Is Theology for Me?
THEOLOGY THURSDAY, Lesson 1
And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
First, what is theology? It’s a pretty broad term, which stated simply, is the study of God. I’ve had several theology books over the years; and after so many moves from place to place, giving away and amassing and giving away, etc., many libraries of books, even the theology books I have on my computer and in my current library are scant in providing a definition. One, however, by the Yale graduate, Baptist pastor, and theologian, Augustus Hopkins Strong, D.D., LL.D., provides this definition right up front in his work:
“Theology is the science of God and the relations between God and the universe.” —A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1; The Judson Press, Philadelphia; 1907, 1953; pg. 1
Moreover, Dr. Strong further defines theology as a science, and being a science, expresses its aim:
“In defining theology as a science, we indicate its aim. Science does not create; it discovers. Theology answers to this description of a science. It discovers facts and relations, but it does not create them.” —ibid., pg. 2
There you have it. Theology is a science, a true science. The science of theology, however, is not merely an academic pursuit to increase our knowledge. For the Christian, it has a place in the faithful believer’s life. Dr. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, explains:
“Every Christian needs to have a sound, true, biblical understanding of God and His truths, and we must never stop growing in our pursuit of that goal…. because it is every Christian’s duty to be a discipler of others…. Sound doctrine is essential to healthy Christian living.” —J. F. MacArthur, The Moody Handbook of Theology; Moody Publishers, Chicago; 1989, 2008, 2014; pgs. 11, 12; (emphasis in original)
There is a problem, however. It existed 150 years ago in Charles Spurgeon’s day. He taught his student’s at the Pastor’s College:
“Ignorance of theology is no rare thing in our pulpits, and the wonder is not that so few men are extempore speakers, but that so many are, when theologians are so scarce. We shall never have great preachers till we have great divines. You cannot build a man-of-war out of a currant bush, nor can great soul-moving preachers be formed out of superficial students. If you would be fluent, that is to say flowing, be filled with all knowledge, and especially with the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord.” —C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Vol. 1, Lecture 10; Robert Carter & Brothers, New York; 1890; pg. 237
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