Posts Tagged ‘theology’

Often the idea of theology or doctrine brings to mind really thick and dusty books along with old stuffy professors using big words that no one knows. It sounds boring and pretty much pointless to the day to day life of ordinary folks.

But is this true? Or can theology and right doctrine actually be a means by which we stir up our affections for the Lord and deepen our relationship with Christ?

You don’t talk about politics and religion in polite company. That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. The idea being that these are such devisive topics that it will quicly turn impolite. However, I would say that to never consider or discuss such important, life-affecting issues with at least close friends and family may be downright rude. Of course, if opinions were money I would be both wealthy and generous.

I once had a systematic theology book given to me titled “Practical Theology”. It was sitting on my coffee table, and a friend commented something like “‘Practical Theology’, isn’t that a contradiction?” I was floored. This was by no means a dimwitted, shallow-minded, surface-level thinker. She was the sort to think things through and not shy from tough issues. So hearing her claim that a person’s thoughts on God had no practical purpose was astonishing. Once I unleashed a rant on her stating the error of her ways (maybe not the wisest approach), she did back track a little and conceded some, but still, this has rolled around in my brain for years now.

However, I am understanding more and more where this idea comes from. We live in a bizaar type of cultural skitzophrenia where we buy into both naturalism and relativism at the same time.

Naturalism, usually taught through public education, claims that only what can be observed in the physical world is real and (in most cases) denies any non-natural, super-natural or metaphysical explanations of things. If such things do exist they are perceived as irrelevant.

Relativism on the other hand, usually gained through media/entertainment, is all about experience and feelings, claiming that we can’t really know anything for sure so everything is true/good/etc. as long as we believe it is.

So we are trained in school that supernatural things don’t matter (if they even exist), and trained by pop-culture to go with what we feel. “So God, if He even exists, is not something I feel like thinking about (you know with the judgment and morality thing), so therefore it doesn’t matter because I choose what is important for me … and besides I can’t see Him anyway, if He’s even real.”

Is it any wonder that even more deeply thinking people would consider the study of God as an impractical pursuit?

One of my favorite quotes is from AW Tozer in “Knowledge of the Holy” where he explains, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us,” and “because we are the handiwork of God, it follows that all our problems and their solutions are theological.”

There is no more practical question for human beings than what we believe about God, who He is, and who we are related to Him. That understanding will shape every other belief, choice and aspect of our lives. However, since He is both outside of nature and absolutely objective, this runs against the grain of both the naturalism and the relativism in which we culturally walk daily.

Our culture screams at us to not worry about or not waste our time with seeking God or thinking about theological things, meanwhile our heart whispers to us that we were made for something more than this world has to offer. As CS Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

With that in mind, knowledge of God and related things (theology) becomes the most practical thing in our lives. That being the case, how could we NOT discuss this with others?