Don’t Take Theology Out of the Equation

25 May

Sometimes when people think of theology, they think of a commentary or a bible school lecture (which, theology is often manifested in that way, which is good).  Sometimes when people think of theology, they think of somewhat dry knowledge with very little application or power.  Sometimes when people think of theology, they think of an American interpretation of things.  Sometimes when people think of theology, they don’t think of Jesus, but they think of a bunch of ideas created by man and argued by man and I know that people do that in the name of theology.  But I want to “argue” that true theology is not a book, an argument or just a bunch of thoughts created by professors.  Theology isn’t a test that you take in bible college, theology isn’t heartless and dry information, theology is not these things.

So, what is real theology?

Theology is the study of God.  Is this a bad thing?  Is this a heartless thing that doesn’t really change the world?  Sometimes, Christians act like theology is so impractical, dry and nearly useless.  I must ask these questions:

Is theology impractical to the needs of a dying man in an AIDS hospital in Zimbabwe?  Is theology impractical to the person in Indiana, who is recovering from the intense battle of meth addiction, which has consumed and destroyed her family?  Is theology impractical and unimportant to the needs of a woman who is weeping in longing for her children because she is serving a sentence in a Dallas prison? Is theology impractical or unimportant?  Is theology impractical for the Muslim woman who lives in a mud hut in the Sahara Desert of North Africa?  Is theology unnecessary and impractical for the woman in Missouri, who is coming out of nearly 40 years of prostitution?  Is theology impractical and unimportant to the evil of this world and the needs of mankind?  Is theology unimportant in the face of murder, injustice and pure tragedy? Does it really matter?  Maybe you know where I am going with this…of course theology is necessary!!  Of course theology is practical and important  because theology is all about Jesus!!!!  Jesus alone has the power to break the strongholds of Satan in this world, setting the captives free.  In fact, all of the people and places that I have listed here, are actually people and places to where God has sent me, in which many I have seen Jesus do miracles.

“Jesus isn’t interested in theology”

Is this true?  My friends, I beg you, do not take theology out of the equation!  Please, to do so is very dangerous.  Let me continue…

When Jesus was on earth, did He show interest in His Father?  Was He familiar with all of His ways and thoughts?  Not that Jesus needs to study His Father, for they have been One for eternity, but does it matter to Jesus whether or not you believe lies or truth about His Father?  What about the disciples, or students (disciple simply means, student) of Jesus?  Did they show interest in Jesus?  Did they study Him, His person, His character, His words, His thoughts?  Think about it.

I wonder if many people have a misunderstanding of what theology is.  For as I said earlier, theology isn’t a test, it isn’t just a book, it isn’t dry thoughts created by man, so what is it?  Theology is a study of God.  Is that important?

What does it mean to study someone or something?  I believe it means to seek them out.  It means to seek to understand something or someone in order to know that person or thing better.  It means to plunge our minds and saturate our thoughts into the object of which we are studying.  We study because we want to learn more.  So, if we are studying about God, what does this mean?

Surely, to study God is to seek to know Him more.  It is not merely some intellectual exercise in order to get a good grade and a sharper mind so that we can do well on tests and write books that will sell well, but it is to be transformed by the very presence and thoughts of God Himself.  Theology, real theology, is to seek God for the sake of knowing Him and not falling away by believing lies.  It is to saturate our thoughts with His thoughts.  Theology is to know Jesus Christ, which is eternal life.  True theology will help to keep us safe from believing lies about God.  Theology isn’t unspiritual or impractical to this evil world, because we are studying the One who made all things.  We are studying the One who knows all, whose wisdom and understanding, there is no end.  We are studying the One who saves people from death.  We are studying the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

“We need disciples, not theologians”

I have heard this before and I think I can understand where people are coming from when they say this, but I honestly believe that this is a contradiction of terms.  Theology and discipleship, you cannot separate the two.  For to be a disciple, literally means to be a student of Jesus.  And how can we be students of Jesus if we do not apply any study of Him?  If we do not study Him, Himself, the person Jesus, then we cannot possibly be His disciples.  Now, this does not mean that everyone needs to read commentaries and write books.  But, this does mean that every person who professes to follow Jesus, needs to hear and study His words and put them into practice.  We need to be followers of Him, we need to be His disciples.

