Ken Mafli posts an interview with a Lutheran theologian named Andrew Root

I don’t know Mr. Root, but Ken writes to ask me what I think of his comment that “Theology is only theology when it becomes dangerous, when it threatens to leave us limping by exposing our motives to the action of God.”

On the whole, I agree with this. After all, our theology is about Jesus Christ and even the most cursory glance at his story–and particularly the end of his story–makes clear the fate that often awaits those who clearly proclaim Christian teaching.

My one caveat is that, although the gospel is guaranteed to make us enemies, it does not follow that going around being a jerk people cannot stand is a guarantee that one is living the gospel. C.S. Lewis remarks on a scene from one of Mauriac’s writings in which Jesus warns the disciples that they must hate father, mother, family and their lives to follow him. They are puzzled and appalled. But Judas laps it up. One good rule of thumb is that anybody who declares himself “prophetic” while acting like a jerk is typically a jerk, not a prophet. Likewise, those perpetually indulge their anger and invoke Jesus overturning the tables of the moneychangers are typically anger addicts rationalizing their outbursts, not practitioners of the (very rare) anger Jesus demonstrated.

Still and all, the gospel will provoke enmity without our helping that process along. It is indeed a deeply dangerous thing, as any claim that God became man and was murdered for his troubles is bound to be. It doesn’t need defending so much as it need to let out of its cage–like a lion. It can take care of itself.


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