A Theology Worth Killing For

It’s been done before. It’s still done today. And still it seems odd to say that a theology is worth killing for.

I don’t hold this view, but the Sadducees and Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day thought in these terms. Jesus challenged their theology and their positions of religious authority, and so they had him executed. Then Peter and John healed a man and delivered a controversial sermon.

“While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, angry because they were teaching the people and announcing in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” Acts 4:1-2

Throughout history the church has notoriously slain theological dissidents, reformers, and traditionalists. And while Christianity is perhaps in a more docile period, some elements of Islam have picked up where the church left off.

All of this hints at a simple truth: theology is more important and dangerous than we usually think.

Some kill for it. Some die because of it. And so we know that a theology is not something to merely meddle with. Theology is life-changing and destiny-determining.

Of course we also need to lighten up. There is no ideology or system of thought that is worth killing for. In the case of theology I would say we shouldn’t even let it necessarily determine with whom we socialize. Nevertheless, theological beliefs are vitally important. They need to be taken seriously, evaluated, and modified with the greatest of care.

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