A few months ago professor Andrew McGowan gave a public lecture on the place of Theology in the university. He argued that theology even reformed evangelical theology had a place in the university and that in fact universities came into existence as training centres for the clergy. Theology is the queen of the sciences and philosophy is her handmaid. It was a well argued lecture that I am surprised I never blogged on.
However a few conversations over the years have caused me deep anxiety and the direction of much of evangelical Christianity at a grass roots level.
1. A friend of mine who is a very godly man was concerned that I thought I needed to study theology at all. if that wasn't bad enough he is also a gospel minister.
2. An undergraduate Theology student who has been accepted for the ministry within the church of Scotland said "I don't do theology."
3. An evangelical church a friend attends said "we don't do theology."
4. The manager of a good Christian book store told me that Christians don't buy good books and the church just isn't reading.
Now before I sound completely alarmist I do think that both my pastor friend and the undergrad do theology. I also realise that a dry theological student is open to the danger of being a hearer of the word rather than a doer of the word, we need to be confessional, mission centred, and completely God saturated. Paul told Timothy to study to find himself approved, the proper study of theology should lead us to be changed and drive us to our needs in adoring worship of the God we know about who is the God we also know.
Certainly the study of theology, systematic, biblical, practical needs to be at the heart of the shepherd's role so that he can feed the sheep. If the minister is going to guard the flock against wolves he needs to be sure of the truth he is proclaiming. God has given us minds to understand and hearts that are made to worship Him.