What is theology?  Who are theologians?

I think these have come to be known as “professional” things or people.  Theology is done by a select few theologians.  They are trained professionals.  They have degrees.  They have studied.  They are the ones that get worked up over issues regular people, like us, don’t get worked up over.  In this way theology and theologians are removed from the normal life of Christianity.  However, I will assert that all Christians do theology and are therefore theologians.  If this assertion is accurate then the repercussions are weighty for you and me.  We must answer the questions I posed earlier though; what is theology and who are theologians?

Theology is “God talk” and “God talk” is talk to God, about God, and for God.

In this way theology is an activity that takes place rather than a subject that is mastered by professionals.  All Christians, including YOU, at one time or another in one place or another speak to, for, or about God.  Just think most recently concerning the death of some of our brothers in the church.  I heard several conversations about God and what God was doing.  “God needed __________ in heaven more than earth.”  This is talk for God and specifically his desire.  This also reveals the severity of the curse “God damn it!”  This is talking for God.  We pray, praise, and give thanks to God quite regularly.  We ask questions of Jesus, the point of bible passages, bible classes, and sermons.  When an amazing thing happens, “Thank God!”  Something awful, “Oh my God.”  We seem completely bound to do theology whenever and wherever we are in any time and place.  It is also important to note that none of these moments of theology are mutually exclusive from one another.  Many times when we talk to God we are also talking about God, or even for God.

For instance in the prayer service Compline (LSB pg. 254) we speak to God prayerfully, yet for God in mutual absolution, but even about God and what He has done in Jesus all at once.  With this in mind let me say again, it is virtually impossible for Christians not to do theology wherever they go and therefore not be theologians.  Now, this might be a little disconcerting to some of you when you consider much of what you say and DO on a daily basis and how significant it does turn out to be!  In the end it is a confession of the god you follow, believe in, pray to, and claim as “my god.”  All I can do it suggest to you very sincerely that you (as individuals and families) make sure what you confess about “God” is accurate and true! Then also what WE confess about God is accurate and true.  This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for me as your Pastor.

Since you and I all do theology and are theologians and we are all Christians; what we say, and think, and do makes confession of our theology—our God—both as individuals and families, but also as a congregation and Synod!  I said earlier theology is best considered an activity rather than a subject.  Yes.  I think this is right on.  As any activity, though, we must all learn the boundaries, the rules; we must do well at now our place and the “game” since we cannot help doing it.  Since it is our habit to do theology as theologians it would be well for us to make sure it is a good habit.  There is after all much talk about God, for God, and to God all around us.  To be honest, not all theology is good theology.  There are therefore good habits and bad habits of theology.  The question moving forward for you and me then is, “how can I develop good theological habits whilst shedding some of my bad habits?”