Monday, November 3, 2008

Everyone is a Theologian

A prestigious biology professor once told his class during the introduction to his discussion of evolution:

“As we enter this hotly debated topic, it is important to understand that both the theory of evolution as well as that of creationism is based on the same premise – faith. As a biologist, I choose to put my faith in the theory of evolution. Others choose to put their faith in a creator. But both of us are people of faith.”

Although I disagreed with his personal conclusion, I had a tremendous amount of respect for his willingness to establish the fact that we are all people of faith. Even the agnostic must exhibit faith to conclude that there is no God.
In a similar way, we are all theologians. Buddhists, agnostics, Muslims and Christians alike. Each person, in his own way has contemplated the things of God and drawn certain conclusions. So the question is not whether you are a theologian or not - that fact is universal. The more important question is what kind of theologian are you?
The most distinctive characteristic of Christian theology, in comparison to other forms of theology, is the source of our understanding of God. In our case, it is the Bible. I love what Chip Ingram says he writes in his book God: As He Longs for You to See Him:

“He (God) has taken several millennia, inspired hundreds of pages of scripture, and gone through a traumatic incarnation to paint an accurate portrait of Himself. He obviously cares what we think about Him. He wants us to see Him clearly, attribute by amazing attribute.”

How have you developed your image of God? Is it based on what the preacher said? Did you read a good book or an article from a magazine? Maybe you have formed your conclusions on a starlit night or a glorious sunrise in the morning. Perhaps you choose to know Him by experiencing Him through quiet thoughts and meditation. All these can be used by God but none of them should ever substitute for His revelation in scripture. All things are subordinate to His word and only serve to support what He has gone to great lengths to reveal to us in scripture.
This brings us to the other distinction of Christian Theology. Our pursuit if knowing God through the truth of His word is not simply an intellectual exercise. It’s not enough to know about Him. Created within us is an innate desire for deep, meaningful fellowship with God. The truth of His word leads us to this relationship. Thus our theology is not only biblical, it is also relational. What we know about God shapes our relationship with Him and not only that, what we learn about how God sees us determines how close we grow toward Him.
And each of these truths, the biblical and relational foundations of our theology, leads us to stability amidst the chaos. Let’s face it…chances are, the times we face in the future will be more difficult than those we have faced in the past. Philosophy, science, politics and the relativism of our modern society have individually and collectively offered solutions to our current plight. What is one to believe? How do we persevere and stand firm against the devil and his schemes? There are many voices we could listen to but only one voice that is trustworthy, reliable and the same yesterday, today and forever. The voice of God in the revelation of His word.

So let’s back in to this. How is the anxiety in your heart? Do you experience fear and concern? Take time to consider what God says about His protection and provision: Ps. 55:22, Jer. 17:7-8, Mt. 6:26-34, Luke 12:22-32.

Since He created us for a relationship with Him - a closeness, love and friendship – are you experiencing that promise? If not, perhaps you should consider: Job 7:17, Ps. 103:13, Jer. 31:3, Jn. 14;21, Rom 5:8, 2 Thess 2:16.

Finally, when is the last time you spent time in his word. Not in order to know about Him but to know Him and be known by Him. Here are a few to get you started: Prov. 30:5, John, 20:31, Rom 15:4, 1Peter 3:15, 2Tim 3:15-17

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