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a Doing Theology


“The theory of coal never turned a wheel or warmed the earth.

Power has to be released to be effective.”

–A. W. Tozer

Every single person on earth has a theology. That is to say they have an idea of who God is or is not. Theology, simply put, is our understanding of God. It therefore becomes the measure of how we relate to Him.

I’ve said before that right relationship with God starts with a right view of Him and a right view of ourselves in relation to Him. If we are not equally rooted in truth on both aspects of that understanding, then how we approach God and how we reveal Him to others will be distorted.

I remember reading theologian Gordon Fee’s understanding of the Apostle Paul’s theology. Mr. Fee considered Paul to have had a “Doing” theology. It was an understanding of God that led him to act and reveal God with his very lifestyle…not just his opinions and beliefs, but his efforts, his actions and pursuits.

I would go so far as to say that if our theology–our understanding of God–does not lead us into action with Him, then what we have is in fact a misunderstanding of God.

I am not against doctrines or theologies. There is certainly place for these things in connecting us as believers and affirming the truths that we have received from God. But these truths lie impotent as knowledge when they do not translate to our hearts and actions as lifestyle. Belief that does not translate into action is not life…and that’s why it does not reproduce life in our culture.

Here is an interesting question: What was Christ’s theology? What was His understanding of the Father? As big of a question as that is, Jesus does give us part of the answer when He said, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17). Since we know that Jesus was the full revelation of the Father, and we see Him moving, speaking, and interacting with others in such a way that revealed the nature of God, we can be sure that it is God’s nature to actively reveal His love and power.

We now share in the nature of Christ. We have been united with Him in His death and resurrection, and filled with the Holy Spirit to do the same work as He did–making God known. As disciples of Christ, it is our nature to actively reveal the Father. But we have to see this as an intentional purpose…our everyday lives lived out, purposefully revealing the nature of God into every aspect of culture, the perspective of God into every conversation, and the power of God into every hopeless situation. This is the Kingdom of Heaven at hand. It is the work He has called us to do.

Do we work toward salvation?…absolutely not. Salvation is resolutely given because of Christ’s work.  But although we don’t work toward salvation for ourselves, we do work with the Spirit to bring salvation closer towards those around us. This is an awesome privilege. It is to share in the same work as Christ, being led by the same Spirit as we reveal the same Father.

This is also a great responsibility. And we have to understand that nothing about responsibility diminishes grace in any way. That is what this call is…an invitation to take responsibility for the awesome grace that has been freely given to us, and the privilege to walk with the Spirit as we freely reveal that grace to others.


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