Why We Must Be Theology-Loving Christians

“I don’t really get into ‘theology’ or ‘doctrine.’ I mean, I love Jesus. That’s really all that matters.”

Have you heard this? Have you said it? The opposition to theology has caused a great number of problems in the Church. Maybe it’s that our terms have not been defined or understood. But theology informs all our decisions and thus, our whole direction in life. Theology matters because theology tells us how to live.

Theology is the study of the nature of God and truth. It’s not just a cursory glance, but a delving in that shapes our life choices.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5

“Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live…You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood.” Psalm 119:116-118

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Hosea 4:6

We must make the Word of God, from where our theology is formed, absolute priority in our homes. We must read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and let it encompass our lives. Too often the Bible is something from which we enjoy cherry-picking pretty verses that make us feel happy at just the time we’re discouraged. And it can do just that.

But if we view His Word only as a book from which to draw out a few verses now and then to satisfy us in a particular problem, we have largely overlooked its meaning and power in our lives. It is, in its entirety, for our “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16) to equip us for all of life.

We learn how to respond, think and act like Christians by studying Christ and the character of God throughout His Word, by understanding His holiness which leads us to pursue holiness. We learn about salvation and God’s plan for mankind and how His ways are not our ways. And if we are willing to look and study long enough, we might find we have to let die some strong elements of wrong theology we were taught since childhood.

Theology protects us from the danger of following our feelings.

Essentially, true followers of Christ will seek to know more and more about the nature, thoughts and wisdom of the One whom they serve. They want to know truth. True Christians will seek theology, not just what seems or feels right to them.

We ought to be poring over His Word ourselves, and passing that thirst onto our children, making it one of our top priorities. Whatever effort you are placing on math or English or science, I would encourage you to double that effort teaching God’s Word.

Take every problem, question and concern to His Word. It speaks to every area of life and it is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Love theology. Don’t be afraid it.

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49 Responses to “Why We Must Be Theology-Loving Christians”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I believe it is of UTMOST importance that we be well-versed in Theology. Knowing God’s Word up, down, sideways and backwards makes it a lot harder for it to be used against us – both by those outside the Church who seek to make us doubt and falter, and by those within the Church who seek to twist the Law to suit their own purposes.

    • Jay says:

      I completely agree.

      Also, in our own homes – if we are not sure in our theology, when our children ask us questions about the bible, and WE don’t know, then our children will be discouraged. It isn’t enough to encourage them to love God and Jesus, without demonstrating WHY we love them. They will see right through us….

  2. Candace says:

    YES! YES! Couldn’t agree more!

  3. Jerilyn says:

    Thank you for addressing this, Kelly! I couldn’t agree more. Oh, how I long for fellowship with women who understand theology and doctrine beyond what the (usually doctrinally challenged) latest Christian mega best seller is. My driving desire these days is to raise my sons with a deep knowledge of the character and nature of God, and the whole counsel of scripture. We will study hermeneutics as well, so that they can be husbands equipped to teach their wives and children. Hopefully this will bear much fruit for the kingdom……it is God who provides the increase 🙂

  4. Cindy says:

    People who say they don’t do theology but they live Jesus are like the people who say they aren’t interested in politics, but they vote. They decide and act in ignorance, then brag about the mess they make of it by claiming to be “independent” in a way that the studious are not.

  5. Cindy says:

    Love. Not live. I do hate this keyboard.

  6. Ginger says:

    I think it’s a strong indication of the weak teaching they are getting in the church they attend. Without solid biblical teaching, one doesn’t develop discernment or understand the very basic meaning of theology/doctrine. I experienced that for many years and it’s spiritual malnourishment. You may go on living, but not growing and thriving.

  7. Keri says:

    I Completely agree with you on all of what you said here. I suppose what I don’t understand is why you share that video “Unmarried Video”. I know it’s your blog. You can share it. I have watched the trailer. It seems to be very gloom and doom. I won’t pay to get it. I know we have discussed this before. I am also aware that these men have families and love them That’s not the issue here. The issue here is just what you said in the last post. I hope that people will truly be in the word and discerning when it comes to the types of teaching of men’s opinions.

    • Ginger says:

      Where are you seeing this video? I’ve looked up and down the sidebar and don’t see a video anywhere. Now you’ve got me curious! 😉

    • Keri,

      I don’t see how a video that addresses a problem in the church, complete with possible solutions, is contrary to a post on theology. In fact, it’s a poor theology that gets us to the problem-places in the first place.

    • Perhaps if you paid to get it, you would see its positive side. That’s the point of a trailer. To help you want to find the answers of the problem presented.

