A. W. Tozer famously said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” John Frame widens that thought to extend to literally everything: “The most important fact about anything in the world is its relationship to God’s lordship.” Frame intends for this to include everything from inanimate objects to the immaterial thoughts of the human mind. Perhaps Abraham Kuyper covered the universal scope of theology most poignantly when he said, “There is not a square inch of the entire domain of human life of which Christ the King does not say, ‘That is mine!’”
What each of these godly thinkers is conveying is that theology is important. It’s not the exclusive domain of braniacs who have long since retired to their nerderies with their Bibles and stacks of incomprehensible commentaries. The twenty-something barista who rubs coffee stained shoulders with non-Christians and searches the Bible to see how God’s truth applies to the mundane details of her life is every bit as much a theologian as the ivory tower academic. Probably more so, actually, since God’s revelation is meant to address the real world.
We don’t understand anything in this world properly until we see it in relation to the God who made it. This shouldn’t be a strange thought. After all, we live in a world that would instantly disintegrate without the constant upholding power of God (the Theo in Theology). This world was absolutely nothing until God told it to exist—and it obeyed his authoritative voice.
Flip through a theology textbook and you’ll find the usual categories: the doctrine of God, the doctrine of humanity, the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of salvation, etc. These are essential theological categories—issues in life that must be seen in their relation to Ultimate Reality: God himself. But equally valid as theology would be categories like technology, dating, the environment, the workplace, the auto industry, linguistics, geography, and blogging. Taken as an academic discipline, these categories don’t belong under the heading of theology. But if theology is the study of God (and it is), and if all of life is God’s (it is), then everything must be viewed theologically.
Unfortunately, Christians are not often trained to think theologically about everything. Our theological thoughts are limited to Sunday mornings or our occasional times spent in prayer or reading the Bible. Perhaps our minds will wander into the theological realm when we consider God’s sovereignty in some life event or when we see the sin of humanity on display.
But for the health of the church and the furtherance of the mission of God, Christians need to learn to see everything theologically. The seemingly endless hours we spend at work need to be viewed in terms of God’s lordship. Our parenting has everything to do with God and his will. The movies we watch and the music we listen to is theological to the core, and we must learn to see it that way.
I am privileged to teach at an institution where everything we teach relates to Christ’s lordship over every aspect of life. We actually teach book by book through the entire Bible (going much deeper than the survey level, an approach that is highly unusual, even for a Bible college). We do this not because we think the Bible is the only thing that should be taught, but because we believe the Bible should be deeply internalized and skillfully applied to everything.
We are training up an every-growing army of graduates who march into the world with their theological glasses firmly in place. They have been taught to look at everything they encounter in light of the King and his all-encompassing kingdom. As an example, before our students are cleared for graduation, they have to complete a senior project where they choose a specific subculture (whether it be a jungle tribe, a particular youth group, a community of artists, or a retirement home) and show precisely how the Bible speaks hope and transformation into that group of people.
We are committed to this mission of training the church to think theologically about everything. That’s why we started this blog, and that’s why we continue to post new material. That’s why we started Eternity Bible College, and this line of thinking runs in the veins of every one of our graduates.
If you would like to invest in this mission, we encourage you to partner with us in our end of the year giving campaign. All of your donations are tax-deductable, and in addition to ensuring that we can continue pumping out content on this blog and through our Silo Project, your donations will be used to efficiently train our students to live and die well.