Listener Questions: Bad Theology

A few months ago, we sent out a call for topics or questions our listeners would like to hear our hosts, Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen, cover on the podcast. We were overwhelmed with gratitude at the number of responses received, and are privileged to be able to hold the vulnerable, honest questions that have been entrusted to us. Due to the volume of questions, we looked for patterns and themes in the questions. Today, Dan and Rachael take on a topic brought to us by many of our listeners: bad theology.


“When we begin to talk about bad theology we have to begin to go: From where, from whence, from whom did this particular theological perspective come to be held by a group of people? We can’t engage bad theology until we begin to do the work of studying it. That study must come from not just a desire to label something good or bad, but to actually say does it at least address something of concern that we can learn from.” Dr. Dan Allender

“We’re seeing the impact of this play out in our very midst right now. The structures— sociologically, historically, religiously—that have been a part of creating and sustaining racism and racial injustice in the United States have been undergirded by theological imagination, by Biblical principles [….] Our theology is not neutral. It has the power to perpetuate and sustain systems of death using God, using our biblical imagination. We take this very, very seriously.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“It’s not so much that a traumatized person sins, it’s more that a traumatized person knows the brokenness of life, their own and others, with so much more clarity, and as a result, so much more room to engage. But when those with bad theology come around and say your anger, hurt, struggle, is proof that you don’t trust God? No … those are the people who are denying the reality of God.” Dr. Dan Allender

“When you’re in the midst of coming to terms with the harmful theology that either you have been formed by or you’re aware people you love have been deeply formed by, make no mistake about it, there is so much theological imagination that is actually quite harmful that is more like the air we breathe.” Rachael Clinton Chen