Faith, Theology, and Renewal

Renewal Lab logo

The logo for The Renewal Lab of Calvin Seminary

You ever wonder why someone has faith? It has struck me as of late to ask: Why do people have faith and how does faith develop in a person? It is quite weird to tell the truth. Many people have faith in many different things. In our day and age, there is a great desire to be spiritual…but not part of an organized institution of any sort. They are Spiritual, but. Yet in that there is a confession of some sort of faith. Even an atheistic view of life has some sort of faith in that belief system that there is no system to begin with.

And what of theology? Once called the queen of sciences it has not become the red-headed step-child of society (my apologies to red heads and step-children). It is viewed as an early Ron Weasly from Harry Potter, not much to look at, not really thought of as a hero. Yet theology itself is much like him because Ron becomes an amazing hero at the end of Harry Potter (sorry for the spoiler).

But what of renewal? There is a great need for renewal in the church today. There is great need for renewal in the lives of believers of Jesus Christ today. Many theologians, and especially missiologists, believe that the church is at a cross-roads right now and renewal in the church and in the life of Christians can do something remarkable for the world let alone for our local community.

So what of these three–faith, theology, and renewal?

There’s a great verse in a book of tears that looks at all three

The great city of God, Jerusalem, had been destroyed. The prophet Jeremiah foretold of its destruction because the people were not following God but their own wants and desires and didn’t see the forces of Babylon coming at them to destroy them. And Jeremiah witnesses this all. And he walks through the streets of a once great city and weeps.

These are his words in a long poem called Lamentations

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and gall. I remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” Lamentations 3:19-24

It takes a faith of a person who has been broken to be given such a solid theology to proclaim such renewal.

In renewal there is a need to be broken. There is a need to have things torn down in order to build up once again. Yet without a solid theology resting in the fact that God’s compassion never fail even in the darkest times, renewal will be a struggle. God’s mercies are new every morning. That means that even in pain and struggle, God renews every morning.

Renewal Lab logo2In the church today, we need to remember this: God renews us each day. And he is constantly at work renewing us. Yet we also need to remember a theology that God is in control, he is on the move, he is at work. A good theology without living it is just words, but living life without a good theology is aimless. Theology needs to be rooted in life itself. Life develops this theology of who God is, and in doing so, helps strengthen us in the faith. And when strengthened in the faith, allows for true renewal to happen in this world, in the church, in the local congregations, and transforms lives and communities.

Faith is formed when the good news of the gospel is preached. A seed is planted. Yet it needs to be cultivated, it needs good soil, good rain, good sunshine, and sometimes some good fertilizer. When the church works together as a whole, and is the church, we can help make more and better disciples of Jesus who transform lives and communities and brings about that renewal that is so needed.

So, how does your life influence your theology? How can you have a theology that helps strengthen your faith? How can all of this help you become a better follower of Jesus who makes more followers of Jesus that transform lives and communities?

Hard question, harder action, but it’s so doable.

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