The first “we” would be vertical. Scripture is the source, but God himself is the teacher. If theology is not done in the context of prayer and worship then it is not theology. There are those who disagree, but I cannot see otherwise. Theology is not merely an intellectual pursuit, though it is that. Theology involves my whole self in a love relationship with God, articulating the meaning of God’s Word.
The second “we” would be horizontal. I converse with the church through time and space. I cannot and must not do theology alone. It must always be conversation and disputation with other God-followers. This brings together the varying perspectives and even opposing perspectives in the hope that together we might begin to see the faintest contours of God’s truth.
Too often in theology we talk past one another, limiting our argument to the extremes in our opponent’s position. There are two things—at least—wrong with that practice. First, a conversation/disputation can only occur—and be fruitful—if we work hard at understanding the other from their perspective. We must struggle to describe their position as they would describe it.
Second, if the partners in this conversation/disputation are followers of Jesus, then we are most certainly not opponents. Yes, we may vehemently disagree, but we are not opponents. We are siblings. What is needed is much more that the admonition to “keep it clean.” Even the pagans do that. We are children of the Most High God. We ought to act like it as we do our theology.
Theology is not—nor can it ever be—a self study program. It always and only takes place with God and with our fellow God-followers.
Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge…
“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” http://www.esv.org/