DMINLGP

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

HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? grentz and olson

Written by: on November 9, 2016

God, the One we have been taught to trust and believe. We have been preached to for numerous years to ask in Jesus name, and you shall receive, be obedient, and God will bless you. November 8th for many believers in America were left wondering why their prayers were unanswered, but there some who believe God has answered their prayers.

Authors Grenz and Olson invite us to understand that “everyone needs Theology.” (Kindle, location 287) Many US voters today are trying to understand their faith in God.  God ask us to seek Him first. When we do this, we learn and communicate with God through His written Word. The voter’s reaction lines up with the theories of Authors Stone and Duke. They said, “Deliberated theological reflection carries us forward when our embedded theology proves inadequate. Our embedded theology (faith seeking to understand) is only sufficient until a crisis, conversation, or controversy leads us to reflect again.”[1]

eye_telescope What do you see?

The authors identified those seeking to know God as five levels, and I identify with the first four stages:

“Folk Theology – seeking God through feelings and results

Lay Theology – seeking God because of contradictions with their view and traditions

Ministerial Theology – seeking God using additional biblical tools

Professional Theology – reflection and professional preparation

Academic Theology – Seeking understandings for one’s self and not related to faith.” (Kindle, locations  205, 234, 252, 272)

I must admit when I was in seminary and was told to believe what these scholars presented as absolute knowledge of God, I was offended. How do I know if their interpretation is true? What trauma in their lives affected their view of God’s word? How do I know that what they presented for my reading and understanding was inspired by God? The authors want us to know that we too are theologians by our desire to understand God more, “Theology is not, as many wrongly suppose, a kind of esoteric knowledge possessed by a few superior intellectuals. It is simply faith seek understanding. And insofar as ordinary Christians seek answers to questions that naturally arise out of faith, they are already doing Christian theology.” (Kindle, location 175)

According to the authors, “Theological reflection should encourage one toward spirituality and discipleship.” (Kindle, location 413) The word discipleship reminded me of Bonhoeffer’s writing, The Cost of Discipleship. He addressed two styles of grace. “Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.” [2] “Costly grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ, it cost a man his life, and it condemns sin.”[3]  Discipleship should lead one to learn more knowledge about God and to have an intimate personal relationship. As DMIN students, we are experiencing costly grace. God has chosen us and we have chosen to follow him. As theologians, we must seek the guidance, discernment, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to discernment and understand God’s word. Authors Grenz and Olson points out that, “good theology moves beyond stating truths; it explores the significance of our beliefs or faith assertions for all of life.” (Kindle, location 399) Our weekly chats have stretched each one of us beyond what the author said but to our inner world to express how we are affected by their views.

The more we seek to know Him, the more intimate we are with God. The Bible says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.”4

I am ready to get closer by laying in His presence and observing all that His hands hath provided-
charlie brown God

 

 

 _______________________

1 James O. Duke, and Howard W. Stone, How to Think Theologically, 3rd ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2013), 20.

               2 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, (New York, NY: SCM Press Ltd., 1959), 43.

               3 Ibid, 46.

               4 Philippians 4:9, New International Version.

 

  • The system keeps unformatting the footnote and bibliography entry.

Working Bibliography

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York, NY: SCM Press Ltd.,                                                     1959.

Stone, Howard W. , James O. Duke. How to Think Theologically. 3rd ed.                                                               Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2013.

 

 

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

9 responses to “HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? grentz and olson”

  1. Preach it Lynda- yes we are ALL called to be theologians. It was a refreshing reminder throughout the book and I appreciated you hi-lighting this. I wonder what our churches would look and feel like if we all considered ourselves theologians, equipped differently but all with the ability to know and speak about God?

  2. “Theological reflection should encourage one toward spirituality and discipleship.” I think the fallacy of those who do not understand theology is that they believe it to be theory absent from the practice. It never moves from reflection to practical application. The discipleship piece is so important to how we engage with theology each and every day.

    Yes I agree it is the cost of grace! 🙂

  3. Mary Walker says:

    Amen, sister! I think you hit on one of the reasons many people think they cannot “do theology”. They are anyway, but don’t realize it because of misperceptions. I used to think that theologians were just the Augustine’s and Calvin’s of this world. That stuff’s just for those really important men, not a lay person like me.
    The emphasis, as you say, should be on the reason for it. It will help us as Jesus’ disciples. As Jim pointed out, there’s a big world out there that needs to hear about the love of Jesus. And the cost is great, but certainly less that the cost our Savior paid. What an encouraging post!

  4. mm Katy Lines says:

    I’m sorry your experience in seminary was less than ideal. “I must admit when I was in seminary and was told to believe what these scholars presented as absolute knowledge of God, I was offended. How do I know if their interpretation is true?” My experience, both in seminary and with my colleagues at work has been such that alternative views are introduced, dialogue occurs on strengths and weaknesses of varying viewpoints, and more questions raised than answered. I feel like my faith was enriched and deepened through these discussions.

  5. Stu Cocanougher says:

    Lynda, I appreciate how you brought up Bonhoeffer’s comparison of “cheap grace” to “costly grace.”

    Good theology should transform our lives as the Holy Spirt and the Holy Scriptures mold us and shape us.

    I pray that God will help us all understand what it is like to have “costly grace.”

  6. I love your quote, Lynda, “good theology moves beyond stating truths; it explores the significance of our beliefs or faith assertions for all of life.”
    This reminds me of the way some people try to make their argument simply by listing verse after verse that they believe (or have been told) supports their opinion. I used to excel at that kind of argument until I realized that some of those verses I was quoting (when put in context) actually said something very different! Good theology says look beyond the black and white words on the page into the heart of God as revealed in Christ and let it change your heart to match.

  7. Katy,
    Seminary was different for me in the beginning. I am from the era where The Pastor is next to God. The pastor was our bible interpreter, our theologian, and the Holy Spirit teaches you the meaning of the scripture. Not someone you never met or heard of. It was a challenge for me and still is unless I agree with them. 🙂

    • mm Katy Lines says:

      I’m so glad you came through that experience– stronger, I would imagine! And perhaps your peers in seminary gained something from your strength as well. 🙂

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