Christian theology comes out of faith in God’s sovereign act of saving love in Jesus Christ. Its concern is primarily with the truth, shape, and implications of Christian belief. Though it will look at other religions and even the phenomenon of religious belief itself, it will do so from a Christian perspective. When exploring the truth of Christian faith, theologians will ask important questions like:
- What kind of evidence is there for the historical Jesus?
- What kind of evidence is there for Jesus’ resurrection?
- What kind of evidence is there for the existence of God?
- How should we understand the reliability and authority of Scripture?
- Do all the things that Christians want to say about God cohere together, or are there points of contradiction?
Answering such questions is a part of how theology can help establish the plausibility of Christian faith. Yet human beings evaluate truth not simply by weighing evidence, but also through aesthetic and moral judgements. This is where theology’s description of what God is like is important.
Theology done well will convey something of the aesthetic and moral dimensions of God’s being and character. It will also be done, at least in part, to aid the members of the Christian community to think through how they can best represent what God is like through their speech and actions. Theology, therefore, also helps to convey the truth of the Christian faith through the aesthetic and moral entailments of its description of God, and the way this description informs the practises of the Christian community.
The truth of the Christian faith is ultimately based, however, on encountering God’s grace in the person of Jesus Christ. This means that theology can be a part of establishing the truth of Christian faith, but it cannot do so in and of itself. I would encourage anyone considering the truth of the Christian faith not simply to approach it as an intellectual question, but to pray that Jesus would reveal himself to them. For it is a living person who is the object of our belief.