Bad Theology Comes from Bad Anthropology

Had a great discussion this morning with some of the guys from the church. They've been doing a book study group on Friday mornings for the last several years, and I crashed their party about a year ago. They're among my favorite people, and our Friday morning time together is one of the highlights of my week.

Right now we're reading " a Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian McLaren - we wanted something that would stretch our thinking in a new direction.

Something I've realized in part through reading McLaren's book, and in part through reading some other books both old and new, is that at the root of almost all bad theology is bad anthropology. To say it another way: a poor understanding of mankind is almost always at the root of a poor understanding of God.

When we view mankind as basically good and make the improvement of mankind's experience on this earth the focal point of our belief, we point ourselves at a theological ditch and floor the gas pedal.

We have to start with what is true about God, and understand humanity in light of that. From there we can start talking about what "orthodoxy" looks like. But if we begin with what the church should do to improve the experience of humanity on this earth, I think we take a pretty short-sighted view of eternity, and a small-sighted view of God.

When we do that, the end result of our missional existence is not "the good of the world (McLaren, 117)," but the glorification of God. Those are two radically different finish lines. And if your shooting for two different finish lines, you're running two different races.