Who Needs Theology?
Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson in their book “Who Needs Theology?” show that there are popular and pervasive misunderstandings of theology. During the years that they taught theology, they recognized some of the students had a hunger for a deeper understanding of God and God’s ways. However, they also discovered that both lay people and pastors rated theological knowledge last out of five qualifications most important for a good pastor. That is why they felt the need to write this book, to see a renewal of sound theology and reflection among God’s children.
In My Experience
This book reminds me of the time I was heading off to seminary to learn more about this God I had just discovered – in other words to study theology. There were several people (Christians) who warned me about taking this path. They said that studying and reading the Bible should be enough. “Seminary is not the answer,” one man said.
Once I began in seminary, I recognized that everyone has a theology. One person believes in a Triune God; another (Buddhist) believes there a need for a god, but only a need for mindfulness and meditation; while another firmly believes that there is no God. In a unique way, they all are theologians. They all have a belief about who or what God is or isn’t.
A Good Theology
In chapter 7, the authors talk about Constructing Theology in Context. They write: “The question therefore isn’t, ‘Am I a theologian?’ Rather, we must ask ‘Am I a good theologian?’”
I learned that there is proper order to construct a good theology. In addition, I learned that the building blocks of theology are Scripture, Doctrine and Hermeneutics. Scripture of course refers to the Word of God. Doctrine refers to a set of beliefs. Hermeneutics refers to the science of interpretation.
In order to begin with a good, sound theology, we must begin with hermeneutics. Good hermeneutics begin with determining what your method of interpretation needs to be. The second building block is the Scripture itself. Finally, you will end up with the third building block, a sound or good theology. As Grenz and Olson quoted, we all are theologians. But that’s not enough for me. I want to be a good theologian.