      • Keri says:

        To be completely honest, the trailer creeps me out. I’m sorry. I think it has every thing to do with it. I don’t see this teaching as theology Kelly. I don’t honestly see how you can!

        • Keri,

          If we are to have a discussion that is fruitful at all, you have to respond to things I actually say. I said nothing about the film being “teaching on theology.” I said I don’t see how the film is contrary to the idea presented in this post. And you haven’t yet made that connection either. I believe it’s important to study God’s Word (theology). I believe that the church’s mainstream ideas about delaying marriage is not good. Those two things can most definitely abide one another.

          • Keri says:

            I thought I did respond to things you said. I would also like it to be fruitful and without sarcasm. What I am really trying to say here is that I thought the post on Theology was really good. I completely agree! Part of the shaping of our theology are things we watch and read. This is why I brought up the video.

            I also believe that God’s word has a lot to say about marraige. I’m Baptist. I have a lot of friends from different denominations. We all read the same Bible. I can honestly say that I’ve not seen anyone with this kind of teaching in other denominations besides Reformed. I’m sorry. Not meaning to hurt anyone but I just don’t understand the obsession with this train of thought.

              • Keri says:

                Those are honestly some of the most worldly articles on the subject that I’ve ever seen written! Nothing shows up on the last one. I’m disappointed.

                • You posted your last comment not 8 minutes after I posted the list of articles. How could you have ascertained in that time how “worldly” they were? And that was part of my point. Which is it: only reformed people talk about this (the first assertion you made) or it’s everywhere (worldly)?

                  I fixed the last link.

                  • Keri says:

                    I had read them. Thanks for sharing that last page. I don’t have a blog but I do have a facebook page called ” A Faith From the Heart” where I have talked about this subject and shared scripture. It’s a closed group but if you would be interested in reading it, let me know. I would be happy to invite you.I think you would completely understand what I’m trying to say. Let me know. Actually I may have to have you on facebook first.

            • 6 arrows says:

              Hello Keri,

              I’m curious about something you said. This: “I also believe that God’s word has a lot to say about marraige [sic]. I’m Baptist. I have a lot of friends from different denominations. We all read the same Bible. I can honestly say that I’ve not seen anyone with this kind of teaching in other denominations besides Reformed.”

              Are you implying that encouraging early marriage is not a Biblical concept because you don’t think any of the Bible-believing Christians you know outside of Reformed denominations are being taught that? Since when do we base our theology on how many other Christians we know believe a certain way?

              I hope you don’t feel you’ve arrived at the truth just because you and your friends have never been taught and/or believed a particular way on any issue. That is not only poor theology, it is dangerous.

              • Keri says:

                No. I wasn’t implying any of that.

                • 6 arrows says:

                  Then why mention that your friends are not receiving teaching on early marriage, as if that information is integral to this discussion on developing a sound theology? Your bringing up your friends muddies the waters; it makes it seem as if you are trying to strengthen your argument that the early-marriage train of thought is an “obsession.” You know — the strength-in-numbers argument. “None of my many friends has been taught this; therefore, the teaching must be suspect…”

                  Inspired Scripture is our Source for all truth. What our friends and/or people in other denominations believe is peripheral to a theological discussion. You believe God’s Word has a lot to say about marriage, Keri? Then share some Scriptures! Please don’t use your opinion and your experience with your friends as the sole basis for a theological discussion, failing to back up your statements with Scripture.

                  • Keri says:

                    6 arrows, If you would like to share scriptures that advocate for early marriage I would love to know because I haven’t found them. It’s pretty much just as easy to look up the will of God and trusting him. I’m sure you can find them as easy as I can.

                    • 6 arrows says:

                      Keri,

                      Let me start out by saying this: I want to be clear that I don’t believe there is a command in the Bible that says we *must* marry young. However, I do believe there is a very compelling reason for early marriage versus delayed marriage.

                      1 Corinthians 7:9. “But if they [the unmarried and widows] cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

                      How many brides and grooms these days are walking down the aisle, their purity (both physical and emotional) fully intact? For that matter, how many of our generation had never given away parts of our sexuality to others who did not become our spouses, or even only to our own spouses, but before we were married to each other?

                      God’s gift of the sex drive, meant to honor Him inside marriage, has been used dishonorably, outside of the bonds of marriage, because many of us did indeed “burn” long before we tied the knot.

                      And now, more than ever, our young people are being encouraged to prepare for their college education, for their eventual career, long before we think marriage should even be on their radar.

                      Does all this other preparing for adulthood stop them from burning with sexual lust? We can’t count on that to always be the case. On the contrary, for the first time in the history of our culture, women are, on average, having their first baby at a younger age than they are getting married for the first time. Obviously, this waiting to get married is doing a lot of damage to a lot of people, sexually speaking.

