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Why Theology?

John Frame:

Theology is the application of God’s Word to all of life.

Kevin Vanhoozer:

The purpose of doctrine is to ensure that those who bear Christ’s name walk in Christ’s way.

Every Christian doctrine ultimately directs us to the love of God and directs us in ways of rightly ordered living.

[The goal of theology is] a saying/doing that demonstrates one’s understanding of what God has done in Jesus Christ. Faith seeks nothing less than a performance understanding.

Donald MacLeod:

Theology exists in order to be applied to the day-to-day problems of the Christian church. Every doctrine has its application . . . .

Who would ever imagine that the response to the glory of the incarnation might be to give to the collection for the poor? Who might imagine that the application of the glories of New Testament Christology might be to stop our quarreling and our divisiveness in the Christian ekklesia?

D. A. Carson:

[I]n addition to holding that Christian beliefs are true and consistent, the Christian, to find comfort in them, must learn how to use them. Christian beliefs are not to be stacked in the warehouse of the mind; they are to be handled and applied to the challenges of life and discipleship.

Otherwise they are incapable of bringing comfort and stability, godliness and courage, humility and joy, holiness and faith . . . .

Above all, many of us have not adequately reflected on the cross. We have been used to thinking of the cross as the means of our salvation; we have not thought much about what it means to take up our cross and die daily, or to fill up the sufferings of Christ.

[Update: On Facebook my friend Brian Parks pointed out similar thoughts at TGC‘s blog from Dane, on doctrine in the life of Francis Schaeffer.]