10. Because it’s not just what you believe that matters, but why you believe it and how.
We are convinced that engaging in careful theological thought is an essential task of the Christian life. We can no more abandon theology than we can abandon God, since theology is involved in some fashion whenever we think or speak about God. Consequently, every person is a theologian. The only question is whether we will be thoughtful, responsible theologians or irresponsible ones. The journey of Christian discipleship is a matter of learning why we believe, and thinking hard and carefully about this belief, not so that we can bludgeon others with our knowledge but so that we can bear faithful witness to God in the totality of our life.
Theology is less about the what and much more about the how. We are called as Christians not to sign up to a certain doctrinal statement but to follow a certain way of life. To be a thoughtful believer is to be commissioned for a life of disciplined reflection in conversation with the prophets, apostles, and the theologians who have reflected on God in the past and whose legacy we have inherited. The goal is not simply to repeat the words that they used to proclaim the gospel in their time and place, but to think under their tutelage about what words we must use today.
Theology is inherently an act of prayer, insofar as we offer up our words and thoughts in service to God in the expectant hope””by the grace of the Holy Spirit””that they will build up the body of Christ. And this prayerful task of theology is never done. Like God’s mercies, it is new every morning.