                      What about young males and pornography? I haven’t researched the statistics on this (anyone who has, feel free to share), but I would imagine delayed marriage could be leading to an increase in pornography use, too.

                      I am not saying that it is impossible to keep pure when marriage is delayed (for any reason, whether by choice or by unavoidable circumstance), nor am I making any assumptions about anyone who is currently single.

                      But when the Bible explicitly states, “It is better to marry than to burn,” then it makes sense to encourage early marriage, before our young people begin to burn and succumb to the temptation to express themselves sexually outside of holy matrimony.

  8. Keri says:

    Ginger, if you scroll down a couple of posts you will see it.

  9. Ginger,

    She’s referencing the new “Unmarried” documentary that takes a look at the increasing problem of singleness in the church and why it’s a problem (with an encouraging look at some solutions) you can see here: http://www.unmarriedmovie.com/

  10. Lady in Carolina says:

    How do YOU answer the questions “why do you believe in a God?”, “why do you believe in 1 God?”, “why do you believe the bible is the word of God?”, “why do you follow Christ verses other religions? “?

    • LIC,

      His irresistible grace drew me to Him, and the eyes of my heart were opened to see. I have lived to witness that the Bible is true. From its prophecies that have all come true to its living power in my life. The Bible once documented a man, an enemy of Christ saying, “Leave them (apostles) alone. If this man (Jesus) is false, they will die away and be forgotten. If He is the true God, no power on earth will stop Him.” (Paraphrased)

      With centuries of persecution, Christianity has only continued to grow. Its force if far more powerful than man could concoct.

  11. Lady in Carolina says:

    It is more Philosophy than Theology I suppose. However I do know there are counter arguments. Such others feel drawn to their religions. Or do not feel drawn to any thing. And other religions are older or larger (Islam is the largest I think). Or Eastern beliefs have those that witnessed miracles and such. don’t actually want to debate this but I know these arguments are out there. I will be honest, I don’t know how to answer. And future generations will also be asked these questions. So it is important to not shy away from them. If in the future you are looking for homeschool topics to blog about. Perhaps you could consider “Why I believe in God”.

  12. Chelsea says:

    I completely agree with your post! Thanks for putting it into such clear words!
    I’ve been having a “theology struggle” lately–when talking with other Christians with different theology, it almost seems like we’re talking about different religions! Theology varies so much! How do you know which view is correct? Do you have any resources that would helpful to study up on?

    • I don’t want to jump into Kelly’s shoes here (and she and I come from different theological platforms), but I just wanted to say I can really relate to your struggle, Chelsea. It’s something that I struggled with for years after I experienced a conversion at age 18. I would suggest that you really study the Scriptures. During my own discernment, I was really tempted to find other resources, books by folks that I might be able to trust to explain it all and make up my mind for me, but to make a long story short, it was fruitless. That was because there were so many resources written by so many knowledgeable bible scholars that all disagreed with each other! Scripture, read with an openness to the guiding of the Spirit, is the only thing that finally led me to a faith home where I now have a firm theology. God bless you as you seek His teachings.

    • Bethany gives wise counsel. As for our family, we completely switched our theology from an Arminian view to Calvinist. I had never been shown, from Scripture, the doctrines of grace the reformed church teaches. Now that I have, it makes so much sense and is to me, more biblically accurate.

      • Chelsea says:

        I go to a reformed church that Calvinism is taught at as well. Yes, I think that the important thing is just to stick as closely to scriptures as possible! (Of course then you always have people debating which translations are right, which could also change your whole theological viewpoint. Ugggg–always a battle, huh? 😉 )

      • 6 arrows says:

        Hmmm…not intending to start a theological war, but I had heard from other Bible-believing members of my denomination that there are errors in Reformed theology. However, I never asked what they were, and I don’t remember that anyone clearly explained them, either.

        So I went looking for some information, as I believe it’s good to know something of what others believe. The following link is quite extensive if you click on all the “Next” arrows at the bottom of the pages until you get to the end. http://www.salembible.org/biblestudies/issues/reformed/reformed_theo_intro.htm

        Anyway, I mainly read the headings, and skimmed most of the accompanying thoughts. I’ll admit to not having time to do an in-depth study of reformed theology at this time, and I recognize that people who write about others’ beliefs don’t always accurately represent those others’ beliefs.

        And I don’t expect you to take the time to read the link (especially in its entirety), Kelly, but if you or anyone here wishes to explain your theology more, and/or affirm or refute the article I linked, and how those beliefs line up with Scripture, I would be interested to know. Especially since the article is entitled, “The Dangers of Reformed Theology”!

