Some years ago I arrived home to see my neighbor sitting in the front seat of her car with a strange, pained expression. “Are you okay?” I called over in a faltering attempt to be neighborly. My friendly inquiry was immediately returned with an in-depth account of my neighbor’s lower back pain, its etiology, proposed course of treatment, and current symptoms.
When my neighbor saw the look of confusion on my face she added, “I thought you were a doctor.” “I am,” I replied. “But I’m a doctor of theology.”
“Theology?” she retorted. “Alot of good that will do me.”
That brief exchange captures the ambivalence that many people feel toward the discipline of theology. Alot of good that will do me. If theologians can’t help us with our lower back pain, then what good are they anyway?
In his recently published volume A Little Book for New Theologians, Kelly M. Kapic seeks to provide an introduction to the practice of theology to a general readership. And he is certainly suited to this task. Kelly is Professor of Theological Studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA and the author of several books including Communion with God: The Divine and Human in the Theology of John Owen (Baker 2007) and God So Loved, He Gave (Zondervan, 2010).
In this episode of The Tentative Apologist Podcast I sat down with Kelly to discuss his new book as we explored several topics including the nature of theology, the character of the theologian and the relationship between doctrine and character formation. Theology may still provide limited resources when it comes to lower back pain. But, as Kelly explains, it remains a marvelously important discipline as we seek better to understand God, ourselves, and our place in this world.
And here’s Kelly on YouTube:
And here’s my interview with Kelly!