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You Are a Theologian

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Member Reviews

Hey! My name is Amber and I'm a theologian.

I'm not a scholar, a professor or a pastor.

I am, however, a follower of Christ, a wife, a mom, and a nurse.

So why call myself a theologian?

Theology is simply words about God thus, a theologian is someone who has words about God - and we all have them. The key to becoming a good one is seeking to understand how God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, so that our words and our worship align with truth.

Jen & JT have put together a resource to give us - the regular people in the pew - an overview of foundational Christian beliefs; their new book, You Are A Theologian: An Invitation to Know and Love God Well.

Yes, there are theological words. Yes, they will call you a theologian. And yes, they are inviting you to discover more about God, because they wholeheartedly believe that in learning, you will love Him more, too.

Purpose of the Book
The authors share a two-fold purpose in writing this book. First, they want you to see yourself as a theologian. Second, they want you to grow in knowledge and love of God through theology.

Here's where they'll take you:

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION What a Generation Forgot
CHAPTER 1 Why Does Theology Matter?
CHAPTER 2 Who is God? The Doctrine of the Trinity
CHAPTER 3 What is God like? The Attributes of God
CHAPTER 4 What is the Bible? Revelation: The Doctrine of Scripture
CHAPTER 5 Who are We? Anthropology: The Doctrine of Humanity
CHAPTER 6 What Went Wrong? Hamartiology: The Doctrine of Sin
CHAPTER 7 What has God Done? (Part 1) The Doctrines of Christology, Atonement, and Justification
CHAPTER 8 What has God Done? (Part 2) Pneumatology: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
CHAPTER 9 to Whom Do We Belong? Ecclesiology: The Doctrine of the Church
CHAPTER 10 how Does the story end? Eschatology: The Doctrine of Last Things

You'll find the chapters are separated into different theological topics. Obviously the book is not exhaustive, but they highlight the foundational, historic beliefs of Christianity. Another way of describing these is to say they are first-order doctrines, the non-negotiables of the Christian faith.

Each chapter begins with a definition of the doctrine, then goes on to explain the biblical concepts and how it relates to our daily life. They wrap up with 5 questions for reflection and/or discussion, and prayer.

The authors don't spend time arguing toward a specific theological tradition, they are charitable in their teaching, acknowledging at times the presence of differences across denominations, but not getting hung up on it. This really helps the reader focus on the simplicity of the core doctrines.

My Take
Becoming a Good Theologian
A.W. Tozer writes, “what comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

How we think about God impacts how we speak and act, influencing how we pray, how we read the Scriptures, and how we relate with others.

The authors write, "theology matters because it shapes us not merely at the intellectual level, but at the emotional and the practical level." Theology is not merely something we learn but something we do.

This doesn't necessarily mean we start filling out seminary applications or buying systematic theology textbooks - although neither are a bad thing. But it does mean adopting the mindset of a lifelong learner, because "disciples never graduate from Scripture."

Colossians 3:10 reminds us that we have "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." We will continue to mine truths from God's word, for knowledge of Him is inexhaustible. Our thirst will be quenched as we drink from the Living Water and in turn love will flow from us, to accomplish the good purposes He has for us.

Welcome the Lingo
What's your response when you encounter big words?

Technical jargon can be intimidating. All my non-nursing friends heartily agree.

Theological terms come up and we may feel lost or confused, causing even more difficult to see the relevance to our daily life. Even the word theologian is an example. Typically relegated to academics or pastors, the title sounds far out of our lowly reach.

But, words can be explained and we can understand what they mean, not for the purpose of gaining a gold star because now we know, but rather to discover the depth of meaning and how the gospel becomes clearer through comprehension

Do Theology Together
Theology is a conversation about God's Word. We're not meant to do it alone.

This is what makes these two authors great role models for writing this book. They've served in ministry together and engage in these conversations on their podcast, Knowing Faith (which I've really enjoyed, banter and all), helping the church gain a vision for discipleship.

Gaining knowledge can make us prone to pride but theology is humble: "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Cor 8:1). Keeping a humble attitude before God and others will enable us to discuss and share and grow together in love and unity.

