I finally picked up a copy of Thiselton’s book on the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit: In Biblical Teaching, through the Centuries, and Today. Interestingly, Thiselton lists the Molt as one of the major theologians of this century. The more I read the Molt, the more I agree (though he can be quite difficult at times to comprehend!). What I find interesting is the development in his writings over the span of his life. Fascinating stuff because he seems to become more Christian as he continues (and also more conservative sounding!).
This week I was interested to read more of his thoughts on being a true theologian in Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology. He suggests that a true theologian has both suffered of God and delights in God. Sounds awfully Edwardsian (or Piperish?), which I really like!
The Molt’s first characteristic of a true theologian is related to basically living life and gaining helpful theological perspective from experiencing life’s pain, similar, in his mind, to Christ’s experience of the cross. The Molt points us to Luther’s famous statement that,
“By living, no—more—by dying and being damned to hell doth a man become a theologian, not by knowing, reading, or speculation.”
Luther of course wasn’t saying study or books wasn’t weren’t important. No, the Molt was simply saying that,
“… reading, reflection and the understanding of Scripture have to be accompanied by this personal wrestling with God, so that theology becomes not just a scholarly study which teaches, but also a wisdom which makes wise out of the experience of God. Experience comes first and then the theology; first the passion—then the action.”
Yes, the Molt is getting into existential theology, which has both positive and negative implications. And this “suffering” is only one aspect… the other that he talks about is delighting in God! This, of course, is where I see some Edwardsian prose:
“… we may say that the beauty of theology lies in its doxology, and delight in God is expressed through joy over existence in nearness to him. According to the New Testament, the gospel of Christ is filled with God’s joy, for that gospel is the message about the raising of the crucified Christ from death, God-forsakenness and hell, into the eternally living life of God and of ‘the world to come’. That is God’s counter-history to the world’s history of disaster. Easter joy is the doxological utterance of Christian belief in God.”
Easter joy… something I believe Christians should be aware of 365 days a year!
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Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.