The Idolisation of Theology

The Apostle John concluded his first epistle with the warning, ‘… keep yourselves from idols’ (1 John 5:21). This word to the Christian community in general extends to those who seek to undertake the specific task of Christian dogmatics. It is a reminder that we must resist at every point the temptation of becoming bewitched by the mere form that faith takes, and with the grammar of its enquiring landscape. To do so is to turn our gaze from the sun itself towards mere shadows, as fascinating as those shadows might be. Such a move threatens to cast and then bow down to an idol called ‘theology’ and allows that god’s agenda – whether of the academy, or of the Church, or of that system the Apostle John calls ‘the world’ – to determine what the triune God has and has not revealed about himself, about his people, and about the world.


  1. Thanks for this. That is why i think theologians must commit themselves to Dallas Willards saying that for academics “it is more important to be Christlike than right.” If the love and servant heart of Christ doesn’t pervade how we engage and articulate theology, then we are in trouble.


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