Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Theological Soundbite on Theology

As I was reflecting on a conversation I had today, I realized there are a great many people (particularly Christians) who don't know what theology actually is. Some view it as an ivory tower activity reserved for the academic elite, other's seem to think that any semi-spiritual idea counts.

The word "theology" comes from the joining of the Greek words "theos" which means God, and "logos" which means word, study, or logic. So "theology" is "The study of God." In broader terms, it is the systematic study of religion and/or religious teaching.

Lest you think this only relates to academics, let me make my case for why you should care about theology. Christianity is a knowledge tradition. Our faith is one rooted in teaching, in the truth of certain facts about reality. These facts are susceptible to two sorts of attacks: Denial and Distortion. Some people (say, Stephen Hawking, Michael Ruse, and Richard Dawkins) deny the truth of religious teachings. Other people (false teachers like Mary Baker Eddy) distort certain religious teachings (and may deny others).

As Christians, it is vital for us to understand what we believe and why it is worth believing. Only when we do this can we stand against attacks of the sort mentioned above. Additionally, as Tozer said, we will never live above our conception of God. The vibrancy of our Christian life will be tied to our understanding of the teachings of Christ as revealed in the Bible. As Tozer also said, nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.

Know thy doctrine.

God bless!


FishHawk said...

Since our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me, my perception on theology has changed dramatically. For I now know that we are not dependent upon religious traditions and denominational doctrines in order to get to know Him.

Nonetheless, there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. For theology/doctrines can help us to understand just what He wants to personally reveal, but a comprehensive study of such is even more important in regards to helping us to recognize what needs to be changed. For only what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true is what is true, and everything else just gets in the way.

FishHawk said...

Oh yeah, this is a wonderful article. (He wanted me to tell you that.)

Adullamite said...

The reading of the book and the study of the book, two different things, is he hardest thing to get Christians to do. Too busy, to preoccupied, too lazy! However reading the book changes us and enables us to see how God thinks as opposed to how we, and those who teach think.
It is too dangerous for some because when you read and study you find there are those who get upset. Mostly this happens when their understandings are challenged.

sweetswede said...

Thanks for your comments!