Vocab Check: 'Thē-ə-ˈLō-Jən'
Explainer With Authority vs. Messenger Boy
Evangelists, Apologists, and Preachers, Oh My!
Let's say that every Christian fits one of three roles: an evangelist, an apologist, or a pastor. The evangelist wants everyone to believe in Jesus and become a Christian. The apologist wants to defend the beliefs of Christianity and establish them as a fact. The pastor wants to guide those under his care to 'work out their faith in awe [fear] and reverence [trembling]' (Philippians 2.12). It is at least the duty of every Christian to major in one of these three areas:
ALL Christians are told to give a defense for their faith, like Apologists (1 Peter 3.15).
ALL Christians are told to make disciples, like Evangelists (Matthew 28.19).
ALL Christians are told to encourage others in faith their, like Pastors (Hebrews 10.24).
When someone does these things full time, they get a title. Often a 'theologian' does one of these three things with his work, and so his title should really be 'Pastor,' or 'Evangelist,' or 'Apologist.'
These roles of evangelist, apologist, and preacher are common to all of us, and all require a little bit of theologian-work. An apologist needs to understand the teachings of the Bible before he defends them; an evangelist does too; so does a pastoral person who encourages people to grow in their faith. So we can't see this as something a highly specialized thinker does. This has to be our work too.
Brothers, We Are Not Theologians
Like the title says, we are not theologians. There are none. The work of interpreting the Bible is not something done by old, wise, authoritative men in well-lit studies; it is the role of every Christian person. God has spoken through his Word, and we are to listen to Him through it.
So if someone comes up to you and says, 'you talk about the Bible; you're a theologian at heart,' just smile and tell them - 'no, just a Christian.' Let them ask you what they mean!