It says something terrible about the state of the discipline [contemporary theology] that it is utterly objective and scholarly, that one can be successful without ever having to pray, meditate upon Scripture, participate in the life of the church, serve the poor, counsel the downtrodden or just repent of one’s selfishness and become more loving. It is a blight against contemporary theology that the mark of success has to do with argumentation or even conformance to some tradition, intellectual or confessional, not holiness. That one can be considered a knowledgeable theologian without ever really having to be affected by the knowledge they have is at the very least curious for a discipline concerned with knowledge of the ultimate ontologically reality, God... Knowing God entails personal change, for one cannot truly know God without coming into active, transformative relationship to him. Theologians thus do not know various doctrines, even if they can argue compellingly for them, if their selves are not conformed, not taught by the content. Calvin thus recognized that theology is not only plagued by false gods or idolatry, but by false selves as well. For him, it is impossible to retain a false self and yet know God in truth. In this way, what makes for a successful theologian is not simply good intellectual traits, but, more fundamentally, virtue and piety. Theologians are those who do not simply pontificate and speculate about the truth for others, but above all those who have been personally taught by Truth, who have been grasped by the content of their task to the point of being conformed to it. True theologians do not fool themselves into thinking that theological problems are solved conceptually (in other words, enough babbling about the perils of capitalism and more getting on with providing relief to those who suffer from its oppression). True theologians don’t master their discipline, but are mastered by it, being moved not simply intellectually by thoughts, but personally by realities shorthanded by doctrines.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
To Know GOD!
James Merick has eloquently put what I have felt for a while now...