“In the old days, when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected.”
— C. S. Lewis
If it was bad when C.S. Lewis wrote this in his book, Mere Christianity, in 1944 it is now catastrophic. From the far right to the far left, novelties on theology are continuously being circulated through the world of social media and absorbed by individuals of all sorts of denomination, faith affiliations, and secular orientations making everyone perceived experts on God or non-God.
I believe there are only two kinds of theologians who can be trusted. Theologians who are well educated and have an active growing relationship with Jesus and speak of assurance and trust more than confidence and certainty. The other theologian I believe can be trusted in one whose writings are like those listed above and have joined the great cloud of witnesses which have gone on before us.
When I read the writings of the Church Fathers and Mothers I find a faith filled theological understanding undergirded by biblical wisdom and devotional practice. Reading their words I encounter individuals who have walked with the Lord within and without. Their writings never have the feel of being written for fame or money, but out of a desire to share a wonderful treasure God had given to them as a gift.
Occasionally, I still find theologians like this who are writing today. What they offer is not something new or novel, but insightful and built upon the foundation of the theology passed down from the apostles to the church through the Holy Spirit. When I find theologians like this, I give them as much time as I can in study and reflection. I consider the gift God has given them a gift they are giving to me.