The question of why theology matters is an interesting one. The argument has been made that the only thing worthy pursuing is a right knowledge of Jesus through the Spirit. Theology in this paradigm is viewed as getting in the way of such a relationship. This is one reason why books like Crazy Love by Francis Chan or Knowing God by J.I. Packer are such best sellers. Theology is seen as just gaining a lot of head-knowledge about God without gaining any heart-knowledge. Theology is seen as some dry intellection, academic stuff left within the pages of a old, dusty commentary in some seminaries library.
To those who say that theology leads to intellectualism and away from relationship I would say – no matter what, we all shape theology in one way or another. Indeed theology has been guilty of being irrelevant and abstract at times but let’s not through the baby out with the bath water. We need good theology. You could even go so far as to say that it’s of transcendent importance. If we are not thinking for ourselves and wrestling through tough issues, then pop-theology will lead us astray. The end result is that our beliefs will be determined by us, rather than by God. In a sense, we live as functional deists. We believe God has left us to do his work in the here and now.
Theology is not a private subject for theologians and pastors. Theology is a matter for the church. Theology must stop being viewed as an intellectual discipline. Theology is an understanding of one’s beliefs. There are two wrong viewpoints that are the reason why theology is most often neglected in our churches:
1. Right Decisions are formed from right theology.
I’m sure you’ve heard this expression before: “Orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy.” Another way of putting that is to say, “right theology leads to right practice.”
2. Right theology points us toward God.
A right theology of God can point us toward God in a relational way while simultaneously seeking to pursue truth. Theology presents the truth of God’s word as an attainable goal in our sanctification journey. This journey towards truth unites our theology and our relationship with God in a beautiful harmony. Such a relationship with God, who is truth, informs our theology which then informs our praxis.
3. Theology points out that it’s not about us, it’s all about God.
We are not inviting God into what we are doing. Rather, God is inviting us to participate in what he is doing. Correct theology helps us understand that God is not supposed to be prominent in our lives, he’s supposed to be preeminent.
4. Theology shapes our worldview.
Everyone has a worldview. Theology helps shape our worldview by expounding on basic Christian beliefs. What we understand about God plays a big part in determining our perspectives and by extension our decisions. For example, my views on euthanasia, abortion, and marriage laws are all formed by the theology I hold to.
What you believe about God affects everything. It changes how you love, work, lives, parent, evangelize, sing, and worship. Is God just an impersonal deity hovering above us in the clouds? No. But whether we are aware of it or not we all have ideas about who God is. This is our theology of God and it effects every part of how we live our lives. It is because we are all theologians that theology matters. The questions is, are our thoughts about God true?
Posted by Caleb