Many modern believers seem allergic to words like “theology” and “doctrine.” Buying into misguided notions from popular culture, they assume that learning isn’t an important part of their spiritual journey. It’s ironic that an increase in knowledge in science and other disciplines has been accompanied by a deemphasis on knowledge by many evangelic Christians.
I’ll never forget an occasion on which a mother chastised me for allowing our youth pastor to teach on the book of Genesis. She reasoned that such material was too deep for kids. It seemed strange that she wanted her son to be enrolled in AP classes at school, but she didn’t want him to go deep in his knowledge of God’s Word. Christians have been rocked to sleep by the lies of the Devil. They have allowed the world to relegate the truth of Christ to the realms of non-important nonsense, believing that secular matters are serious and spiritual matters are purely subjective. If the church wants to experience a revival in twenty-first century America, it needs a return to truth. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Consider three reasons believers shouldn’t shy away from the study of Christ’s truth.
Everybody is a theologian.
The word “theology” simply speaks of “the study of God.” Everyone has a set of beliefs about God, hence everyone is a theologian. Did you know that an atheist is a theologian? He or she has a determined belief concerning the Divine — the belief that God doesn’t exist. Don’t believe the lie that theology is unimportant. Everyone is a theologian.
God wants you to be a theologian.
Did you know that Jesus prayed for you shortly before His crucifixion? John 17 records how Jesus asked the Father that His disciples would grow in knowledge. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Don’t fall prey to the spirit of religious entertainment that is plaguing the modern church, thinking that the study of God’s Word is useless. God wants you to be a theologian.
Your theology will set the course of your life.
Belief determines behavior. It’s a fact of life. One’s doctrine will alter one’s direction. I think of two men who encountered Jesus. They cried, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” Because they believed Jesus was of Messianic lineage, they boldly asked Him for help. What you believe about God will affect your actions and attitudes. It will dictate your decisions and program your priorities. Don’t think that what you believe isn’t important.
Good theology will help you.
At best, life is hard. It’s even harder when we believe lies about God. If we are grounded in His truth, we will be better equipped to face the difficulties and demands of life. After teaching His disciples on one occasion, Jesus said, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” Don’t believe the worn out lie that what you believe about God is of little significance. True contentment comes our way when we know the truth of God and live our lives in accordance with its principles!
Dr. Patrick Latham