Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Biography and Theology

Most pastors end up choosing the denomination of their childhood or conversion experience as the place where they will express their theology. Most Baptist kids who want to enter ministry will enter ministry through Baptist institutions. Why? There is a direct link between one's theology (understanding of God) and one's biography (understanding one's self).
The Baptists where used by God to find and disciple me. Since they found me--my biography--I found it easiest to find them--my ministry.

For theology to be true theology it must become our biography. It must become more than what I know. It must become what I am. In other words, my understanding of God must become one with my understanding of myself.

Consider Jesus as the perfect example of perfect theology and biography. Jesus never took a theology course about God. Jesus' entire theology was biography. "I am my Father are one". Just as my children never took a Bud McCord course, Jesus never took a My Heavenly Father course.

All theology must become biography if it is to become real to us and real to others through us.

The Apostle Paul makes this statement in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Clearly Paul's theology had become his biography.

When our theology is our biography we end the separation that exists between information and formation. Spiritual formation requires that I understand my story as emanating from His story. In true spiritual formation we are literally one with the Trinity's biography and we continue to write with them the unwritten pages of that biography.
John 17:20-22 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are one in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

I have spoken to many atheists over the years and I have confirmed that their theology is their biography. Their personal biographical disappointment with God and with other authority figures has formed their theology. Their theology is mostly emotion from biography instead of theology from thoughtful, dispassionate reflection.

To be a branch is to share the biography of the Vine. As we share biography with others we should not be surprised to find their theology the most appealing to us. This is why Jesus says we should love Him first before even mother and father-or denomination. We will never have a Jesus theology until we are one with Jesus' biography.

Make sure your personal biography is Jesus' biography and you can be sure your theology will become His theology. The family historian, the Holy Spirit, will set you straight on the family history if you will seek oneness with God above all other courses or degrees.

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