I had someone ask today why should they have to study theology at a Seminary (graduate-level theological education) when they want to design curriculum for families and family life. My response: why not?
First things first: I generally define theology as “faith seeking understanding” of God’s revelation, wherever we find God revealing things. I also believe that God reveals through the inspired word (the Bible) but that He also reveals through the incarnate word (Jesus) and through the created order. God reveals, and we respond. When we respond to God’s revelation, we “do” theology.
Consider Ephesians 5 and the mystery of Christ and the Church as modeled in the husband/wife relationship. I will assume that anyone doing family life curriculum will, at some point, teach Ephesians 5 (and if they don’t, they’re skipping a significant and important text). To explain the husband/wife relationship contrasted with the Christ/Church requires a basic understanding of (1) Christ and (2) the Church. To explain that contrast well requires study in Christology and Ecclesiology (at a minimum). Biblically based family life curriculum teaches students to respond appropriately to God’s revelation, which means that Christian Education is a theological discipline and task. That one chooses to go to the Bible for such answers also represents a theological understanding and method.
Why theology in Christian education? Try doing Christian education without theology and see how far you get.