Olson advocate for practicing theology by non-theologians. Grenz and Olson, both professional theologians, explain theology in an accessible way to convince their readers of the benefits of theological knowledge and practice. The authors start with defining theology in a very broad way, as any pondering upon big questions of life that, in one way or another, are related to God (p. Christian theology is, therefore, pondering upon questions related to God practiced by Christians as Christians. The definition used intentionally blurs the line between theology practiced by ordinary Christians and professional theologians. Any reasoning about God is theology regardless of the level of sophistication and tools used. Theology defined as reasoning about God practiced by Christians as Christians underscores the intentionality of such a pursuit it aims for understanding ones faith. It is through theology that our faith develops contextual understanding it can relate to and comes to life. Grounding Christian living and pleasing God are not a by-product of theology, but an essential part of this discipline, and its raison dêtre. The Killjoy objection states that theology prevents us from enjoying God. The response is that joy is not the point of Christianity, biblical truths are (p. Grenz and Olson respond that (1) theology teaches to distinguish orthodoxy from heresy, (2) unity cannot be put above truth (p. The authors respond by pointing out the examples of paradigm shifts and developments in theology that can be described as progress in the sense of contextualizing theology for contemporary circumstances. The authors conclude the book by reiterating the importance of theology as a practical discipline.
In their helpful book Who Needs Theology: An Invitation to the Study of God, Grenz and Olson reorient the discussion and thus demonstrate that theology is a necessary part of the Christian life. Grenz and Olson rightly note at the outset of this book that theology is an inescapable reality of life. Grenz and Olson do note there are various levels of theology, theological acumen, and practice ranging from mere reflective Christianity to academic theology. Theology has a goal and a purpose which is rightly defined by Grenz and Olson as the need to understand and describe what we believe as Christians, what we hold to be true given our faith in Jesus Christ. They also recognize the importance of using valuable tools to engage the truth of Scripture, tools that have been developed to help the believer in their study of Gods Word. Grenz and Olson rightly aver that The Christian theological task is to use the tools of the craftto construct an interpretive framework that views all reality from the perspective that God has encountered us in Jesus of Nazareth. As we pursue the wisdom found in the pages of Scripture, it will in turn impact every aspect of our lives to the glory of God. Theology should no longer be considered as something for only certain people to be involved in as the study of God must be the pursuit of every believer. I highly encourage everyone to give this book a read as it will excite you to engage theology and to never neglect studying to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
In particular, Christians should care about learning good theology because we need to know what we believe and why so that we can defend our faith to those who ask. There are also some helpful suggestions for pastors and professional theologians on how to not get sidetracked into overly-academic speculative theology.
It requires reflection and critical thinking about one's relationship with Jesus Christ, as in "why do you believe what you believe, and how do you articulate your faith?" Grenz and Olson contend that God desires everyone's theological pursuit in Jesus Christ, as it makes for better understanding of what it is to be a Christian and a follower of Christ. The authors conclude that, in order to become a true theologian, one must accept the challenge to reflect upon their present understanding of Jesus Christ and to literally allow the Holy Spirit to transform your way of thinking.
On these accounts they do a very good job of defining what Christian theology is and then showing the way forward to thinking theologically.
On one hand (as stated on the back cover) the authors claim to want to explain theology to "ordinary Christians" yet on the other hand, I find myself sitting with a dictionary constantly looking up and marking what words mean.
He was the youngest of three children born to Richard and Clara Grenz, a brother to Lyle and Jan. His dad was a Baptist pastor for 30 years before he passed away in 1971. During a two-year pastorate (1979-1981) in Winnipeg, MB, where daughter Corina was born, Stan also taught courses at the University of Winnipeg and at Winnipeg Theological Seminary (now Providence Seminary). From 1996 to 1999 he carried an additional appointment as Professor of Theology and Ethics (Affiliate) at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard IL. After a one-year sojourn as Distinguished Professor of Theology at Baylor University and Truett Seminary in Waco, TX (2002-2003), he returned to Carey in August 2003. In addition to writing and lecturing all around the world, Stan loved preaching. Stan wholeheartedly supported and encouraged his wife Edna in her pastoral ministry, her studies and in the enlargement of her ministry gifts.