At church, the pastor and I are planning a short Intro to Theology class this fall. McGrath’s book is a good, broadly evangelical read that would likely find assent with Catholics as well. It is based on the Apostles Creed, giving it good structure and content without bogging down into the minutiae of theological debate. For a church body of widely varying backgrounds, this works well.
Here is the blurb I’ve been working on for a Newsletter announcing the class:
Theology. It’s the stuff of cigar smoke filled parlors, musty libraries, and old white men. “It’s irrelevant to my walk, relationship with Christ.” “I’ve got my Bible and the Holy Spirit, who could ask for more!” I can’t agree with these statements, and I hope you don’t either, whether that is true now, or after, I’ll leave to you.
These complaints are not uncommon responses from many Christians today when you bring up theology. It’s viewed by many as ancient, dull and irrelevant to modern life. Theology should be none of the above. It is far from dull; just query Servetus. Begin burned at the stake, or a Crusade or two may not be as exciting as March Madness or the Super Bowl, but it is relevant to who you are as a creation of God, as a follower of Christ.
Why the creed? We at Faith Bible Fellowship sometimes recite the Apostle’s Creed. On even rarer occasions, we recite the Nicean creed:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
Why recite these? Are they not dead words?
No, they are not dead words. They are confessions, statements of what you and I, as Christians, believe. We all agree that God created because the early creeds insisted that a Christian believe that. They set the standard for admission to the church, the minimum requirements for admission to the fellowship. But how do they relate to me today?
As the Creed starts with “I believe”, McGrath starts with faith. What is faith? It’s a term used in many ways and by many people today. On at least one side, it is trusting God. Just as the story of Isaac displays Abraham’s faith in God, so should we. And that, we do for many of the ‘big ticket’ items. But we really only give it lip service for the small things, like giving “us this day our daily bread.” So, what does it mean to trust God, to believe in God in 21st Century America?
This may not solidly answer your objections, but I adjure you to come and join the discussion. The best way to hash out what Theology means for you and I today is by coming willing to listen, a cursory familiarity with the text, and the willingness to openly discuss, exchange ideas and objections in fellowship.
Solo Deo Gloria,