Monday, September 19, 2011

Following Christ as the Heart of Theology

I've been teaching an Introduction to Theology course at Saint Paul University. I have almost forty students joining me on a journey through the history of Christian thought. It is amazing when you look at all the shifts and turns, conflicts and breakthroughs that mark the 2000+ years of Christianity. One thing is consistent throughout - other than the constancy of God's love that is - that is that God's people are able to find a relevant and profound voice of Christian faith in every shift of culture. It is not done through naive constancy, assuming Christianity never changes (only God has guaranteed to never change). Nor is it best found in our ever multiplying convictions to have found THE authentic (in our age this often means we believe it is historically authentic) expression of Christianity. It happens often in spite of our needless justifications. It happens because at the heart of every expression of Christianity is a desire to be faithful followers of Christ.

When we follow Christ we gain the courage (which I believe comes to us through the Holy Spirit) to seek understanding of what our faith means to our world today.

This is no small thing. It is how we partner with God in the project of declaring Good News to all of creation. It also should hearten us that God is never surprised by the changes in culture, nor is God ever afraid. Rather God finds amazing ways to accomplish God's redemptive purposes throughout all the earth - and God invites us to share in this work. When we follow Christ we participate with God in all that God is up to in the earth today. How exciting is that!

My hope for my class is that I will be able to convey some of the excitement I feel for deliberate theology. My hope for you all is that you will take the task of theology to heart and commit yourself to doing theology well - wherever God has placed you to be Good News. With courage, follow Christ into culture my friends, and be prepared to marvel at all God wants to do.

Frank Emanuel, Freedom Vineyard, Ottawa

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