As Christians in one sense we are all theologians. By definition we study God. Interestingly often times our theological discussion, our talking about God seems to be just that, “about God.” No doubt in order to know God, to have knowledge of God, we must engage in descriptive language that hopefully communicates who He is relative to His disclosure in Christ and through the Scriptures. But it shouldn’t stay there. This brings me to the point of this post “Dangerous Theology;” my concern is that when we speak theologically we are always cognizant of the fact that our speech acts about God are not just language games, but that our theology engenders movement towards God which is presupposed by an already existent intimacy with Him.
There are certain systems of theology, i.e. scholasticism (classical theism/some reformed theology), which methodologically are more oriented toward “dangerous theology.” Let me clarify, Scholastic theology, historically, has engaged rationalist categories which in turn has shaped its view of God. Subsequently, Scholastic theology has thought of God as a substance rather than a relationship (Trinity). Viewing God as a substance, or “unmoved mover”, indeed falls into the category of dangerous theology. Since this perception and articulation tends to make God static, cold, and inward focused; which in turn has dire consequences for how man thinks about God and himself.
Then there are other systems of theology, i.e. trinitarianism (a la Colin Gunton), which methodologically tend toward talking about and emphasizing Gods’ relationality. I think this approach is much more fruitful, since it starts where scripture starts, and talks positively about God as disclosed in Jesus Christ. This is the theological trajectory that I am most comfortable with, and I think is the most healthy way to talk about God.
Even so … whether we follow the first approach I describe, or this last approach, we can end up doing dangerous theology; in other words, even if our theological framework is trinitarianly and relationally driven, we can stop short by merely talking “about God” — and never to God. This is the point of this post, our theological talk should enhance intimacy and promote worship of the God we so vociferously talk about here in the blogosphere and everywhere. This applies to those who are academic/trained theologians, and lay theologians — we can all fall prey to dangerous theology, when our theology ends in knowledge and not love!
This is what the Lord says: let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strongman boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord. — Jeremiah 9: 23-24