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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Christianity View of Theology

Written by: on December 2, 2018

Christianity View of Theology in Relationship with Spirituality.
All through this term and the selection of books Jason chose for the class are amazing and making one think a reflection on what is being brought out. From where I am coming from, and the cultural perspectives and believes of what theology is vis-à-vis the spirituality of a Christian; Stanley and Roger have drawn my attention to what I have been seeing.
I have heard many Christians who seem to be more spiritual than others say, “I do not care about what theology says, by what I care is my Salvation in Christ Jesus and knowing Jesus, preaching Jesus and bringing people to Jesus.” It was during our youth period when many had just received salvation and they start reading the scripture deeply and mixing with other fellowships would come up and start criticizing theology, not from a technical or intellectually, but literally. At one point I was almost being convinced that theology is for the elites who are trying to pervert the truth of the gospel for their reasoning. They connected theology to people who are just arguing without reason that connects spiritually of their Christianity. Stanley and Roger have touched on the same as they connected theology and life that, Theology stands above or apart from life. It belongs to the intellectual, not the practical reality. (Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson 1996)
Many of the people who criticize theology as they understand what it is, never go for simple training. We have many of them in our Friends church, and I am happy the way Stanley and Roger have described various theologies people apply in the fulfillment of their spirituality. Under the chapter “Not all theologies are not equal,” the connection to what has been happening in our churches here in Kenya has been touched on as they describe the different types of unequal theology.
In the context of which we have seen this happening, I find folk theology connecting to what I continue to experience in our Quaker churches in Kenya. They have despised and dismissed theology due to their ignorance of facts. The authors have described the nature and believes of the folk theologians, that, they reject reflection in the sphere of religion. Deep spiritual piety and intellectual thought are considered unethical to one another with folk theology. (Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson 1996)
It is true that many churches here and mostly those that are known as indigenous African Churches are very comfortably adopting what their leader tells them to do and practice. They trust what their leader report and advocate to them. As much as I would like to agree with the authors of “Who needs Theology” it is true Falk Theology is a challenge in our churches. One can see clearly how the church is brought down with reason. Therefore, I agree with what the authors are saying that folk theology is inadequate as a resting place for most Christians. It encouraged gullibility, vicariously spirituality and simplistic answers to dilemmas that arise from being followers of Jesus Christ in a largely secular and pagan world. (Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson 1996)
The Kenyan Quaker church has been running through the various theological approaches, and one can witness as you go visiting different churches in different communities and those in urban areas. A good number of our churches are now operating under the Ministerial theology practices. This has been due to the training of more pastors in our churches. It is from the explanation from the book “Who needs Theology?” that we all feel that Christians through their churches needs all these blended theological reflections for a theologically healthy church. However, if theology is our Christian faith, then all these practices comes as a result of study and expanding our knowledge of God. The Christian theological task is to use the tools of craft (the biblical message, our theological heritage, and contemporary culture) to construct an interpretive framework that views all reality from the perspective that God has encountered us in Jesus Christ. The goal of theology is to engage in the task of seeing the world through “Christian” eyes. (Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson 1996)pg124

About the Author

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John Muhanji

I am the Director Africa Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting. I coordinate all Quaker activities and programs in the Quaker churches and school mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The focus of my work is more on leadership development and church planting in the region especially in Tanzania.. Am married with three children all grown up now. I love playing golf as my exercise hobby. I also love reading.

4 responses to “Christianity View of Theology”

  1. John, it’s good reading your blog on how Christians view theology and the state of the Friends church in Kenya. I identify with your situation as well, as a young man I used to despise Theology with my fellow youth. We had no room for Theology as we preached the Gospel across Kenya and we had no kind words for theologians. Stanley & Roger have alot of good to shed light on who needs Theology and so many things are much clearer to me. The same situation applies to our churches in Nairobi andother counties where ministerial Theology is in application by the ordained and trained pastors. Thank you for shedding light on the state of the Friends church.

  2. mm Sean Dean says:

    John, I saw a lot of the same folk theologies pop up in the church where I grew up. If study is not something encouraged from the pulpit and church leadership it becomes all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to design your own theology based upon a handful of passages. I’m glad to hear that the Friends church in Kenya is moving toward a more trained approach. I’d like to see this be the trend among all churches, but alas that will probably not happen.

  3. mm Nancy VanderRoest says:

    Hi John. Thanks for sharing your post. You reflected a similar focus that Mary Mims did in her post, and it was eye-opening and enlightening. I found your statement about folklore in churches very interesting. You noted that ‘it is true that many churches here and mostly those that are known as indigenous African Churches are very comfortably adopting what their leader tells them to do and practice.’ I agree that this is why theology is important for everyone – so we are not misled by folklore beliefs as we journey through Christianity. I appreciated your post, John. Thanks for sharing…

  4. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    John,
    Thanks so much for your perspective and sharing your insights into the Kenyan Friends church. Coming from the Assemblies of God here in the US, I recall many of the same experiences. Like our sister Mary describes, unfortunately often a high view of the pastoral leader’s authority is coupled with a denouncing of theological development of the congregation. This then leads to folk theology becoming (rather than the starting place) the ending place for many well intentioned believers. This is why we, who are called to be the doctors of the Church, need to lead and develop pastoral leaders who will lead and develop those they influence to pursue ongoing theological development. Take care, H

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