We have all seen it, and possibly know people that do it.  There are Christians among us who lament the pursuit of theology because they have accepted Christ as savior.  This is fantastic and we should be excited for them, but I always have a concern in the back of my mind.  You simply can’t remove Christ from the truths about Christ, and that is why theology matters.

In its most basic definition theology is defined as “the study of science of God[1].”  Furthermore we are told by our Lord Jesus Christ to love him with all of our heart and all of our mind.  Jesus states in Matthew 22:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind[2].”  This command of Jesus is also to theologians who have made theology an academic exercise instead of a lifestyle.  It is a balance of sorts from both extremes.

Every time we open the sacred page or talk of God we are engaging in theology.  Theology helps us understand the doctrines that the Bible sets forth, and assists us in laying out those scriptures in an orderly fashion.  Theology helps us discern what is true and correct, and helps us discern what is unbiblical.  Theology helps to keep our doctrine in check, and prevents us from taking one verse out of context and creating a whole doctrine around it.  The practice of theology assists us in carrying out Paul’s command to his protégé Timothy.  Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth[3].”  Doxology without theology is idolatry.  We need to know who we are giving thanks to, and that includes who he is, his attributes, his role in our lives, and what he has reveals in scripture.  If we are giving thanks for the sake of the experience then we are elevating said experience above Christ.

I have been told that theology is not a biblical practice and to this I must disagree.  Theology is biblical.  The primary source for theology is the revealed scripture of the Old and New Testament, and uses accepts tools and methods of biblical research to gain insights on the truth of God[4].  Theology is systematic.  This term requires some explanation, and it simply means that it draws on the entire Bible.  Instead of looking at individual passages in isolation from each other it looks at scripture as a whole.  It collects scriptures on a topic and arranges the teachings into a coherent whole.  The whole Bible is looked at.

Theology must also be contemporary and practical.  Though the truths about God never change our language does.  Theology must adapt its language to fit the modern tongue.  It must also make itself available to modern issues.  In addressing modernity the past must not change.  Theological truth does not change with the times, but is able to address them using scripture.  It is practical because it helps us with Christian living.  It helps us understand what is right, true, and what boundaries we should live as Christians.

In writing this article it is not my intention to single out a single group, but to simply say that theology matters.  Theology extracts doctrine from the Bible, and a lack of theology can lead to error.  Whether in the 4th century when Arius said Jesus was not divine, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses who teach the same today.  It is because of a misunderstanding of scripture brought about by faulty theology.  I am not saying we need to be theologians who are able to teach at the seminary level, but having a basic understanding can go a long way in helping us know more about Christ.  As previously stated theology is the “Study of God.”  If we love God with all of our mind, soul, and heart why would we not want  a better understanding of it?

God bless you all!

WORKS CITED

2 Timothy 2:15 (New International Version).

Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Bakeracademic, 1998.

Matthew 22:37 (New International Version).

[1] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed (Grand Rapids, MI: Bakeracademic, 1998), 22.

[2] Matthew 22:37 (New International Version).

[3] 2 Timothy 2:15 (New International Version).

[4] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed (Grand Rapids, MI: Bakeracademic, 1998), 23.

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