Guest / Limited Access /

Jon is a first-year Bachelor of Theology student from a vibrant church. He is active in campus ministry and will likely become a church leader. Like many of his fellow students, he has shown up for Theology 1020E, Introduction to Christian Theology, with a great heart but little understanding of his faith, save some parroting of slogans. The university where I teach, however, is relentless in questioning the world. Jon's cul-de-sac faith is no longer an option; he is now in the secular realm, and his Christianity is under fire.

Like many beginning theology students, Jon feels threatened when he learns that there are many kinds of Christians. Initially, some of the ideas I present in class visibly upset him. But he slowly learns to major in the majors. Hardcore academic and historical theology, in my experience, almost invariably makes a student like Jon a better Christian—not in his heart per se, but in his understanding of God's call for him and his generation.

Jon recently commented in class that "things click now." He is growing up, and the study of Christian doctrine—the mind under grace—helps him to do this.

Doctrine. The word conjures in the modern mind a string of negative images: The Inquisition. Boring professors debating the number of angels on the head of a pin. Bloggers arguing endlessly while the church flags in relevance in the once-Christian West. Doctrine is a bludgeon, a curiosity, a rearranging of the deck chairs while the ship sinks. Vibrant Christians want little to do with it, and instead focus on spiritual disciplines, works of mercy, and authentic Christian living. Doctrine belongs to the past, when it was used mainly to divide believers. How many Protestants spend time pondering whether ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only My Top 5 Books on Community
Picks from Richard Lamb, author of The Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends.
RecommendedThe Seven Levels of Lying
Subscriber Access Only The Seven Levels of Lying
We lie more than we think. And that's part of the problem.
TrendingWhy Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Why Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Regardless of court fight’s final outcome, fewer persecuted Christians will make it to America under president’s plan.
Editor's PickChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
Christianity Today
The Mind Under Grace
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.