My Recommendation
Do you desire to know God and to love Him well?

Have you read the words of the psalmist, "as a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Ps.42:1-2) and felt that deep in your bones?

Or maybe you want that it would be true for you.

If so, this resource will show you how expanding your knowledge will broaden your love for the Lord.

If you're a Christian who has never read through a catechism, or if you did and it was a long time ago, this book is for you.

If you're involved in a bible study, a small group, or a teaching ministry this book will help you understand the foundations of Christian doctrine.

If you're a parent and discipling your children, this resource will equip you to talk with your kids about faith.

If you're on a ministry leadership team, this book is a way for you to study together, even if you feel it's back to the basics, to remember the goodness of the gospel and build each other up.

I love when theological resources are accessible for us regular believers and this is one I highly recommend.

So, who will you "do" theology with? Your friends, small group, your family?

Pray about who you can invite along on this journey of knowing and loving the Lord.

Quick Stats
# of pages:224 pages
Level of Difficulty: It's easy, (yes there are some big words, but nothing they don't explain)
My Rating: 5 stars

A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review!

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This book is chock full of amazing information, whether you're new to theology or not. As Jen Wilkin and J.T English state in the beginning, it IS an intro to the world and process of being a theologian, but you don't have to be a new theologian to get amazing information for it. Within the first 27%, I had already highlighted ad noted 20ish segments that I wanted to remember. Also, did you know that you could get theological concepts from Will Ferrell's Elf? Me neither! But it gave me a reason to love that movie even more! I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to all christians out there. You won't regret it.

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Discipleship begins with learning, but it results in loving. If you've never read or heard anything by Jen Wilkin or J.T. English, this sentence from the conclusion captures the heart behind everything they're about. We are all theologians, and we're all disciples. The question is whether our theology is informed by the Truth, and exactly what we're allowing ourselves to be discipled by. You Are A Theologian is a much-needed reminder to Christians at all stages along the journey that our goal together is to make mature disciples—those who are taught to obey everything that Christ commanded—not simply for the sake of learning, but to mature more deeply into loving: loving God and loving neighbor for our good and His glory. You Are A Theologian can be read in a day, but worked out over the course of a lifetime, shoulder-to-shoulder in community with fellow theologians and disciples of Christ. A wonderful encouragement, and a worthy exhortation.

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Jen Wilkin, author of several BIble studies I've enjoyed, has teamed up with J.T. English to write the new book, "You Are a Theologian: An Invitation to Know and Love God Well." They begin by reminiscing about a time in college when a professor explained to them that the word "theology" simply means "words about God." And since everyone has words about God, everyone can be a theologian. In this book, they cover important doctrines such as the Trinity, Anthropology, Hamartiology, Pneumatology, and others. At the end of each chapter, Wilkin and English include some questions to ponder, and even a prayer to meditate on.

I appreciate how the authors made these weighty topics so easy to understand, and how they want everyone to feel that the Bible and its doctrines are accessible for them. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

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Define Theology. Some will come up with the study of the bible, some will say it's doctrine, some will think this is the deep end of the Christian faith and that they are out of their depth. Basically, according to J.T.'s professor, theology is simply words about God. Pretty simple, yet pretty profound. His next question was who has words about God? His answer, though, rocked J.T.'s world, and the ripple effects last even to today. You are looking at part of that ripple effect. Who is a theologian....YOU are a theologian. J.T. English has partnered with Jen Wilkin to expand on that concept in a way that is both refreshing and light enough to grasp a hold on to. Topics covered in the book are set up as question because it's written to expand your understanding and to really get you thinking. Those topics are as follows:
Who is God? The Doctrine of the Trinity
What is God like? The Attributes of God
What is the Bible? The Doctrine of Scripture
Who are we? The Doctrine of Humanity
What went wrong? The Doctrine of Sin
What has God done? The Doctrines of Christology, Atonement, and Justification
To whom do we belong? The Doctrine of the Church
How does the story end? The Doctrine of Last Things

Each chapter takes a doctrine and breaks it down to layman's terms in understanding and comprehension, backed by scripture, and ends with some thought provoking questions that one can answer alone in a journal or even in a group setting. Excellent breakdown of something of our faith that most probably feel is out of their reach. I highly recommend this for all.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*

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You Are a Theologian begins by sharing a story from J.T.'s first day of seminary... a powerful moment that lays the groundwork for the rest of the book, breaking down the word "theology" to show that everyone is a theologian -- even if they don't know why they believe what they believe.

