There’s a wonderful quote in Static, a book which has been getting some reaction here. Ron Martoia quotes Sallie McFague, who says, “The purpose of theology is to make it possible for the gospel to be heard in our time.” This statement affirms the importance of theology, but it also points us to the right goal: that we grasp the gospel. Ron then asks us if the message Jesus brought to this world is the message that people are actually hearing today. In many cases, the answer is no. People aren’t hearing the message of Jesus, sometimes because it’s lost in the translation, and sometimes because we aren’t clear on it ourselves. For instance, a sign at a football game that says “John 3:16” or “Repent!” probably doesn’t communicate as effectively as we’d like. And practices like the sinner’s prayer and ideas like “salvation is about going to heaven when I die” may not be accurate reflections of the full biblical gospel. In a day that is full of programs and techniques, the pursuit of a theology in service of the gospel is a worthy goal indeed. That’s why I’m enjoying Static. Do I agree with everything? No, but I think Ron is good at pointing out what we might have missed when the Bible uses words like gospel, repentance, salvation, and kingdom. I could add other terms to this list, like eternal life. We need to let the Bible speak on its own terms about what words like these mean. I would rather read a theological book that drives us back to the biblical text with some skill than ten methodological books. If you’re not comfortable with Ron, then a guy like Tim Keller is a reliable guide. No less a theologian than D.A. Carson (who is not emergent) gives the thumbs up to Keller. I don’t think anyone has accused him of being flabby theologically. If they have they’re wrong. Keller combines a solid mind with a strong missional impulse and practice, and it’s important that he be heard. The bottom line: theology is important. And that theology is in service of God and his gospel. We can’t let this be an emerging thing or a Reformed thing. It has to be the pursuit of all of us who love Christ. It’s a pursuit we need to encourage in each other. When we make mistakes we need to correct each other, without beginning to judge motives and without writing each other off. We can’t avoid this pursuit, and I applaud anyone who is approaching Scripture with the honest desire to understand the gospel. What in the world are we afraid of?