Theology can look like a frightening word to a people. For some, this phrase evokes images of libraries and stuffy book fans sitting on the library floor studying enormous volumes of work by the like Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics or H. Orton Wiley’s three-volume Systematic Theology. For many others, you picture a college or seminary where professional pastors and prospective professors move, but return to the neighborhood church with larger words and ideas than you can account for on your child’s language arts assignments. And for some, the concept of a scientist sitting in an ivory tower composing and scheming up some new and novel idea just trying to make your life miserable that’s surely unbiblical. Surely, it is not something for the young or inexperienced Christian, and there isn’t any way a frequent person that has been in the religion some time, like you, could grasp or understand it, you hardly get by on Sunday with the sermon and your devotions which don’t necessarily register. For many of you I am confident that you are merely confused in regards to this subject, I have probably met someone the same as you also in a similar boat, and just wondering what’s theology to start with. It’s a great question to ask. The fact that you even ask it shows that you take seriously your connection with God, because this word and it has many subject areas do come up in ways we aren’t always conscious of.
“Theology” is a phrase that’s been used since the 3rd century to mean”speaking about God” or the”science of God.” In and of itself, theology gets in the character and relationship people have with God and what the term”god” means to people. To the Muslim it’s talking about Allah and the teachings of the Quran and the four other sacred books of the Islamic faith. To the Jew It’s Jehovah/YHWH and the keeping of the Law. Both monotheistic traditions believe in a single”God,” but what they think about that”God” is vastly different from Christians. For polytheistic (many god) customs it might mean doing something for one god to prevent the anger of another. For the Deist, it may just be about finding general truths in most customs and living a moral life and going to heaven. Everybody believes different things and that basically is what theology is and aims to talk. It’s talk about God or gods as well as the connection which exists between them and us and us .
Christians, consider their religion. Christian faith is all about both a matter of reflection as well as a consequence of that reflection. One such example of this in practice is that the many beliefs about the Church itself.
For many people the Christian Church should just be a body of believers, while for others they think it ought to be a mixed group. There are certainly other thoughts out there too on the topic. Christian theology however forces us to believe in an orderly manner about the basic ideas of our Christian religion. Theology is, at least to good extent, intellectual reflection on the action, content, and consequences of Christian faith. It’s used to occasionally help communicate an understanding of certain elements of our Christian religion asking things like:
• Where did these different strategies come from?
• What difference or impact is made to the work of Christian living?
Christian theology is all about trying to understand why the Christian Church is dedicated to ideas that seem complex and, occasionally, somewhat implausible. When we examine the question of what’s theology, we might consider such difficult concepts about the relationship of Jesus Christ humanity and divinity. Christians affirm that Jesus is both 100% human and 100% divine, but a few may ask why state this when it’s easier to say that Jesus is truly human. Theology answers these challenges and provides voice to not just what we think, but why we believe it.
Can Theology Only Make Faith Unnecessarily Complicated?
After answering the question of”what’s theology” it isn’t unusual to hear a question about theology making religion unnecessarily complicated. And, I feel that concern is warranted, but to an extent. I often find it useful to recall what Anselm of Canterbury said on the topic of theology, and that it is”faith seeking understanding.”
As I mentioned in sections above, Christianity thinks about its religion. We make various claims about God and what we are educated and read about God and the connection we have with God. However, we’re also people that are interested and have questions, occasionally concerns about divorce and remarriage or infant baptism. In essence we say and profess something, but today we answer the why aspect of it. It would seem easy to just say well the Bible says xyz about divorce, but what about sexual or psychological abuse that leads you to exit a union? The solution on this matter gets somewhat more complicated, because today contextual components are needed not only from the Bible’s teaching about marriage and divorce, but it’s teachings on violence and the responsibility of care spouses have into the union and how those cultures where the biblical writers write approaches and professional things. Occasionally, you will need to appear at ancient Christian and other writings of the time to learn what was happening and then approach the matter by an educated opinion with a set or recommendations and motives. This is placing theology into practice, it is an area called Biblical Theology which gets involved with matters of hermeneutics and exegesis and other elements of biblical literature and research.
Another factor in answering the matter of the being complex is that Christians do experience non-Christians. Sometimes non-Christians want to know more about the Christian faith and understanding more about it. Maybe they are interested or not sure about what they think. Perhaps their parents never highlighted the importance of faith growing up and they feel like they are missing out. Or maybe you’re in a school course debating atheism. Simply stating that”because the Bible says so” is not likely to fly in these circumstances. In actuality, for the curious or agnostic they might simply believe and think that Christians worship a book as opposed to an all-powerful God who actually existed. They would require some history on why the Bible is important rather than merely a book or ethical teachings and sayings. Theology offers people in such situations an explanation of Christian religion and it helps people understand why Christians disagree on particular points of importance like baptism by immersion or by sprinkling.
Perhaps the most compelling reason regarding the value of theology and to do it even though it appears complex is the discipleship of the mind. Deut. The Apostle Paul makes an appeal to us in Romans 12:1-2 concerning the significance of the renewal and transformation of our thoughts onto the things of God so we might worship God correctly and follow God’s will. When we participate in theology at the contemplation of the action and being of our religion we’re getting a peek at the inner dynamic of a life of religion and its own desire to know what is considered.
Other Advantages of Theology
Needless to say, there are different aspects of participating in theology for the everyday Christian. One such case is that it provides you a deeper individual enrichment and appreciation of one’s faith. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Christian parties and time I have spent with different members of the household of God is in celebration and contemplation of ideas for engaging others for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Another advantage is that there will be a type of excitement that comes when one wrestles with God. Augustine once exclaimed this idea in saying that theology was and eros of their mind. Anyone acquainted with Greek as well as the words for”love” or even knowledgeable about human intimacy, will know that this is where the expression sensual stems from. Theology is an erotic feeling that engages us with our Creator. It is”a feeling of longing to know more about God’s character and ways.”
And finally, the most significant advantage of theology that I can imagine is that it’s a transformative effect on people’s lives. This occurs not just to us as we grow and learn, but in addition it is foundational to why we do things. It is at the heart of Christian outreach and social services which are conducted in certain manners. It is about saying that there’s a God who loves others and requires us to be His hands and feet in a hurting and lost world.