One of the characteristics of evangelical theology is that we take the issue of doctrinal purity, or theological truth, very seriously. And this is, of course, right. Because theology is about God, it is deadly serious. Nobody dares to take the name of God, the holy one, lightly. To think about God, to speak on his behalf is, to teach others about him is always an awesome responsibility. It is within the power of those who take up this responsibility to malign or diminish God or to proclaim his glory and majesty. Ultimately, everyone will have to give an account before the living God of what they have taught people about him and his actions for the salvation of the world. It is no wonder that theology is serious business!
Unfortunately, this insistence of theological purity has often resulted in Evangelical Christians becoming arrogant and harsh. Truth is simply seen as a matter of right and wrong. We know that we are right and those who disagree with us must, thus, be wrong. And because we already have the truth, there is no place for re-thinking what we believe.
People become defenders of the truth, rather than seekers after it. Theology, however, is not just serious business. It involves us. And because it involves us we may not take theology too seriously. Our theological ideas do not constitute God. He is who he is despite what we say about him. In the same way, theology cannot add anything to what God has done for our salvation.
Theology is, at most, a descriptive task. Our descriptions of God and his work for us fall short of who God really is and the fullness of what he has done, but God remains true to his person and work. God is not constituted by our theology!