A friend recently insulted me; he called me a theologian. What gall. I know he meant it as a compliment, but I was taken aback.
To me, a theologian is someone who intellectualizes God, sucking all the life and vitality from who he is and turning him into something dry, boring, abstract, and inaccessible.
I’ve heard these people speak, and I’ve read their writings—and I want nothing to do with them or the religious thought they represent.
When I hear “theologian,” the phrase “whitewashed tombs” comes to mind. Regarding this, Jesus said,
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law…for you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity,” (Matthew 23:27, NLT).
I am understandably turned off by that perception of the word theologian.
However, consider that theology simply means “the study of God.” Therefore, a theologian must be “one who studies God.” In that respect, perhaps I am part theologian—at least in a practical, non-theoretical sense.
But even more important than being one who studies God, however, is to be one who loves God, one who knows God, and one who follows God.
That’s how I’d prefer to be known.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.