What Theology Is…and what it isn’t

Mirriam-Webster defines theology as follows:

: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

In simple terms, theology is what you believe about God, why you believe it, and how it affects your life.  Everyone “does” theology.  Even an atheist does theology when they reason (erroneously) to themselves that there is no God, and why they believe it, and how being an atheist influences their life.  Obviously, theology isn’t just for the tweed-coat professor crowd, but is an extremely important thing to every Christian.

I recently heard a great analogy concerning theology (in a sermon by Joe Novenson, visit his site HERE) and thought I would share it and comment on it here:  Theology is like the glass in a window.  Imagine yourself in a house overlooking some beautiful and majestic landscape.  From inside the house, you want to clearly see this incredible scene, but if the glass is dirty, you will see very little.  Clean glass, however, will allow you to accurately see the majestic view.  It is dreadfully important that we as Christians scour Scripture daily to learn of our Lord.  We must allow His Word (using sound hermeneutics) to shape our every thought and view regarding our savior and how we are to follow Him.  Theology is the window, so to speak, and His Word cleans the glass so that we can accurately see our majestic Lord and follow Him.

But we must keep in mind that theology is NOT an end unto itself.  I have often met men who are so focused on proper theology and Biblical interpretation, that they have greatly neglected the majestic Lord that all the theology and doctrine is about.  The Christian has been redeemed by the one True & Living God!  Let us not forget this and try to turn Him into a system or dry discussion!  I would suggest one good way of monitoring yourself is to examine your devotional life.  If you spend great amounts of time in theological books, but very little time talking to the One the books are about, you may have a problem.

Theology is necessary, and can even be captivating, but we must take care that it is kept in it’s proper place, that of helping us to see our savior.  We must never let it replace our living God!!

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