Men, do you care about what you wife is like? Does it matter if you know what she likes, doesn’t like or requires from you? Surely, it doesn’t matter to you if I complement her green eyes, even though they are brown. She is a really talented artist right? No? Eh, she is an artist to me.
Friend, do you care about your friends? Does it matter to you what they think or feel? What pleases them, displeases them? Do you even need to know about them? I mean, how important could it be? You know that you like them. That should be enough, right?
Of course the scenarios above are ridiculous. If you are married, you want to know all about your wife. You want to know what makes her mad, what her favorite color is an all of the minute details in between. If I say she has beautiful brown eyes and nice, dark skin and she is a pasty white woman with big blue eyes, you would not take that as a compliment or as flattering. I would be an indifferent jerk. Friends are no different. If we are to have meaningful relationships, we must know the people we are relating to. It matters what they are like.
Anyone would agree. Unless you are a complete narcissist, you find importance in knowing those whom you share life with. To be indifferent to the details about a person is to be indifferent to them, right? You will have a hard time convincing those you are close to that you care about them if you don’t even know their last name. So why do we approach knowing God any differently? The purpose of the first couple of paragraphs is to show the importance of knowing those we love, those who we spend time with. And yet many approach God like a man who cares to know very little about his wife. He may show she is important and that he is supposed to love her but knows little else. Knowing God, seeing Him as He is, is the essence of our salvation. God is magnified in our enjoyment of Him as He is. Knowing God, then, is paramount.
This makes theology indispensable. Theology is not just for the scholar, the king or the pastor. Theology is not just for smart people, or white people or men. Theology is for everyone and indeed everyone does theology. All the time. The very decisions you make every day, as soon as you wake up are driven by theology. Theology is simply the study of God. How you view God, who He is and what He does, effects everything about you. Even the atheist is doing theology. The very statement that their is no God is a theological statement. So the question is not, “should we do theology?” That theology/doctrine is unavoidable is an understatement. The question crystalizes to this one: Are you a good theologian or a bad one?
All theologies are not created equal. There is concrete fact about who God is and what He has done. Christianity is by nature exclusive. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. This is not equal opportunity doctrine. Good theology, in this example, is that Jesus is unique and the only mediator between God and man. All thought opposing these ideas are by consequence, bad theology. The gospel is the ruler by which all theology is measured. All else is blasphemy.
So how do we become good theologians? First, we must be saved by the God of theology. Humans are naturally poor theologians. We have placed ourselves at the middle of the universe. On French philosopher once said that ever since man was made in God’s image, we have been trying to return the favor. This comes out in various evils. Wether it be Islam, homosexuality or religious legalism, our rebellion is the cause of our heretical thoughts about God. None of us have endeavor to know God, in fact Romans 3 says that we don’t even seek God. What evil! But Christ has come and has loved God with His mind, soul and strength on our behalf. He has earned a right standing with God based on His obedience, on his objective atonement. Now, by faith we are justified. Only when we are saved by the power of this gospel can we become good theologians. Only when our eyes have been opened to behold His glory can we begin the process of knowing God rightly.
With trust in God comes a trust of God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is not a word about God, nor does it contain God’s Word. It is God’s Word. The Bible is the only way we can know God as He is. Natural revelation will not help us, unless we rely on the infallible written Word. The Bible is inspired, written by the Holy Spirit and so it is authoritative. To ignore the Bible is to ignore God. The Bible is sufficient and clear. Only those who love the Bible and seek to humble themselves under it, by God’s grace, will become good theologians.
Quickly, a word on humility. The world bemoans the so-called arrogance of Christians. Those valuing tolerance are hardly tolerant when Christians make absolute truth claims. Often, the parable of the blind men feeling around on an elephant is brought up. Aren’t we, after all, all just blind men feeling the same elephant but just feeling different parts? The world says that humility is admitting we don’t know who is right and who is wrong. But it is no sign of humility to continue to wonder what we are feeling around on if the elephants blows its trunk, announcing “I’m an elephant!” The Christian is simply one who knows the elephant has spoken. God has not left us to wonder about who He is. He should have, but He did not because of His astounding grace. This is has relevance to the church as well. To many of us are bowing down to the spirit of the age, sporting a soft-core relativism even within those called out by Christ. Paul never had a problem telling Christians that their doctrine was wrong. This is because it is not arrogant to say someone is wrong. It is not your opinion that is better than theirs. Our personal opinions are often just as bad as anyone elses’. It is God’s word that is right. Imagine me not telling you the cure to a disease that you have. I know what will cure it and without it you will suffer and be hinder you whole life, maybe even dying from it. Am I being arrogant by telling you what is wrong? By no means! This leads us to the last point.
Doctrine is for our good and God’s glory. First, we must care about theology because the glory of God is on the line. When we espouse bad theology, we lie about who God is. God’s character is not up for debate. He is (like He said “I AM.”). God’s name will only be hallowed where He is rightly thought of. God is precise and so we must be!
But theology is for our good. You are robbing yourself of joy when you persist in abhorrent theology. Knowing God rightly produces godly affections for Christ and that produces a holiness of life. The more we behold God in these doctrines, the more we will be transformed into His image. The most sanctified people I know are those most serious about the things of God. They are the least self-righteouss, most gospel-centered people I know. That is because they know something of the weight of who God is. When we don’t care about knowing God, we will not be pushed to glorify Him. We must be forced to ask, “glorify who? And why?”
This is a poorly written article. But I do so to encourage you towards right thinking about God. The Christian life is primarily about believing and beholding, not doing. But your doing will increase the more you know. And I mean really know. There is a difference in knowing honey is sweet and experiencing the fact. Know God. For this is why we were saved: to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. And you cannot enjoy or make much of someone you have no clue about.