I just finished an excellent article by Gerald Heistand concerning ecclesial theology. What is ecclesial theology? “Ecclesial theology is theological reflection written to the wider believing community, for the good of the church catholic, and born out of pastoral/ecclesial concerns.” The Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology was created for this very purpose. Simply put, the society desires to see robust theology being worked out in the context of the church. It is an exhortation for the revival of pastor-theologians as opposed to solely professor-theologians.
I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times I have heard people refer to theology as the work of academics and scholars. This is just not true. The work of these men is very important in changing this perception and showing how orthodoxy is essential to orthopraxy. So…I heartily commend Heistand’s article to all who want to know more about the work of the society and its call to a more ecclesial theology. As Heistand says,
The Church is God’s vehicle for changing the world. While apologetically driven academic theology is legitimate, the bulk of evangelical reflection and writing needs to be written in service to the church, to the believing community. We won’t change the world by reforming the academy. But we will–by God’s grace–change the world by renewing the church. But such renewal will only come through the communication of deep, robust, biblical, historically informed, culturally aware, thoughtful, and prophetic truth. Frankly, the sort of theology that will advance the cause of Christ will likely not find much favor in the wider academy, given its current rules of engagement. But that’s fine–our goal isn’t to win the favor of a secular academy; our goal is to renew the church.
To that I say…Amen.