When I think of theology, I think of Mary in Luke 10:39.  Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Him.  She ate His words.  Back in those days, if people sat at the feet of rabbis and listened to their teachings, they were showing themselves to be disciples.  A disciple is a pupil or a student.  However, I believe that in Jesus, a disciple is that and so much more.  A disciple of Jesus is someone who intimately and powerfully follows Him.  A disciple is someone who is fruitful in becoming more like Christ.  A disciple of Jesus loves Him more than their own lives.  Disciples die to themselves and call Jesus their master.  A disciple of Jesus knows Him and does whatever He says.

It is all about knowing Jesus and this is what theology revolves around (or it should).  Having said that, theology is not impractical to any human on earth.  Jesus said that He is the bread of life and the living water.  He is sufficient in Himself and therefore, is sufficient to fill every human need.  He is the Son of God and the Creator of all things.  He is who He is, hallelujah!

Theology is important because to know Jesus is eternal life, and apart from Him, all will eternally perish.  A proper theology is worth dying for.

This is a side note, but I recently read that someone (an American) said that the church in America is more focused on Paul the Apostle than on Jesus.  Maybe that is true to some extent but I really don’t know; the church in America is a lot of people.  However, Paul says that he follows the example of Christ.  Also, everything that Paul accomplished and said in his life actually wasn’t from him, but was from Jesus.  Jesus lived out his life through Paul.  Paul even said, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  Also, every word of Scripture is breathed out by God and on every page of the bible, you will find Jesus.  Scripture does not say that one part of the Scriptures is more important than another and that we should only focus on one part of it.  Yes, we should focus on all of God’s Word.  Anyway…

It is very important that people think correctly about God, and to teach and train people in that knowledge isn’t impractical, heartless, unspiritual or dry.  Nor does it go against anything in Scripture.  Theology has eternal importance and I have seen, with my own eyes, the study and knowledge of Christ destroy satanic strongholds in various places and cultures throughout the world.  I have seen Jesus, and the knowledge of Him, end injustices, racism and murderous desires.  I have seen the knowledge of Christ, manifested in His Holy Spirit and His Word, destroy  idolatry, adultery, drug addictions and wounds from child abuse.  I have seen the knowledge of Christ bring transformation to oppressive, dark households and cultures.

A proper theology also keeps us safe from the lies of Satan expressed through false teachers who say things that aren’t true about God.  Paul, in 1 & 2 Timothy talks a lot about this.  How do pastors protect the flock to which God has entrusted to them?  Is it not through the preaching and teaching of Christ?  How will your friends, whom you have discipled, stay protected from believing false things about Jesus…how are they going to break down and destroy the powers of satan revealed through those who deliberately preach a false Christ?  Is it not to know Him intimately and powerfully, through the Holy Spirit, the Word and the fellowship of God’s saints?  Will not a proper knowledge of God and His Word keep our dear family in Christ safe from being deceived by sin?  Theology matters!

We recently went out into a village to preach the Good News.  There was a man there who loves and desires to follow Jesus, but he had a lot of questions.  He asked us, “how do I know if I have the Holy Spirit?  How do I know if I am living in sin?”  I do not believe that it is bad to search the Scriptures and answer these questions with this man.  How could that be bad?  Isn’t that what Christ has told us to do?   My friends, I beg you again, please do not take theology out of the equation.  For to do so is very dangerous.

In a world where so many do not know God, or where so many say that “God is whoever you make him to be,” isn’t it important to know who He really is?  How is it a bad thing to have true and steadfast knowledge of the One true God?

Anyway, despite the fact that I am very simple minded, I do hope that you understand that theology is important.  I feel as though there is an attitude sweeping across many people, that theology isn’t important and that it isn’t really even a part of following Jesus.  That doesn’t make any sense at all and it isn’t true.  Jesus doesn’t hate theology, He doesn’t hate it when people study and know about Him, does He?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: