No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones.
— Dr. R.C. Sproul, Everyone’s a Theologian
It seems that there is a study for everything whether it be the mind, the creation, politics, etc. We tend to strive for education, and even those who don’t still try to gain a skill to some degree… even though that skill is… being lazy. Nevertheless, everyone wants to know about something, and everyone wants to always push themselves in their studies. The same should be the case for a Christian.
Christians are people who are saved by grace and adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ. They follow the path of sanctification, having been justified by faith, and having been sealed with the Holy Spirit. Yes! Salvation is a wonderful thing, and the most miraculous work of God that could ever happen to an individual. We ought to know this to be truth, but why? Was it because it is inherently known?
Proverbs 2:6 (ESV) says this, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” It is interesting that what so many Christians take for granted, is actually a gift from God. Coming to know God and His works, all comes from Him. God actually wants His people to come to know Him more. He wants us to learn about things such as soteriology (how we got saved), Christology (the person of Christ and His work), eschatology (final destiny of mankind, both physically and spiritually), etc. But how can we learn more?
The simple answer is this: to be true followers of Christ, we must become dedicated students of theology under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Theology is actually very important to the life of a Christian. Earlier I mentioned who Christians are. I gave a clear definition of who true Christians are, but I didn’t make up this definition. I formulated my belief through studying the Bible, reading through the writings of theologians, and listening to godly men preach the gospel. There was no way I could’ve told you what true Christianity based on my intuition, for my intuition can’t possibly know the things of God. The only way to know God is to study His Word.
I’ve met countless people who say that theology is not important as long as you are simply a good Christian. The only problem with that statement is that the only way to be a good Christian is to have biblically sound doctrine and theology. However, I also agree that if there is no love or guidance of the Holy Spirit, then theology becomes meaningless. Shai Linne once said, “If we have theology without doxology [praise to God], we have dead orthodoxy. If we have doxology without theology, we have idolatry.”
So, there must be both theology and doxology. It is not one or the other. Christianity is not simply a mind or emotion faith, but both. However, many people believe that theology kills emotion, but that is not actually the case. One of my favorite things that was ever said about theology was from Dr. J.I. Packer, a great (and orthodox) Anglican theologian, and he said, “Proper theology leads to proper doxology.” Knowing more about God will do good for a Christian, especially since a born-again Christian should actually have the desire to do so.
Can any Christian seriously say that they know everything there is to know about God? It’s impossible. Christianity doesn’t stop at conversion. Christianity is about having a loving relationship with God that is unique from the relationship God has with the world. I can open my Bible expecting to learn something new, I can lift my voice in my prayer expecting a new spiritual strength and awakening, and I can hear a sermon led by the Holy Spirit expecting serious conviction.
I am content with the fact that my finite mind will never reach the full knowledge that many crave for. I like that I can’t know everything because that actually makes me more dependent on God. Having the knowledge of how little I know (and always continue to know very little), makes me have more sheer awe at the all-powerful and all-knowing God. He is truly someone that I could spend my whole life learning about, and it would not be a wasted life. May we all strive to grow in our understanding of who God is, and may we seek it for the purpose of glorifying Him. Do so with the help of God the Holy Spirit; He will help you.
Soli Deo Gloria.