The recent death of John Stott has inspired me to finally dive into what is generally considered to be his magnum opus, The Cross of Christ. In the preface, he makes a very wise disclaimer that eloquently states some of the discomfort I had as I got deep into doctoral work at seminary:
“In daring to write (and read) a book about the cross, there is of course a great danger of presumption. This is partly because what actually happened when ‘God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ’ is a mystery whose depths we shall spend eternity plumbing, and partly because it would be most unseemly to feign a cool detachment as we contemplate Christ’s cross. For, whether we like it or not, we are involved. Our sins put him there. So, far from offering us flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteousness. We can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit…”
Now I want to be very quick to note that this is not at all meant to disparage or denigrate the study and pursuit of theology, whether it is undertaken formally or informally. I simply found that it was too easy for me to lose sight of the proper attitude and posture that such study should take.