Theology in Practice
By Lance Olimb
My favorite (living) theologian is Dr. John Frame. I've found him to be relentlessly biblical, brilliant but accessible, and a committed churchman. I also find vital his insistence that our knowledge of God (doctrine, theology, etc.) must be met with an equal desire to apply it. Learn to trust. Discover to obey. He does not merely want to understand God but to walk with him. This means all our doctrine must find real world application. In fact, that is how John Frame defines theology. The following is an excerpt from Frame’s systematic theology>
The only term I know that is broad enough to cover all forms of biblical teaching and all the decisions that people make in their lives is the term application. To apply Scripture is to use Scripture to meet a human need, to answer a human question, to make a human decision. Questions about the text of Scripture, translations, interpretation, ethics, Christian growth—all these are fair game for theology. To show (by word or deed) how Scripture resolves all these kinds of questions is to apply it. So I offer my definition of theology: theology is the application of Scripture, by persons, to every area of life.
Why, then, do we need theology in addition to Scripture? The only answer, I believe, is “because we need to apply Scripture to life.” - John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2013), 8.
This is a major reason we have begun to host Theology in Practice seminars. We want to address some of the most complex and pressing issues of our day and apply scripture to them. We want theology to shape our world-views and our world. Over the last two months we’ve met at Paisley Café to consider world-view, culture and mental health. I want to say a few things about these gatherings.
Thank you for attending. It has been a joy to see so many of you interested in thinking deeply about these topics.
Paisley has been a fantastic place to be… but… we are considering where and how we should host these going forward. We want to make sure there is room to invite friends!
We are learning quite a bit on format and direction. We are working to hone the focus of our times together, especially when we get the opportunity to have an ‘expert’ in a field with us. Please be praying (and patient) as we figure these things out.
The plan is to host at least two more seminars in 2017 (August and September). If you have questions or topics you think it would be good to consider, we would be happy to hear from you.
There are, of course, many other things in the works for the fall: Community Groups; Fall Festival; Equip classes. Be praying that God allows us to be faithful, bold, and winsome as we pray that His kingdom would come and His will would be done.