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Monthly Archives: July 2010

I’ve been thinking lately- which might explain the long silence on this blog. And if you believe that’s the reason nothing ever gets posted on here, I know some swamp land in Florida that just might interest you…

But seriously,  I see and hear the term practical theology from time to time. I hear people talk about classes that are ‘more practical’  than others. And I get what they mean by it, I really think I do.  Here’s my question: Can Christian theology ever really be impractical?

If the point of Christian theology is to study/think about/learn about/talk about the God of the universe, then how is that in any way shape or form impractical? I can think of nothing more practical than total depravity, eternal damnation, and redemption through the Gospel message.

Where I think we (translation: lots of fellow Christians ) have dropped the ball is in understanding the connection between what we believe and what we do.  To put it bluntly, you can say what you believe to you are blue in the face but until it actually affects what you do, what you say, how you act, I am going to be skeptical.  If you believed the building was on fire, would you yell? Run? Warn? Call 911?  None of those this is as vastly important as what the Bible purports to be true- what theology purports to be true.  And I contend the problem is not that theology as a discipline needs to be rescued as much as we need to actually put the doctrine into our every day life. You believe everyone’s going to hell apart from Christ? Really? What about your cousin- you ever told them that? Your neighbor? Boss? Best friend?

Now, there are two things at play here. One is that I genuinely think many (I’d say most, but I’m in a good mood today) don’t actually believe what the Bible teaches.  When it’s convenient they follow it; when something they think is preferable for them rubs up against their supposed faith, they look out for number one. It’s Pascal’s proverbial ‘all men seek happiness…’ appearing at a theater near you-only this theater has uncomfortable pews and ugly carpet.

But I also know that there are times I do the same kind of things: I go and do something that flies in the face of the very things I had been pointing out in Bible study last night! So I don’t mean to say that every sin is evidence of apostasy or definitive unbelief in the Gospel.   No perfectionism here, please and thank you.

By now, I’ve (seemingly) wandered far afield. “What in the world does this have to do with Practical Theology?” Here’s what I want to say, and I say it as much (more, really) for myself as for any and every one else:

Satan wants nothing more than for us to think that all this Bibley, theology ‘stuff’ needs to be somehow ‘made’  practical, because it shows that we’re already stuck looking at and reflecting on all the stuff in front of us more than looking at the Cross of Jesus Christ and reflecting upon His work en toto, from incarnation to ascension.

It’s like being trapped in the Matrix: we look at everything here and start to think all of these things are what’s real.

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