A Journey into Implicit Theology
AbstractStrictly speaking, the vast majority of theology should be the study of the implicit rather than the explicit. For it is in the life of congregations and denominations that the gospel is discerned, interpreted and lived. Theology, for the most part, “happens” in discipleship; it is not “read” in textbooks. For example, reading the treatises of Martin Luther King Jr. can only form a small part of the process of assessing his contribution to theology and society. It is really only in hearing and experiencing his radio or TV broadcasts that one begins to get a sense of how his theology performed; how it moved and motivated his followers. The style of presentation matters at least as much as the substance of the message: the sensate and persuasive timbre of the rhetoric conveyed in the performance is itself theological material. Likewise, the key to understanding the theology of churches—their declared theological priorities—can never be a matter of mere textual analysis. Such an approach would miss the fact that “church” is an interpretation and performance of theology that takes on a life it its own.
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