During youth Bible study on Sunday nights, we have been studying systematic theology. Simply put, that means we take a topic, such as the Trinity or salvation, and study all (or almost all) that the Bible has to say about that particular issue. For some of you, this sounds about as appealing as an enema. It’s too academic, too much like school.
There are many people involved in churches, especially here in the Bible belt, that have no desire to study theology. We, as the church, are often much more concerned with what to do than what to think or believe. This is a serious problem facing the church. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should go to seminary. But we should all take some time and energy to dive deeply into the riches of God’s word with the goal of sharpening our beliefs about Him. For the rest of this post I want to give you a couple of reasons why you and every Christian should be devoted to studying theology.
First, you’re already doing it. Here’s a quote from our church website: Theology is not optional. It can simply be defined as “the study of God and of His relation to the world,” so every single person has theological views. Whether one denies the existence of God (atheism) or believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, we all “do” theology. So the question is not whether you will be a theologian, but what type of theologian will you be? A good or poor one?
Still not catching my drift?
Think about some things that Christians do. We pray. When you bow your head (or however you pray) you are revealing your theology. You are saying by your actions that you believe God is a personal Being that can and does hear your prayers. That is theology. When you read your Bible you are revealing, hopefully, that you believe God to be One who has revealed Himself, and this has further implications for the doctrines of the Holy Spirit, Scripture, etc. Therefore, I repeat: we all do theology. Since we are all doing theology, we might as well be good at it, right? It’s worth our time and energy.
Secondly, it’s absurd to think that we can have a close relationship with God while not caring to know more about Him. I have heard it said, “Just love God and love people, and don’t worry about the rest.” In the context that this phrase was said, it basically means to focus more on deeds and not creeds. This does not line up with the way relationships really work. Imagine that you’re speaking to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse and say, “I really enjoy being with you and care deeply about you, but I don’t really care to know about the details of who you are.” That would be ridiculous. If you care deeply about someone, you want to know all about them. You go stalk their Facebook profile to see their interests. In our relationship with God, we can’t possibly say, “God, I love you, but don’t bother me with the details of who You are and how You work.”
I could give you some more reasons, but I think those should suffice for now. Studying theology is challenging. It will take time and much prayer. But we can’t put a price on knowing more intimately the God who is Creator and Savior. Dive in deeply. Are you ready?