The word “theology” sometimes drives us to shudder. We know it’s essential but we find it too complex or too boring to discuss. However, we won’t fully know who God is and His way if we don’t sound theology. Delighting Grace recently reach out to Brandon Smith, author of “Rooted” and talked about theology, his latest book and a new podcast:
Delighting Grace: Hello pastor! How important is theology?
Brandon Smith: Theology is at the center of the Christian life. Theology is about God, the Bible teaches theology, the gospel is a theological message, and the Christian life reflects God theologically. In other words, all of life is about theology.
Theology just means “words about God.” So when we talk about God, we are doing theology. Everyone is a theologian–it just depends on whether you’re a good or bad theologian.
Delighting Grace: What are some reasons why people tend to sway away from theology?
Brandon Smith: People often think theology is a professional sport or an academic discipline. There is an academic form of theology that’s extremely important, but that doesn’t mean that theology is only for academics (or even pastors). When we say, “God is in control” or “Jesus is Lord,” you’re speaking and believing theology. We shouldn’t be afraid of theology because if you’re a Christian, you’re a theological person.
Delighting Grace: Well said pastor. We believers should not be scared of theology. In your calling, how do theology shapes you as a pastor?
Brandon Smith: Pastors and Christian leaders must know theology better than anyone else. As says, we will be held accountable. False teachers are specifically called out in Scripture. As a pastor or leader, it’s your job to teach sound theology. There should be a difference between you and the Mormon bishop down the street.
So, to answer your question more directly, theology has always helped me be a good pastor and leader. It’s difficult to counsel someone who’s hurting when you don’t know how to tell them the truth about God’s love and mercy and grace, and about how all things work together for good. But remember, theology should shape us all this way. It’s not just the pastor’s job to counsel others with sound truth.
Delighting Grace: If a pastor wants to teach theology in a church, what advice can you give to them if that’s their first time to do it?
Brandon Smith: Don’t take it too seriously, as if your sermons need to become seminary lectures. Theology is serious business, but every sermon has theology in it. It’s your job not to merely teach theological lessons, but to show people how those beautiful truths matter for everyday life.
Delighting Grace: Wow great advice. You wrote a book titled “Rooted” which according to the book, it’s a primer. So why write a primer when you can write a whole book on theology?
Brandon Smith: There are plenty of 1,000-page theology books in the world. I’m thankful for them, but most people won’t read them. We wanted to write a short, accessible book that anyone could read. Part of why I think people stay away from theology is that they feel intimidated by the size and language of theology books. No one should be intimidated by Rooted.
Delighting Grace: How’s the process in writing a book? Also how is like J. A. Medders as a co-author?
Brandon Smith: Writing a book is hard work. It’s not always or even often fun. Rooted took several years of editing and changing and reimagining. I enjoy the process, but most of the time writing the book was late nights with a cup of coffee, forcing myself to get words on the page.
(Jeff) made writing Rooted fun and exciting. I had already written much of the book, but he brought the words to life. He’s one of the most creative and powerful writers out there, and people will keep learning that as he writes more. He’s a writing freight train and I’m just along for the ride.
Delighting Grace: Your book is awesome pastor. Read it and I learn a lot. So please invite them to check out “Rooted”. You have a new podcast you and I also enjoy?
Brandon Smith: Thank you! I love Rooted. It’s like watching a baby grow up and finally go off into the big, scary world. You’re nervous, but you know it’s ready.
Yes, the podcast has been a blast. It’s called Word Matters, and it consists of short episodes in which Trevin Wax and I discuss confusing or difficult passages of the Bible. Each episode is 15-20 minutes long, and we always try to give practical advice about how to preach and teach the passages we cover. We also have guests from time to time!
Delighting Grace: Any parting words for our readers concerning theology?
Brandon Smith: Again, don’t be afraid of theology. If you’re a Christian, you’re a theologian. Keep hungering and thirsting for righteousness by reading God’s Word and praying, and your theology will grow along with it.