Allow me to create a slightly false dichotomy. I have noticed two types of Christian conversation happening in my life: theologizing and testifying. I theologize when I discuss spiritual things that I don’t actually experience and or know anything about in the biblical sense of ‘knowing’. Theologizing conversations have no direct link to my own growth or walk with God. Rather, they usually fill some sort of emptiness in my mind or heart and so they are interesting on a carnal level of curiosity or escapism.
When I testify in conversations, on the other hand, I share what God has initiated in my life. I point to real events and moments that reveal God at work in me and in the world. Unlike theologizing, testifying doesn’t often fill some blank in me. It usually happens because I am overflowing. Something that struck me yesterday again was that theologizing can be a poor substitute for testifying in our conversations. Theology doesn’t require a living God – it merely requires a human brain. On the other hand, it is very hard to share genuine testimony without the reality of God in our lives. Now, of course, this is a false dichotomy. Revelation requires meditation, and meditation requires revelation. Let’s get both in the right balance in our lives. But reality produces theory, not the other way round. So I hope you get my point.
It has been said that the Jews only became theologizers when prophecy dried up in the land during the 400 year silence before John the Baptist. When God left the Temple, the people of God became instead the people of the Book. They didn’t see God at work anymore, and so they speculated about everything. In other words, when we have God’s presence we tell stories and share revelation, but when we don’t we theologize and share information. When we are spiritually lonely, we become spiritually theoretical.
I don’t know if it is totally true, but I can relate to that. Can you? What mix of theology and testimony do your conversations have?