Interesting, approachable, and informative, You Are a Theologian gives an overview of half a dozen doctrines including eschatology, ecclesiology, Christology, and many more. This is far from a deep dive, but if the purpose is to provide a general explanation or description so that the layperson has a better understanding of several core Christian doctrines, it succeeds.

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This book breaks down the basics of Christian theology for the lay person. The authors provide definitions, historical context, and explanation where needed. Throughout the book, the authors rely on scriptures throughout to back up the words about God they are speaking. Each chapter ends with You Are a Theologian section that offers discussion questions to consider for deeper reflection or for discussing with other believers reading the book and closes the chapter with prayer. This is a very approachable guide to understanding theology and basic tenants of Christian theology. I think it would be an excellent read for Christians of all levels of maturity.

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What does Apollo 13, Buddy the elf, and Thai youth football have to do with God? Pick up this book and find out! This was an awesome read. I loved it from start to finish. As a seminary student and avid Christ follower, I’m always looking for more reading material, & this book delivered. My name is Megan and I am a theologian.

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A good and necessary book, in my opinion. Christians should know what they believe and be able to defend their faith. We should also be able to disciple other believers who are newer in the faith. I found this book very worthwhile, and I plan to read it again!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance e-copy of this book! All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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As Christians, we are all theologians or should be. This book dives into helping you understand what theology is and what God has called us to do. “Jesus’s final command is not a call to make converts, but a call to make disciples. And as the Great Commission states, that call will require us to teach converts to observe all that has been commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Arguably, we have no power to make converts. But making disciples? According to Jesus, we are to replicate ourselves by passing along the good deposit that was passed along to us.” This is so important, we don’t accept Jesus and then carry on as we were, we are to learn, grow, and teach.This continues throughout our lives, not a one stop and be done. That is exactly what this book explains, along with answering the following questions:

Who is God? The Doctrine of the Trinity
What is God like? The Attributes of God
What is the Bible? The Doctrine of Scripture
Who are we? The Doctrine of Humanity
What went wrong? The Doctrine of Sin
What has God done? The Doctrines of Christology, Atonement, and Justification
To whom do we belong? The Doctrine of the Church
How does the story end? The Doctrine of Last Things

Maybe you are thinking, no, I am not meant to teach, but we all do in some form or capacity. This quote from the book tells us: “Whether you share words about God around a dinner table, in Sunday school classroom, at a coffee shop, in a workplace, or on a social media platform, you can grow n your fluency.”

A few other important point made in the book, though I have many more highlights:

“When we do theology, our task is not to add to what God has revealed in the Scriptures, but to order it. Theology is a way to organize and better know and understand what God has gifted us in special revelation.”
“It is done in everyday life, every minute of every day. We are dong theology when we preach, pray, and sing, but we are also doing theology when we go to work, when we take vacation, as we care for an aging parent, as we fight sin, as we raise kids, as we mourn the loss of a loved one, as we spend our money, as we grow old.”
“Theology helps us live all of live well.”
“If we get the doctrine of God wrong, we face very real consequences in our daily lives.:
“The local church reminds believers of the beauty of diversity that exists among the children of God.”

The authors handled the topics very well, with thorough explanations, quoting scripture, quotes from the ancient theologians, not getting into hashing out secondary issues, but pointing to what God’s Word says about these questions. Each chapter begins with the question, followed by a definition and then deeper content that makes it relatable and understandable. Ending each chapter with great discussion questions, which would make this a great book to do with others in a group. The chapter on the trinity was probably one of the better explanations I have read on it.

This is one to add to your stack to read and have on hand to share with others and reference back to. I currently have the eBook version, but I will plan to get the hard copy so my children can read this in the near future.

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