Theology is Therapy

Theology is therapeutic. Not because it turns me deeper into myself, but just the opposite; because it turns me deeper out of myself into God in Jesus Christ. On this note, let me share a bit of my story.

In 1995 God apocalyptically broke into my personal Bobby’s World, and shook me up. I was a Christian in that moment, and had been for years. But I had also become a very lukewarm Christian, who thought that I had experienced what it all meant to be a Christian by the ripe old age of 21 (because I was a pastor’s son after-all). The way the LORD rattled me was through ripping away the shoddy edifice upon which my worldview was being built and existentially showing me what reality looked like apart from Him as the ground of reality. I went through a season (that probably lasted for 5 to 6 years) of such darkness and anxiety, that it is hard to express in words. My parents walked with me through that season, but most people never realized what I was going through. It was a season of doubt, but not-doubt! I believed in the LORD, but the edifice upon which I had built that belief was shaky, it was oriented more around me than Jesus. And it was as if the LORD let me experience what life like that felt like, not just thought like. So it no longer was an abstraction, but a concrete reality; i.e. what life would feel like (like nihilism) without God in the picture, all along realizing that the only reality that could sustain life was God, but for me, in that season, this God was fleeting, I could not grasp him. I believed and relied upon him, and him alone, but the intellectual doubts (which I would call spiritual) would not leave me, they persecuted and hounded me in ways that would rob me of sleep, that would almost rob me of all sanity.

The only thing that kept me sane was reading and reading and reading Scripture. And then I was introduced to theology (as a discipline), both historical and systematic, as I entered Bible College and Seminary. It was at this point that the LORD began to coalesce things for me in a way that I began to finally experience intellectual and spiritual rest of the soul. And it was as I moved from an intellectualist view of God, myself and reality, and into a Trinitarian view of God, myself, and reality that healing began, that therapeuo took place. It was only as I was finally moved out of myself (ekstasis) and moved into the One outside of me (extra me) that I finally was able to find rest. And it was only as I feared God more than men, that I realized that God was objectively and independently real outwith the confirmation of man (and so maybe my aversion to natural theology and appreciation for Karl Barth and Thomas Torrance might start to make more sense to you now).

Theology is therapeutic, not because it is about me, but because it is about the ground of all of reality and life, it is about God in Christ who has chosen to not be God outwith us. It is only in this frame that life has sanity and makes sense. Only God makes things make sense, not just intellectually, but deep down in the recesses of the soul of humanity. To fight against that is to fight against reality itself, which can only end in a need for deep therapy which flows from re-creation and resurrection.

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One thought on “Theology is Therapy

  1. Hi, Bobby – saw you mentioned on “The Galli Report” by Mark Galli. Been exceptionally busy and hadn’t visited your site in a while. Glad to read your post – yes, theology is therapeutic because it centers on the True Center of all things! Great reading you again.

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