Theology is the Church’s Business

I was reading through some of Paul Tillich’s Systematics stuff today and a part jumped out at me that I felt compelled to share.

“Theology, as a function of the Christian church, must serve the needs of the church. A theological system is supposed to satisfy two basic needs: the statement of the truth of the Christian message and the interpretation of this truth for every new generation.”
Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, 1.1

Theology as thinking and speaking about God does not belong in the dusty halls of seminaries or the ivory tower of academia. It belongs in our sanctuaries, fellowship halls, youth rooms, Sunday schools, and pulpits. Anywhere people are thinking about God, there must be someone who asks the question of how it affects each new generation. If we fail to adapt theology in very particular ways, it might as well disappear from our discourse altogether.

What role does theology play in your church? How does your church act out its theology? Is it an important discussion point for your congregation?


Tillich on the Responsibility of the Church

Lately, I’ve been reading quite a bit of Paul Tillich. I came across this quote and thought it summed up some of my recent thoughts as well. I think it’s pretty easy for us to pay lip service to the “new reality” in Christ. But Tillich brilliantly forges new ground into what it means for us to live into this reality. He is an invaluable voice for the church and I hope we continue to listen and heed his advice as we move into new territory as the body of Christ.

“The Church is the Community of the New Being. Again and again, people say, ‘I do not like organized religion.’ The Church is not organized religion. It is not hierarchical authority. It is not a social organization. It is all of this, of course, but it is primarily a group of people who express a new reality by which by which they have been grasped. Only this is what the Church really means. It is the place where the power of the New Reality which is Christ, and which was prepared in all history and especially in Old Testament history, moves into us and is continued by us.” – from Theology of Culture

What stuck out to you in the quote? What do you like about it? Anything you dislike?



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