There are two strands of theology’s utility.
First of all, theology is like all pursuits. It is a means through which you are going to find happiness (eudaimonia/summum bonum).
Money and power make most people happy, as money stands for physical comfort, and power is linked with the sense of achievement and the mark of one’s existential/relational status.
Game and competition make people happy, as they build up what is consisting of humanity from the natural perspective.
Leisure and arts make people happy.
So should theology (or Christianity).
If theology/Christianity is not bringing people happiness, we must ask why.
If our theological education is not something to enjoy for students and hence is not equipping students to be the catalyst for the happiness in this world, we must ask why.
I figure one of our major challenge now is that we ministers are not acting like messengers of joyfulness, lest we should bring this joy to fellow believers, comforts to this troubled world like comforters, and true wisdom to this perplexed generation like counselors.
You get this? Where is your power of joy oh those of you who bury your heads in the desks of the theological academy?
And second, theology is not like all other worldly pursuits. it’s going to bring glory to God. We must preach God’s holiness. Give Him everything we owe Him.
Malachi 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master; if then I be a father, where is My honour? and if I be a master, where is My fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say: ‘Wherein have we despised Thy name?’
Malachi 1:8 aWhen you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 1:9 And now, I pray you, entreat the favour of God that He may be gracious unto us! – This hath been of your doing. – Will He accept any of your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 1:10 Oh that there were even one among you that would shut the doors, that ye might not kindle fire on Mine altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name is great among the nations; and in every place offerings are presented unto My name, even pure oblations; for My name is great among the nations, saith the LORD of hosts.
And convict people of their waywardness; turn them from their old ways to God’s presence!
We must reflect God’s image as angels/messengers that sing ‘holy, holy, holy!’
With boldness and courage. Without shame and irresolution.
Phi 3:13,14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Joh 17:24 « Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
2Ti 1:12 Because of this, in fact, I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, because I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day.
1Co 9:24,25 Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
Heb 12:1,2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
That being said, the theological pursuit of happiness and holiness is not going to be my new year resolution. That sounds too ‘manly’ and not ‘godly’. For me, there is only a humble prayer in my heart: God, be with me, and work this out in me, who is willing to sacrifice and burn for you.