Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Theology is The Revolution

Rosemary transcripts this priceless quote from Mike Reeves on theology, from Judges 6....
Theology is smashing up idols - smashing up the idols in our minds and in our world. And not just smashing them up but replacing them with (v26) proper kinds of altars to the Lord our God: replacing them all with Jesus Christ.

The story here is: Gideon is surrounded by the idolatry of the Mideonite regime. And he begins the revolution against it by bulldozing Baal. And that is theology! It's not just reading books, studying languages, whatever. It is about rebelling against the world order, not just the Mideonites' little regime; rebelling against the whole world order as it rebels against God. Rebelling against it, bringing down the system, utterly replacing it; that is theology. Theology is The Revolution.

...Theology is washing our brains by the Mediator rather than being brain-washed by the media.

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  1. Famously the church fathers spoke of two modes of theology: kataphatic and apophatic.

    The former (sometimes called 'the way of light') took the line of exploring what one *can* say of God through resort to imagery around. St Paul's use of the altar to an unknown God, and Greek philosophical poetry is a good case. Jesus's widespread use of nonrelgious imagery (corn, fields etc) is another.

    Apophatic theology on the other hand ('the way of darkness') takes the line that all language and human imagery is inevitably inadequate ultimately to speak of God, since God is greater than human thought.

    The Reeves quote goes halfway to an apophatic position, but falls short of recognising that even Chistian theological lanaguge may become an idol. On the other hand pragmatically we have nothing but 'idols' (words/images) to play with, so the onus on us is to use them carefully.

    I find keeping the kataphatic and apophatic methodologies a useful a useful balance. Theology then may be both revoluntionary and conservative in it's treatment of imagery.

  2. So, would 'doing' this 'bigger' kind of theology include things like discipleship, spiritual disciplines, life in community, apologetics and evangelism, mentoring, service, social justice?


  3. Tom - all the things you list sound like the outworkings of theology in life.

  4. I get what you're saying Mark - but when Gideon smashed up altars to Baal he was making a statement about the idol Baal, not about whether images per se are good or bad wasn't he?

    Where something could be redeemed he could have done that (as you note, Paul in Athens) - where it needs demolishing that can be done also.

    Which surely is how theology works. But the goal is the theology - the re-establishing of the exaltation of God in the heart of people... by whatever suitable means.. which is revolutionary.