In my first philosophy class, Dr. Wiley Richards said something to the effect of, “Everyone is a philosopher. Everyone thinks. Thus everyone is a philosopher.” Some believe theology to be an academic study better left to the seminary or trained pastor. Theology, at it’s simplest, revolves around our thoughts about God. Therefore, you’re a theologian too!
I’ve had conversations with people who say, “I don’t want to think, Just tell me what to do.” Underneath their comment are two underlying beliefs. First, they think theology is not practical. Granted there are many people who see theology as impractical, but that doesn’t mean they are not a theologian. It simply means they are a bad theologian. Second, they don’t want to engage in the mental effort deep thinking often requires. Perhaps they’d rather be entertained, perhaps they prefer a simple emotional experience in worship or maybe they’re like myself and have a deep desire for the pragmatic.
Consider the following:
- “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37
- “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” – Isaiah 26:5
- “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
There’s little doubt that our minds play a big role in our worship of God. What we think about God greatly impacts how we see the world. Theology influences our understanding, attitude, choice, and action. If theology is anything, it is practical. It is emotional. Theology impacts life. Here are three practical results of sound theology.
- Theology validates spiritual experience. Strong theology becomes a grid whereby God’s people can validate their worship and knowledge of God as truth (2 John 4).
- Theology encourages personal holiness. Knowing God deeply and accurately should motivate believers to “live in a manner worthy of their calling” (Eph. 4:1). See also: Colossians 1:9-12.
- Theology strengthens church vitality and health. Glenn Daman wrote, “A church will only be as effective as its theology, for its theology determines its ministries, governs its agenda, influences the transformation of people, and motivates people for action…The ultimate task of the church is to bring people into communion with God. For this to happen we must know who God is, and coming to know God is what theology is all about.”