“The understanding of knowledge and truth operative in the primacy of praxis is
one of transformation in contrast to the more traditional understanding of
knowledge and truth as simply disclosure or correspondence or conformity or
verification. These latter tend to maintain the status quo whereas an
understanding of knowledge and truth as transformation challenges theology to go
beyond the status quo.” -Dermot Lane
Sometimes we limit our understanding of “theology” or truth as simply an answer to a specific question. It’s a black and white truth that floats, somehow, detached from our reality. We search and find “answers” but for what?
I have had so many discussions about such topics as predestination, the trinity, seven day creation, etc., each leading nowhere. There is usually a whole lot of bible verses and no life experience. The end which is trying to be met through these discussions is “an answer to the question.” We’re searching for verification; we’re thirsty to “know.” This thirst is legitimate with a proper understanding of truth. Why do want to know? Do we want to know out of arrogance? If we know then we get another notch on our belt, we can argue it better, we can prove someone else wrong. I was talking to a friend about Mormonism; she told me that one of the professors at her school feels that Mormonism should be at the forefront of Christian studies. My first question was “why?” Why does Mormonism belong so high on our list? Yes it’s a big part of what’s going on around us; I’m not questioning the fact that we should know it at least as well as we know politics I am question the motive. Why Mormonism? So we can find truth in it? Because we are genuinely interested in the ideas it has to offer? Or is it simply to prove them wrong? To show the world how right we are and how wrong they are? If we are searching something just to “know our enemy” or to prove them wrong then we’re missing the point. The real point of studying or theologizing goes much farther beyond right and wrong.
There is amazing changing power in truth. Truth has capacity to transform us and reach into the deepest places of our hearts, into the roots of our actions. Maybe that kind of knowing, that kind of truth is what Jesus was talking about when He said “believe.” Believing goes far beyond the intellect, it doesn’t stop at confessing or thinking that something is true it spews out and overflows into daily life. A lot of times we have “leaky theology,” we say one thing; we hold one theology but when it’s tested by the constriction of life it leaks and we show our true theology or our praxology. We might say life with Christ is this fully beautiful and celebratory life, that’s our theology, but we act frustrated and impatient and rude, that’s our praxology. They’re different huh?
Truth is not, by any means to be treated as if it’s cheap. It is precious and powerful. It transforms and goes to the depths of our hearts and flows out into our daily public life. Real theology is not said it’s displayed.