are apprentices to Scripture and to the consensual tradition of its interpretation. Catholicity is a well-known mark of the Church; it ought also to characterize theologians. Let the gospel be the center of your thinking, but let catholic tradition fill out its content and fix its circumference. Know this: evangelical and catholic are bedfellows, not rivals.

The fourth theological habit of mind involves thinking systematically  as we read the Word of God with the people of God. What unifies Scripture is the story of God’s determination to see through His purpose for creation to the end, a story in which Israel and the Church loom large, with Jesus Christ as its hinge and center.

PERSONALLY

Let’s turn to your question about the kind of person you need to become. The short answer is “wise”: a person with understanding who knows how to live out what he knows with three pairs of contrasting qualities. Continue reading ARE YOU AN ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN?

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LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD

The world is not moving in a great direction. Yes, the world is a mess in a hundred different ways every day. Most people don’t believe that it is possible to change the world.

But it can. How? The changes will not come from government, not from the economy or big business, not from science. The best group of people who are positioned to make a difference is Christians. How is this possible? It is simple but not easy.

Change the World

We will change the world by behaving like Christians. There are over two billion Christians in the world and they have a tremendous influence.

Part of the problem is that Christians have blind spots. They don’t see things as they really are. They don’t see our marriage, our career, our business, our personal finances, our children’s school and even our own church as it really is. We still have biases and prejudices. Jesus wants to liberate us from our blind spots and to help us see things as they really are and to see ourselves as we really are.

We actually fool ourselves. We never admit to ourselves that we are greedy. We never say that we like money too much. Even stingy people think that they are generous. So we don’t see ourselves as we really are. Continue reading LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD

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GOD’S HEALING ASSURED

HEALING FROM GOD’S MERCY 

 God in His mercy has decreed blessing for us by sending Christ to take the curse of disease and sickness from us and bring healing.

“He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.”                                                                                  1 Peter 2:24

These are the exact words that a Divine Healer say when they lay hands on someone for healing: IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST AND BY HIS WOUNDS, YOU (NAME) ARE HEALED OF (AFFLICTION). 

This is assured for any affliction even cancer and any addiction.  The spirit world knows no limitation: long distance healing is also assured.

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”      Matthew 8:17 

Jesus used the authority of the Father given to Christ over heaven and earth Matthew. 28:18, to “pray over” James 5:14 the sick and command the enemy to go. “Whatever you ask in My Name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.”                                           John 14:14

MERCY HEALING

Some Christians pray for healing as if asking for a favor from God. In seeking healing we are not to ask God for a favor; instead, we are to glorify the Father by expecting the justice due us as a result of Christ’s awesome work for us… And we will receive it. Quit begging. Quit asking for a favor – expect God’s mercy. Continue reading GOD’S HEALING ASSURED

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