Alan G Padgett
Prof, Systematic Theology

"Theology is not an Erector Set in the sky," he says. "It's part of our very life, our worship, our prayer, our mission, our preaching, our pastoral care."

Alan Padgett believes theology is "a way of loving God with all your mind." Theology is a natural expression of Christian belief because it's thinking about God. And that means that Christians are doing theology all the time. Liturgical participation, hymn-singing, Bible study â€" all are theological acts.

"Theology is not an Erector Set in the sky," he says. "It's part of our very life, our worship, our prayer, our mission, our preaching, our pastoral care."

Padgett believes that we can improve our theology. "It's not just a given. We can explore and develop our theology. Like gardeners, we can weed it and water it, grow it and even prune it sometimes, if necessary," he says. He considers the Scriptures and the ecumenical creeds to be "the proper seeds" of theology because Christ makes himself known through them.

He notes that in today's world, Christianity is no longer automatically accepted as a civil religion. That means "we need think about what is at the heart of Christianity and how we live it out in our context. We can’t assume that social structures will do it for us," he says.

Padgett received his doctor of philosophy degree from Oxford University in England. He came to Luther from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, where he served as professor of theology and the philosophy of science.

He considers the disciplines of science and theology to be "colleagues" that should work together. "God made two books â€" the Scriptures and the book of nature. Both are ways to the truth of God," he says.

Padgett, an ordained United Methodist pastor who spent seven years in parish ministry, is excited by the idea of helping students learn to be better ministers. "We don't live in a one-denominational world," he says. "I'm pleased that Luther Seminary recognizes that there are different ways of understanding God in Christ and living out that understanding. I'm delighted to be here."