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You, The Theologian

Many would not consider Clive Staples Lewis a theologian. Most people would say he was a philosopher and great thinker, but not particularly a theologian. This, the thing that causes us to arbitrarily determine who is a theologian and who is not, is odd and inconsistent. Let me explain.

It is odd and inconsistent that the word “theologian” has so much to do in the minds of men with the study and knowledge of scripture when the word "theology" literally means the study of God. In light of this reality, the greatest theologian would be someone that knows God and gazes upon Him in study rather than just knowing the Bible in and out. In fact, I would go one step further and say that you, my friend, are a theologian, whether you are aware of it or not.

Scripture is undeniably a wonderful avenue to study God, but simply knowing biblical information, retaining biblical knowledge, and thoroughly studying scripture cannot (according to the definition of the word “theology”) make a person a theologian. In fact, you can read the Bible with so much mind and so little heart that you study yourself right out of studying God. I have done it many times. And once it is no longer Him who the eyes of the heart are locked onto but rather intellect and the retention of mere knowledge, it cannot be said that one is studying God at all.

In college I watched people that were majoring in Bible tackle the scriptures with such diligence that they never wanted to pick the Bible up ever again. They were training to be theologians. It is both ironic and tragic. In other words, you can read the Bible wrongly, but you can never study God wrongly. Stand back, acknowledge Him and love Him, and before you know it, according the definition of the word itself, you become a theologian. Theology is not the study of scripture but the study of God Himself.

Creation, being that it too went through the intimate process of being created by the Creator, knows God. Thus Creation, in its own right, is a theologian. In light of that, it is not too much to assume that a tree or flower could illuminate the character and study of God just as much as the writings of Thomas à Kempis. Eyes to see.

There is still a power that desires to draw a line between the peon laymen and the all-powerful theologian rather than embracing all as the royal priesthood. Don’t forget it. Somehow, an arbitrary point has been planted in the minds of men where a man is deemed by others, not because of actual studying God but because of enough reading and retention, to hold the precious title of “theologian”. I would love to see that line erased in my life. Maybe more than hours spent studying, memorized dates, knowledge of covenants, historical contexts, Greek and Hebrew mastered, a theologian is someone like David, who knew God, took the time to look upon His beauty, and sang songs of joy about Him. Studying God can happen altogether outside of studying scripture, thus our definition of theologian is fundamentally broken. Maybe a theologian is someone that studies God in prayer so thoroughly that they cannot help but be like Him, care for the poor and hold the dying, like Mother Teresa. Maybe a theologian is someone that has studied God so thoroughly and knows His thoughts so keenly that they write multiple books that are not theological persay (as we traditionally use the word), but perfectly represent God’s thoughts and heart, like Clive. Maybe a theologian is someone like you, who in all you do, whether it be go to work or read your Bible or take care of your kids or care for your sick spouse or go to church, study God.

Go influence the world, you theologian you.

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