Why Theology?

Posted by colin on March 2, 2011 under From the pastor | Comments are off for this article

One of our members recently said to me, “It seems like the church is wanting us to all become theologians.” They were referring to our focus on Trinitarian Theology over the past few years. The implication of their comment was that they really weren’t a theologian and would prefer to see the church focus on more practical issues related to Christian living.

This is a very understandable and valid concern. After all, we shouldn’t be sitting in an ivory tower studying esoteric theological treatises, while neglecting others, and the world at large. But this is a false dichotomy. In fact, our theology should be what motivates the way we live our lives.

What is theology? It is simply the knowledge of who God is. So, in fact, we are already theologians. Each one of us has a concept of who God is. And our understanding of who God is and what He requires of us impacts the way we live our lives. This is why we should continually seek to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God. As our theology matures our relationship with God deepens and we better understand who we are and how we should live.

As Christians we are often so anxious to answer the “what?” and “how?” questions of the Christian life that we lose sight of the “who?” who is behind it all. We want to know what God requires of us and how to go about doing what He requires. What should I be doing with my life? What is the most effective way to pray? How should I be serving in the church? How can I improve my marriage? These are all valid questions, but before we can answer them, we need to ask the most fundamental question of all: “who is God?”

When we only ask “what?” and “how?”, we start thinking that God is only interested in the “what” and “how” as well. In other words, focusing only on these “practical” questions leads us into certain ideas about who God is – they affect our theology! We start to believe that God is only interested in our performance. This means that He does not really love us. In fact, He is rather disappointed with us because, as we know, our performance always falls short of His expectations. We see God as a demanding Judge, not as a loving Father. And we see ourselves as disobedient servants instead of adopted children.

This focus on doing is the legalistic approach to religion that we are all prone to. The message of the gospel is that we have already been reconciled to God through Jesus, and we are invited to enter into a personal relationship with the God of the universe. This means that growing in the knowledge of who He is should have primacy over everything else. We cannot love God if we don’t know who He is. How we live our lives flows out of our understanding of who God is, and who we are in relation to Him.

God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in Jesus Christ: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…” (Col. 2:9). Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. This is why we need to focus on who Jesus is. He is the only path to an understanding of who God is. God has revealed Himself to mankind in His Son. If we come to see and know Jesus, then we have come to see and know the Father (John 14:9).

This is why we need to be concerned about theology. Only a secure grasp of who God really is can give us a secure foundation for our lives. Our desire is to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of who Jesus is (II Peter 3:18). As we do, we will be drawn ever more deeply into that relationship with the Triune God which God intended us to have from before the foundation of the world. This is why we study theology.


Comments are closed.