If your doctrine of God isn’t grounded in God revealed in Jesus Christ in cruciform shape, then you most likely have a speculative/philosophical ground for thinking God. This has implications for ethics, and every day praxis. One way I’ve seen this obtaining among many theologians out there, particularly online, is a deafening silence in regard to the upheaval the world is experiencing right now. What good is a theology that by definition has no necessary interface with the world? This is exactly what the many theologies of glory (theologia gloria) are composed by; a monadic, potentially Aristotelian based notion of God, at least an actus purus (pure being) notion of God that reflects a God who sits, untouched by His creation, up in the yonder heavens; maybe just down the block from Thor.
One thing I respected about my decade or more with the Princeton Barthians, among other likeminded, was their verve for seeing things in theopolitical ways. This is primarily because their notion of God is grounded in God concretely Self-revealed in the afterbirth and timber of Jesus Christ. If a theologia crucis (theology of the cross) funds the way you think God; if this is the sophia you think from, ‘the wisdom of the cross,’ then you will necessarily see God as a God who freely interfaces with the world in concrete ways. There will be no speculation about who God might be; there will only be a reliance upon God’s exhaustive Self-revelation in Jesus Christ. This understanding of God is full of flesh, blood, fingernails, and hair; as we come to see Him in the ad extra economy of His mission (missio Dei) in the world. Of course, the sort of politics all of the Princeton Barthians I’m referring to is ultimately based in evil (like neo-Marxism); but my point is I can at least admire their consistency to see God in the world, as God has freely seen Himself for the world in Jesus Christ.
I am only speculating about why so many theologians of the classical theistic ilk never seem to chime in on what’s going on in the world currently. There is always a correlation though between the way we think God, the way we know God, and the way we “activist” in the world or not. If your God is a Greek God, at base, then you will act like a philosopher. If your God is a Hebrew God, you will act like a theological activist. The next question will be: from whence does the ‘activist’ connive their theopolitical values from; and are we to correlate those (and are they even correlateable) with some political party in whatever country we find ourselves citizens of? I am not seeking to answer that more difficult question in this post. But as a hint: I think we need to be situational and careful in regard to who we ‘sign up’ with when it comes to promoting this or that politician etc. But I think in the end, coram Deo, the theological activist needs to make decisive moves, and take decisive acts when it comes to the sorts of stands, they are going to take. My ultimate criterion is whether or not an action, or word bears witness to Christ or not. I take it that any action or word that bears witness to the truth rather than the false is the way of the theologian of the cross.
There is an interesting irony at play here though: while the theologian of the cross is operating in and from the concrete flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, they are still ‘walking by faith rather than sight.’ The theologian of the cross beholds the things that are invisible, as if they are, and the things visible as if they are not (to paraphrase Martin Luther). In other words, the theologian of the cross lives their life from a physically unseen Kingdom; this is the realm they move and live and have their being from. As such, we are able to operate with a taxis or an order that this world cannot even imagine (and definitely not speculate). This is what we are to bear witness to: the ground and grammar of all reality as that is given in the triune life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When the world sees this type of order and calm in the midst of the storm; when they understand that you are based in another world, the real world; people might be prompted to look where you’re looking. Of all people, theologians of the cross ought to be reflecting a life and reality that this world system could never imagine. Theologians of the cross, as they are participants with Christ, in and from His vicarious life for them, show the world what nail-pierced and wounded-sided life looks like; a life smack dab in the inner-life of the Father and Son in the bond of the Holy Spirit’s fellowshipping love. And so the theologian of the cross must speak of the things they see and hear after Deus dixit (God has spoken). People need to see this world contradicting the evil and malevolent world that is currently ruling and reigning in the hearts and minds of the masses; of the broadway. The world system is grounded in the fear of death; the Kingdom of God in Christ is grounded in the victory of the Life without death—the life of the risen Christ. Solo Christo