“Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ since 2005, I’ve talked to a variety of people regarding the subject of Christian theology (or biblical theology). I have found the general consensus to be that the average church goer could typically care less about the teaching of the bible, unless it relates to some specific application they want direction on (biblical principles on finances, raising your children according to God, Christian marriage, etc.). Studying the bible strictly for knowing what it says, and what it means, seems to be a foreign notion to many. In our western culture the majority of church goers think of theology as something that has no bearing on practical living, and is reserved strictly for academia. That could not be further from the truth.
Before I continue on this train of thought, it’s important for me to define what I mean by “theology”. Theology means nothing more than the study of God. So for a believer to say that theology is irrelevant is to say that God is irrelevant. I believe, however, that people just have a faulty idea of what theology really entails. This is probably largely due to theological showoffs. There are several people in the world of academia that can turn a simple message on the mercy of God into some hyper-intellectual presentation using jargon that they don’t even understand. That’s just a tactic that insecure people use to try to look superior to others because of their “great knowledge”. This, unfortunately, paints a false picture for the newly converted believer that the bible is just too hard to understand for themselves. That is not true.
The purpose of theology is so that we can do what the prophet Jeremiah instructed us to do. The more we know about God and understand Him, the more we build our relationship with Him. The true purpose of theology is to teach us about God and His dealings with mankind, and to allow those teachings to satisfy our souls. People often have a shaky view of God because they have shaky theology, and consequently they live shaky spiritual lives without truly experiencing God the way He intended us to.
“Worship without theology is sentimental and weak; theology without worship is cold and dead. Worship and theology together combine to motivate a strong Christian faith and to empower a fruitful Christian life.”
Franklin Segler, Christian Worship – Its Theology and Practice“