W For some people theology is at best a stumbling block and at worst irrelevant to faith. If they think of theology as something somebody else said, something by a scholar they have only read or heard about, something to be learned and not questioned, then I would agree. But that's not what theology is!
W Elsewhere I have said that a characteristic of the Reformed faith to which I belong is a belief in the Preisthood of All Believers -- that faith is not mediated by any select group. This same priniciple applies to thinking about God -- which is as good a definition of theology as there can be. Everyone can think about God and that is theology.
W Some of us do make a profession of it. Indeed we believe that they are called to it as we are all called to utilize the disparate talents that are given to us each. But aside from the fact that professional theologians have more resources (including time) to pursue theology what are we to think of these thinkers and their thoughts? They are not supposed to think for us and they don't want to. Certainly we can listen to what they have to say without surrendering to it.
WProfessional theology is a helpful guide to personal theology, especially when professionals ask questions we would not think to ask and offer answers we would not think to offer. Deep thinking and deeper faith result from the dialogue between the two. Professional theologians are also our brothers and sisters in faith and not strangers from afar. They do not deserve our disrespect because of their calling nor do we believe that anyone deserves that sort of unwelcome whatever their gift.
But that does not raise what they say above what we might in good faith
think about what they say. Another way of looking at the same
is to realize that we are not relieved of our individual responsibility
to think. Letting someone else do that for us is not an
We are each called to be theologians in this sense -- thinkers about