“Mission is the Mother of Theology” — Martin Kähler
That word strikes dread in the heart of many Christians. Some think theology is a boring series of lectures, devoid of any practical application. Others are concerned that it is the tool preachers, and other leaders, use to bully people or create division.
These reactions are to be expected, sadly they are often true. However, there is no need for this to be the way you think. Theology is, quite simply, the discipline of thinking and talking about God. You and I engage in this practice every time we ask the question: “What does the Bible say about _____?” I have put together a series of free videos to help people understand some basic ideas of Christian theology. (If you are interested , click here to sign up)
When you and I are asking questions about what the Bible teaches, or when we engage in deeper, more systematic theological practices, it is crucial to remember the warnings from German missiologist Martin Kähler. He reminds us that if we want to do theology well, missions must be front and center. God’s love for a fallen world and His passion to see all people reached, should set the framework for theology. In fact, I think that if we remembered the priority of mission, many of the problems we have with theology would disappear.
Father in heaven, Shape my mind, my life, and my words according to your mission. Make us a missionary people consumed with seeing your gospel advance to all nations. Do not let us live in peace until we have done our part in your mission.
FYI: Here is a free online magazine that addresses this issue more. I wrote a more in depth article about the topic of missions and theology. Click Here if you are interested
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com