I think some people have a sense that if a person has studied theology then their faith has become an academic construct that has no real-world application. I've been told, with apparent respect, that despite all of the efforts of modern theologians, simple faith is all that is really required of us. The implication is that academic and intellectual engagement with the Christian faith are ultimately, at best irrelevant, and at worst perhaps dangerous to the faith of the 'simple man'.
Firstly, let me say that I don't think intellectual capacity has anything to do with salvation or our ability to lead good lives. But I do think that a thinly veiled anti-intellectualism is alive and well in Christianity today - and that this is a futile misdirection of our energies.
I don't think it's likely that The Salvation Army is ever going to be overrun by academics. Our best trait historically has been a willingness to get our hands dirty. It's 'roll your sleeves up' Christianity and I don't think we need to change this - in fact, I think we need more of it. However, I also think that it would be beneficial to redress an historic imbalance that has left our movement behind in both practical theology and social research. If we are going to advance our evangelical and social missions, then we need to take both more seriously. We've been concentrating on tweaking the methods, without considering whether the entire framework needs some critical reflection and review.
And with that, he descends from his soap-box for the day...