Saturday, February 16, 2008

Who Needs Theology?

I just finished a 2-day adventure of reading Who Needs Theology? (by Grenz & Olson) and writing a 500 word response on it. As expressed in a previous post, the study of theology is not exactly what my little heart desires. When I expressed to my professor that I was having a difficult time finding the purpose of studying theology in my own life, his response was:
I don't know why anyone else studies theology but I study theology because I am a person of faith. I cannot help but study theology because I want to know God, since theology is the study of God.
Ouch. Actually, it was pretty profound & humbling to me.

Before reading this particular book I was hesitant to study theology formally. Through personal experience I have seen many Christians begin to doubt their faith and even walk away from it as they study theology further, developing many unanswerable questions. However, after reading this book I have come to agree with the authors in that the reality of studying theology, or the study of God himself, is for the purpose of glorifying God in all that we are and do. They are not quick to deny the dangers of theological study. I believe it is important for any Christian studying theology, either formally or informally, to study in a spirit of humility and for the purpose of application (as opposed to mere knowledge). Instructions on how to practically apply the study of theology to one’s life are found later in the book, but I would like to read more about how to avoid theology as a negative partner to Christian living. Perhaps this cannot be done, as each life is specific and unique.

After thoroughly and thoughtfully considering the words of these authors, I have been deeply encouraged and spurred on to study theology proactively. While dangers still prevail, I have learned that we must approach the discipline of theology in a Christ-like manner, having a humble and teachable heart. The purpose of studying Christian theology is to better understand our Creator, and ultimately, that we might respond in a spirit of worship. Jesus tells the woman at the well that “...the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” I believe that the study of Christian theology leads one to the truths in which we are able to rightfully worship God.

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