Many of us as Christians rely on our theology to keep our fears at bay. Rosaria Butterfield has said that “when fear rules your theology, God is nowhere to be found in your paradigm, no matter how many Bible verse you tack onto it.” (To read more about Rosaria’s story and testimony, click here). I believe she is correct. As a conservative, evangelical Christian, I have seen us use correct doctrine as the threshold of fellowship. I don’t know if we realize it, but when our doctrine becomes the threshold of fellowship with us, then our theology is no longer “theo-centric” and has become about us.
When we believe that the only people we can share life with are the people who hold identical theological nuances, then we are letting fear rule. While I believe that we must absolutely have sound doctrine and accurate exegesis, I believe those are the beginning of my ministry, not the end. Once I have plumbed the depths of God’s Word and have arrived at a doctrinal position, the work of ministry has just begun. Once I understand what God’s Word says and means, I must still let that truth resonate in the world around me.
While I believe that we must absolutely have sound doctrine and accurate exegesis, I believe those are the beginning of my ministry, not the end.
So what would happen if, instead of fear-driven theology, we viewed our theology as a means to draw people deeper into their love for Jesus? What if our goal in biblical instruction was not to help us become “righter” in our doctrine, but to become more cognizant of the wonders of God? It seems to me that if this is our goal, then our theology remains theo-centric rather than self-centric.
Although that may be more uncomfortable for us, it will also be transformative to the world around us.