Sunday, January 20, 2013


I am very intrigued by a brilliant analysis that I heard from Neil Cole. He referred to it as the "theology of SAFE." I am struck by how right on this is! If you think about it, this philosophy or approach to Christianity is, in large part, why we have "Christian" everything. Christian music. Christian radio. Christian TV. Christian schools. Christian bookstores. Christian businesses. If you can think of it, there is probably a "Christian" version of it! And by "Christian," I mean safe! How often do I hear the slogan, "safe for the whole family" whenever I listen to a Christian radio station. The implication, then, is that it must be God-honoring.

Every aspect of this SAFE acronym resonates with me personally. I have embraced it far too often and far too long in and out of "formal ministry" settings.

Safe theology looks like this:

Self-preservation = our mission
Avoidance of the world and risk = wisdom
Financial security = responsible faith
Education = maturity

Cole contrasts the above system with another. He wisely contends that the more accurate Biblical worldview would be characterized as a “theology of DEATH.” This constitutes the authentic Christian life. And oh man, is it uncomfortable! None of it seems appealing using human wisdom. I guess that's the point!
This is what a theology of death looks like…
Die daily to who we are
Empowerment of others (not self) is our life
Acceptance of risk is normative
Theology is not just knowledge, but practice
Hold tight to Christ with an open hand for everything else.

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