The concept of theology often seems lost in the midst of a myriad of new ideas and beliefs. Grenz and Olson, in their book Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God, assert that “many Christians today not only are uninformed about basic theology but even seem hostile to it.”
Hostility seems like such a harsh word, so it begs further questions regarding people’s difficulty embracing theology.
Many don’t understand what they believe or why. This being the case, the author’s make a positive attempt to encourage all people to explore and form their own theology. Instructions are provided to help the reader think critically, and caution reinforces the importance that one should not fall prey to false teachings. While the book was wonderfully written and the concepts presented are all very sound, I wonder how many people without any official theological training would grasp these concepts. I’m not sure it speaks to the root cause of people’s “hostility” or complacency toward developing their own theology. If I handed the book out on the street and asked people to read it, would they? And, would they actually understand the message and put it into practice? If I presented the concepts from the book to people who call themselves Christian would they listen and act, or just listen and nod their head in agreement?
Although Grenz and Olson assert that everyone is a theologian at some level, I‘ve found that many people misunderstand the entire concept of theology. Many people do not know what they believe, or why they believe it. “Theology is any reflection on the ultimate questions of life that point toward God.” “Theology is any thinking, reflecting or contemplating on the reality of God-even on the question of God.” This being said, there is an element of critical thinking involved as one questions and explores their beliefs. In a society where many lack critical thinking skills, this poses an issue. Based on Grenz and Olson’s six levels of theological practice, I assume that many people fall under the ‘folk’ category. This is often evident when questioning people on what they believe regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, humans, salvation, church, heaven & hell.
As Grenz and Olson assert, “Folk theology is inadequate as a resting place for most Christians. It encourages gullibility, vicarious spirituality and simplistic answers to difficult dilemmas that arise from being followers of Jesus Christ in a largely secular and pagan world. It stunts growth and blunts the influence of Christianity in the world.” While there are some Christians who have moved from folk to lay level knowledge, I’d like to see the trends. Is the trend worsening? What is the percentage of people who call themselves Christian, yet stay at the folk level indefinately?
Grenz and Olson wrote this book because they “are concerned that individual Christians who lack theological literacy and acumen will be tossed about by every wind of doctrine that comes sweeping through our media-dominated culture. From television preachers to spirituality sections of mainstream bookstores, all kinds of strange doctrines-“other gospels”-are being promoted and accepted by Christians unequipped to evaluate them.” I’d ask, what is our responsibility to join this call to action? How can we get people interested in pursuing knowledge about God and reflecting about their faith, using Scripture as their guide and allowing the Holy Spirit to work within them? This is the fundamental concern of Christianity today.
 Stanley J. Grenz;Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Kindle Location 27). Kindle Edition.
 Stanley J. Grenz;Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Kindle Locations 54-56). Kindle Edition.
 Stanley J. Grenz;Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Kindle Location 70). Kindle Edition.
 Stanley J. Grenz;Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Kindle Locations 229-232). Kindle Edition.
 Stanley J. Grenz;Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Kindle Locations 38-40). Kindle Edition.