Why Are There So Many Angry Theologians?

Theology should produce the fruit of the Spirit, not the works of the flesh.

What is the matter with theology today? Far from being described by the string of virtues that make up the fruit of the Spirit, much of what is labeled “theology” is insecurity and fury disguised as dialogue or thoughtfulness. Even the most cursory scrolling of social media could lead you to the conclusion that you must be angry in order to do theology. In our day, it is not uncommon to see theology used as a weapon and not as a well of joy.

Maybe you’ve seen theology weaponized as an instrument of division. In this malpractice of theology, Christian truth is used to pit brothers and sisters against one another. Points of doctrine become the boundary lines in which an “us versus them” war plays out. And while there are indeed good and right times to draw lines in the sand, there are also those whose theological boundaries are so ever-shrinking that only they and a handful of their followers are seen as those who possess the truth.

Discord arises as theology is used to break unity with those fellow image bearers with whom we ought to be marching arm in arm toward the Promised Land.

Maybe you’ve seen theology weaponized as an instrument of pride. In this malpractice of theology, the accumulation of knowledge amounts to ever-inflating egos and the search for truth is but a grasp for self-importance. When the streams of arrogance flow from the source of ill-used theology, the goal becomes the applause of our neighbors instead of the good of our neighbors.

Instead of bending our intellectual life toward the pursuit of others, we bend others toward the observation of our intellectual capabilities in hopes of praise that ought to be rendered unto the Lord. In this way, theology can become a show; …

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