The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Theology as idolatry?

Christ is the way, truth and life

I love theology—the pursuit of a deeper understanding of who God is and what God wants of us. And I love discussion about God: the insights and beliefs different people bring to the table. What really turns my crank is the passion and debate such conversation creates.

At Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, some of us participated in “Beer and Theology”—ordering the brew of the day at a local pub and debating questions thrown out by our professor: Was Mary really a virgin? Would you still be a Christian if the bones of Jesus were found today? If God loves everyone and forgives all sin, aren’t all people going to heaven?

These questions struck to the core of what people believed. Some of my classmates got extremely uptight over the questions—as if the questions were inherently evil.

This is theology. As much fun as I have with it, theology can also divide all Christians and wound the church and efforts to grow the kingdom. Two people of faith can work together, eat together, even worship together. But when they share their theology, it can all end.

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