Themelios Vol. 35.1

themelios-35-1.jpgDie neue Ausgabe der Online-Zeitschrift Themelios ist da.

  • Editorial: Perfectionisms by D. A. Carson
  • Minority Report: The Importance of Not Studying Theology by Carl Trueman
  • New Commentaries on Colossians: Survey of Approaches, Analysis of Trends, and the State of Research by Nijay Gupta
  • Does Baptism Replace Circumcision? An Examination of the Relationship Between Circumcision and Baptism in Colossians 2:11–12 by Martin Salter
  • Pastoral Pensées: (1 Timothy 3:14–16) by Bill Kynes
  • Book reviews

Carl Trueman scheibt in seinem provozierenden Beitrag:

It might seem odd to write an editorial for a theological journal on the topic of not doing theology and how important that can be; and, indeed, perhaps it is contrarian even by my own exacting standards. But it is nonetheless important. Let me explain.

The greatest temptation of a theology student is to assume that what they are studying is the most important thing in the world. Now, i need to be uncharacteristically nuanced at this point: there is a sense, a very deep and true sense, in which theology is the most important thing in the world. it is, after all, reflection upon what God has chosen to reveal to his creatures; and it thus involves the very meaning of existence. in this sense, there is nothing more important than doing theology. But this is not the whole story. one of the great problems with the study of theology is how quickly it can become the study of theology, rather than the study of theology, that becomes the point. we are all no doubt familiar with the secular mindset which repudiates any notion of certainty in thought; and one of the reasons for this, i suspect, is that intellectual inquiry is rather like trying to get a date with the attractive girl across the road with whom you have secretly fallen in love: the thrill comes more from the chase and the sense of anticipation than it does from actually finding the answer or eliciting agreement to go to the movies. This plays out in theology in two ways. First and most obvious, there is a basic question of motivation which needs to be addressed right at the start of theological endeavour: am i doing this purely and simply for personal satisfaction? Has the study of theology become so central to my identity that the whole of my being is focused on it and seeks to derive things from it in a way which is simply unhealthy and distorts both its purpose and the person who i am? That is something with which all theologians will, i suspect, wrestle until the day they die, being part and parcel of who we are as fallen creatures; but there are also things we can do which ease the situation …

The second way in which the study of theology for study’s sake can play out is the manner in which it can ultimately disconnect you from reality, an odd result of studying that should, in theory at least, ground you more firmly in reality than anything else. i often wonder, as i sit in church on a sunday, of how much of the knowledge i have is truly significant for the people in the pews—the man who has just lost his job, the single mum struggling to hold it together, the teenager coping with all of the pressures that come with the transition to adulthood.

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