Do We Really Need Theology?

21 06 2008

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was feeling a bit burned out by the study of doctrine.  He explained that he didn’t see the point in it and had never really liked “theoretical stuff” but just wanted to “do ministry.”  We had a good discussion and the point that I tried to stress with him was that we all have a theology that drives our practice- the question is if our theology is any good or not.  Later that day, I came across this quote in some reading I was doing and thought it really hit the nail on the head.  I hope it encourages us all to persevere in the pursuit of knowing our glorious God!

Every Christian is a theologian.  We are always engaged in the activity of learning about the things of God.  We are not all theologians in the professional or academic sense, but theologians we are, for better or worse.  The ‘for worse’ is no small matter. Second Peter warns that heresies are destructive to the people of God and are blasphemies committed against God.  They are destructive because theology touches every dimension of our lives.

The Bible declares that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he… those ideas that do grasp us in our innermost parts, are the ideas that shape our lives.  We are what we think.  When, however, our thoughts are corrupted, our lives will follow suit.

We all know that people can recite the creeds flawlessly and make A’s in theology courses while living godless lives.  We can affirm a sound theology and live an unsound life.  Sound theology is not enough to live a godly life.  But it is still a requisite for godly living.  How can we do the truth without first understanding what the truth is?

No Christian can avoid theology.  Every Christian has a theology.  The issue, then, is not, do we want to have a theology?  That’s a given.  The real issue is, do we have a sound theology?
(R. C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)

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