Who Needs Theology?

Who Needs Theology?

Why understanding the doctrines of faith is important

A recent nationwide study done by Barna found 49 percent of self-identified Christians believe the Holy Spirit to be a symbol of God’s power, rather than a living entity of the triune God-head.

Another 20 percent mistakenly believe that Jesus Christ sinned during his earthly ministry (“Most Christians Put Christianity on the Shelf”).

Rudimentary doctrines are misunderstood, leaving the Christian in an ignorant position. However, we are not alone.

During the beginning of the Christian church, many struggled with understanding the importance of theology as well. Hebrews 5:11-12 states, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing, for though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food." Hebrews explains the people have become passive in learning more advanced principles of the Christian faith and have remained stagnant. As a result, they must return to their elementary doctrines.

We see this same shortcoming from Hebrews in today’s Christian culture: a growing misconception that milk (basic doctrines) is the only substance a Christian needs, and even fundamental doctrines are misunderstood.

This is a result of the Christian remaining passive in their pursuit of knowing God and seeking His face because they fail to understand the significance of it. In my experience, Christians often avoid difficult theological question, saying that we as Christians are not supposed to have disagreements or that these discussions are pointless because they already love Jesus.

While loving Christ is of the utmost importance, it should not result in deterring the study and understanding of God. After all, should not the love of Christ inspire the Christian to learn what the Scriptures teach (doctrine) about His person and work?

The pursuit of understanding God is theology, hence, it is far from pointless. Christians should have a great yearning to know their Lord through reading the Bible and the comprehension of theological doctrines. In J.I. Packer’s book, Knowing God, he explains the importance of a theological doctrine:

“When you stand on top of Mt. Snowdon in Wales, you see the whole of Snowdonia spread out around you, and you have a wider view. Similarly, when you are on top of the truth of propitiation, you can see the entire Bible in perspective, and you are in a position to take the measure of vital matters which cannot be grasped in any other terms” (191).

While Packer is speaking of a specific theological doctrine, this analogy can be applied to the concept of learning theology. Packer explains that a higher understanding of doctrine allows for the Christian to have a greater perspective, which allows for spiritual growth, as well as greater love for Christ.

Theological doctrines are an indispensable aspect of the Christian faith and every Christian should actively pursue the understanding of theology with the proper motivations, in order that, it can be applied to their spiritual growth.

Christians have a commission to move past the justifying truth of the cross and move towards the sanctifying truths of the knowledge of God, through consideration and application of theology that overwhelms the finite with the infinite.

Cover Image Credit: Red Shoes Funny Shirt

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When God Calls You To Change Your Life Plans, You Go

So what do you do when God calls? You go.

What do you do when God calls?

I have always been a planner. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a majority of my life planned out. The biggest detail I have always been certain of is my education and career. Since I was very young, I have always wanted to be a veterinarian. Maybe want isn't a good word considering I was DEAD SET on being a veterinarian.

That plan was still the same up until this summer, the summer before my junior year of college. I attended two years of community college getting my basics done, and finally, the moment was here to transfer to the school where the really important classes began. Over this summer, I decided to rededicate my life to Christ, and also decided to get baptized. Definitely best decisions of my life, but those moments began a chain of events that led to God changing my plans.

I never really believed in true signs from God. I always noticed that there were things here and there that seemed to point in a direction, but until I really gave my life to Christ, I never believed in Him showing real-life signs. I guess it began when I worked for several vets prior to starting school. As much as I admired them and what they did, I hated my job. I hated the loss. I hated seeing the pain the animals felt. I had breakdowns every time we euthanized an animal.

I couldn't handle it. But I still never saw it as a sign.

Then it continued with a tugging on my emotions that I just couldn't explain. I had just been accepted into a great school, was finally going to be taking the classes I was interested in, and everything was going as planned.

I should have been happy right? But I wasn't.

I would have breakdowns where I just wanted to go home. I would just sit in my apartment and cry. Before school even started, I dropped my pre-vet concentration. I felt a wave of relief. I would just stick with Animal Science because I knew I wasn't supposed to be a vet, but I had to stick with animals right?

Wrong. It wasn't enough.

After a semester of classes as an animal science major, I came home over Christmas break feeling lost and discouraged. But I couldn't change my major. What was I gonna do? I have always known I was gonna work with animals. But God finally got through to me...

Over Christmas break, I resumed some work with a Children's Hospital that I used to do in high school. A charity event, collecting toys for the children stuck in the hospital over the holidays. Then it hit me. The immense joy I experienced from helping those children.

I finally understood. My whole life God was preparing me for this.

Growing up, I never had the cookie cutter injuries most kids get, like a broken arm from playing sports. I was stuck in a gastroenterologist's office in 6th grade because I threw up my food every day and no one knew what was wrong with me. I was blind for 2 months and then had major surgery and stitches in my eye at 15 because a firework exploded in my eye. I have endometriosis that has been removed and keeps coming back.

All of these experiences were so hard because the children my age never understood and usually didn't have to go through these things. But it was God all along. He was molding me into a person who could understand. He was making me a voice for children.

So now I am a child development major. I will graduate with a bachelor's and a certificate in global child advocacy. After I complete my master's degree, I will become a certified child life specialist, which is someone who works in the medical setting and helps the children understand what they are going through, and helps the child and their family cope with it.

Where I am now is a far cry from where I thought I would be. But I have never felt more at peace and happy in my life. God has shown me my purpose. I'm not perfect, not even close, but the moment I allowed myself to follow God's will and get close to Him, my life began to make sense. It might have taken me six months or more to sort through the uncertainty and chaos, but now that I understand it is all worth it. God has a plan for all of us, He only wants us to surrender our worries and follow Him.

So what do you do when God calls? You go.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Lind Moore

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A Thank You Letter To Single Moms, From A Girl Who Was Raised By One

Thank you for all that you do.

Dear Single Moms,

You are the ones who are going at it alone.

The reason you no longer have a teammate is unknown to me. I do not know whether it was abandonment, abuse, death, adultery, an unright fit, or one of the other vastly possible reasons that has caused you to now be raising your child(ren) alone.

This is what I do know:

I know you are the strongest kind of person. You are the superhero that superheroes look up to.

I know you are the most selfless kind of person. You are the ones who are able to put someone else's life above your own.

I know you are the most dedicated kind of person. You are the ones who work at least two jobs, the one paying for groceries and being a solo parent.

I know you are the most compassionate kind of person. You are the ones who are making chicken soup and shouting "Have you been drinking that water I put next to your bed!" during flu season.

I know you are the most versatile kind of person. You are the ones who always know how to do everything right, from fixing a science fair project due the next morning to throwing the perfect surprise birthday party to knowing just what to say during that first broken heart.

I know you are the most loyal kind of person. You are not going anywhere during the toughest of times.

I know you are the cuddliest kind of person. You are the ones whose positivity and love radiate out making you the perfect companion for a cuddle session.

I could keep going forever so I will just conclude with this:

I want to say thank you to all the amazing single mothers out there, you are my role models.

And while one day, if I have children, I hope to have a partner. I also hope to posses half of the outstanding traits you do.

Love,

A Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Stone

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