“You can run on for a long time, but sooner or later God’s ‘ill cut you down.” Christ died even for us. Why does good theology matter? Is it because we have books like unChristian giving us statistics of a failing Church? Is it because we have authors like Kenda Dean exploring a moralistic therapeutic deistic culture? Absolutely. We need good theology if young people are abandoning the Church because the very thought of Christians equals bigoted hypocrites. We need good theology if all that matters about God is whether or not we are good people. More than that, we need good theology because it changes lives.
How does good theology change lives? Lutherans have had good theology since Martin Luther decided to deconstruct the core of the Church. If it doesn’t point us to the cross and the work of Christ, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps it is easy to take this for granted or to appeal to experience to “find God,” but good theology is life-changing precisely because it cannot be found and it does not rely on human experience. That’s not to say it doesn’t cause experience. Good theology is life-changing because it finds the lost and leads the blind. Good theology reconstructed in the redemption of the cross of Jesus Christ.
“You can run on for a long time, but sooner or later God’s ‘ill cut you down.” Christ died even for us. What does it mean to have good theology? Our academic and practical theologies have no separation. Good theology is put into praxis. Beyond that Good theology has the crucified God at its crux. Theology is nothing apart from the work of the cross. Our redemption lies within the crucifixion and our reconciliation is rooted in resurrection. The law tells us that God will cut sinners down; conjunctively, the Gospel tells us Christ died even for us.
Good theology matters because the gracious work of Christ is at its core. It is life-altering for people who’ve never known the grace of God or for people who have been blinded by bad theology (which does not point to the work of Christ through the cross). Guilt may be a more powerful motivator than grace, but it doesn’t make it good. Where, then, do we go from here? We go where God is found, where we are led, to the foot of the cross. If you’ve never known the grace of the cross of Jesus Christ or you’ve been trapped by the guilt and shame of piety that puts the role of justification in your hands; by the work of God alone, through the cross of Christ alone, grace is sufficient for you.