What is Theology for? by Jürgen Moltmann

(Translated from CGST magazine – click here for the link)

And here’s a very faint copy of the original German.

Moltmann letter

For Hong Liang, this is all I could write tonight, heartfelt greetings.

What is Theology for? by Jürgen Moltmann

1. Theology exists for faith. Christian faith is not a blind faith, but a knowing faith. This faith cannot exist without the knowledge of God in Christ. “I believe in order to understand.” In faith we are dealing with the knowledge of God. “I understand in order to believe.” In knowledge we are dealing with faith. Faith and knowledge increase together. Theology does not destroy faith as some people fear. On the contrary, theology deepens faith. Each Christian, who believes and understands what and whom he or she believes, is a theologian, as Martin Luther said. This person belongs to the priesthood of all believers.

2. Theology exists for the church. Theology exists because the church exists. Theology is significantly involved in preaching, teaching and spiritual welfare. With respect to church leadership, theologians have freedom and responsibility. Your theology is itself leading the church and must be respected by the church leadership. Without this bond to the church, theology becomes a philosophy of religion. If theology limits itself only to the church, it becomes a Christian “in-group-mentality”. We also need a theology with its face turned to the world. This is the political function of theology: it does not only live in dialogue between religions, but also with political ideologies in a brotherly and critical manner.

3. Theology exists for the universal kingdom of God. Faith is a beginning, its future is the vision of God face to face. The church is a beginning, its future is the universal kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven”. It is the kingdom of eternal peace and of eternal life without death and the dead. In the kingdom of God righteousness and freedom rule. The harmony of all things will become the reflection of the divine light.

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