Theologians, Fight for the Churches

I just finished reading David Wells' essay "The Theologian's craft" in Doing Theology in Today's World. After observing that the church, as well as the academy and the culture, has begun to become disinterested in theological thinking, Wells concludes,
Evangelical theology therefore finds itself alienated from the academy with whose Enlightenment assumptions it must be at odds, from the wider culture to whom it is understandably a stranger and an alien, and from the life of the church whose habits of mind and interests now lie substantially elsewhere. It is this third alienation that is most unexpected, most grevious, and most damaging.

A church that neither is interested in theology nor has the capacity to think theologically is a church that will be rapidly submerged beneath the waves of modernity. It is a church for whom Christian faith will rapidly lose its point, and this is already well underway within evangelicalism. And a church whose interests are thus adrift is one that no longer is an audience for whom theologians can think.

They are on the point of becoming artists whose work no one bothers to view. As a new generation of evangelical theologians emerges and begins to learn the craft, this will be the most urgent and pressing of problems to which a solution will have to be found. And may God help them to do it!
Fifteen years later, I think Wells' analysis and battle cry maintain their weight and urgency.

He reminds us that one of the primary tasks of a theologian is to fight for the churches. May God help them do it!
David Wells
November 14, 2007


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