After reading Kapic’s prolegomena to theology in A Little Book for New Theologians, you will find that he challenges readers to avoid constructing false dichotomies in one’s approach to theology (i.e. theology and ministry, tradition and community, etc.). How have you seen some of these dichotomies in the life of the Church?  Provide at least 1 example and a subsequent explanation of what happens when one side gets emphasized (e.g., doctrine) while the other is neglected (e.g., love)? How do you reconcile the tension that exists in such apparent dichotomies? Then, look at the dichotomy through the lens of Kapic’s book. How would he advise you in your attempt to resolve this tension?

MY RESPONSE

Dichotomous relationships are relative to the church today because in its attempts to reach the masses it has forgotten the symbiotic relationship between theology, belief, community, and the act of applying AGAPE love to all.  This writer has attended churches all over the world; London – UK, Toronto – Canada, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan – NY, Savannah, GA, Hilton Head SC, Hardeeville – SC, and now Covington GA.  The demonstrated pattern of the dichotomous non-living theology outside the walls of the church is evident in of all of the churches that I have attended in the southern states of the USA.

These churches demonstrated the struggle of matching the theology of oneness and love among all brethren outside the walls of the sanctuary.  The energies of the congregations are expanded on outreach activities that bring the lost into the body.  However, the same intensity of energy is not spent on building relationships that extend beyond the walls of the church.  Members of the congregations I attended only fellowshipped during church-sponsored activities. Kapic 2012, describes this as “theological detachment” (p. 9).   The author continues, “Theological detachment creates a deep misunderstanding that negatively affects not only our lives but also our theology, our churches, and even the world in which we witness and serve” (p. 9).

The balance between preaching, teaching, outreach and internal community discipleship grows love between the congregation and negates “theological detachment.”  The gospel becomes detached from the act of “doing theology” (p. 9).

Doing theology requires congregations to become actively engaged with each other outside the physical structure of the church.   Each member of the body must be keenly aware that .”4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4:4-6 (NIV).  This oneness prevents the schisms that grow in the petri dish of theological detachment.

Today we are missing the reflecting and connection theological themes with the act of living the word as a community – outside of the church building.  When the congregation practices love for each other outside of the walls of the church theology moves from being a construct to a living organism. It becomes a part of each member of the body.  Kapic stated, “in the past, the task of theological reflection was often intertwined with the experience and character of the theologian, so the result was an organic connection between themes like prayer, humility, suffering and community and the act of “doing” theology”(p. 9).   We do theology by being “present” for each other outside of the walls of the church.  Having a barbecue at your brother’s house, getting together to study and discuss scripture together, while these activities are occurring our neighbors see us living the Bible.   They experience our oneness as a body as we reach out to each other in love.  Our children experience the same oneness as they enjoy play dates together with their church friends in their homes instead of just at Sunday School and Youth Camp.  When we practice the fruit of the spirit within the body of Christ, as a community of believers outside of the actual church building, we become living examples of the oneness and love of Christ.

 

Bibliography

Kapic, Kelly M. A Little Book For New Theologians. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

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