        (I also acknowledge the possibility that there may be variations in beliefs under the big “Reformed” umbrella, as there are under Presbyterianism, or Lutheranism, or what have you — some being more liberal, some more conservative.)

        Finally, I’ll also say that I don’t believe everything my denomination teaches is correct, but those are on lesser issues, and I believe they’ve got the important doctrinal issues right.

        All this to say that Scripture is our source of truth, and we all need to be good Bereans, searching the scripture daily to see whether what we are being taught is true.

  13. There’s a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that says, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Couldn’t agree more – theology matters.

  14. Keri says:

    6 Arrows, Yes my friend..I understand and agree with where you are coming from. I wish there was some way I could share with you what I’ve written on my facebook page. I will do my best to explain here. I won’t take up the space here writing out the verses on trusting God and the providence of God. They are easy to look up. I completely agree with you that the world and the church look at marriage and say you have to have all ” your ducks” in a row before you marry. It’s crazy – I know. My son was engaged to be married to a young lady from our church. They dated for 15 months before he proposed.Her family is from Germany so when they moved over here she put herself a year behind in high school because of the English factor. They went out her entire senior year and three months later, he proposed. They were both very excited. Both of our families were very close to each other. She didn’t set a date right away( we thought maybe it was a cultural thing). We even took her on our vacation with us…without him because he was working. She seemed very mature and ready for marraige. Something obviously began to change in her heart. There were other factors in her life that I won’t go into to.They never had a big fight to end it.By the time she sat down with me to talk to me I was stunned. I asked her a lot of questions( found out later she didn’t like that) but at least I got my answers. Some of the things she told me- she could not serve God and be a wife and mother. You almost had to pick me up off the floor! Other things too but I won’t go there. This all coming from someone who seemed very mature in the Lord! Someone who also was very excited to serve God with my son.Like I said, there were also some other factors with her family. Three months later she left for a small Christian college. They were done after two years. It took a while for my son to tell me it all. Sometimes people are not who they seem to be. We think that is Not the way it’s supposed tho be in the “Christian World” but it happens. Life is messy sometimes.People sometimes hurt you.We still know plenty of good people and my son is not bitter. I can clearly see how God protected him from marrying her(and believe me when I say we really thought we knew them).They never even kissed until they were engaged. Even then, it wasn’t a deep kiss. He had those feelings for sure..but had made the decision way before hand that he would reserve all of that for marraige. He went into great detail with me over his feelings and I was so touched and realized something really important. They are certainly capable of having those desires, but when a young person has not had that intimacy- sex- they can remain pure and not completely burn. I know plenty of unmarried young people in that situation. They are living strong Christian lives and very active in Christian service. I honestly believe that if she had married him early on that she very easily have tried to justify later why she made a mistake in the marriage. She basically backed out using all the world’s excuses. Why had he not gone to college? He has financially been able to support a wife for quite a while. She wanted him to go into full time Christian service. He is a strong Christian witness for the Lord but doesn’t feel called to be a pastor. It was hurtful and difficult to see her change and the things that influenced her! All of this to say that there is so much more to a relationship than just sex!! I think we can all agree to that. They didn’t have chaperone’s with them when they went out together. They were adults. They set boundaries for themselves. In this case, more time was a good thing for him. I’m not saying that is always the case. It was sad that she bought into these philosophies but I thank God it happened now. No matter what happens as our children grow up , we can trust God to help them in whatever situations come up!

    • 6 arrows says:

      Amen. We just don’t know how the future is going to play out, but you are right that we can trust God to be with us and our children and guide us through whatever situations come up.

      And speaking of marriage, today is my parents’ anniversary. My mom was 20 and my dad 31 when they married, and now today at ages 73 and 84, they’re celebrating 53 years and going strong as husband and wife. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, Keri. Blessings to you!

  15. Kelly L says:

    Hmm, I’ve always refused to be part of the debate whether “Calvinism” ow “Armenianism” or whatever else ism was the best, so I thought I thought I didn’t participate in theology.

    I never knew it was so simple. I’m not being snarky, really. Turns out I do participate in seeking out theology by studying, reading, praying. I always thought it contained so much more identifying with a particular group, lol. Figures it is simple, His burden is easy and yoke is light.

    Thanks for writing this, it really helped me realize lots of things. 🙂

    • I do think we easily complicate things. But I will also say that I’ve learned that we must discuss “sides” sometimes, and terms, because they are what we use to define our beliefs about the Bible. Calvin would have hated us calling it “Calvinism.” He simply came to understand the doctrines of grace from Scripture and had a gift of communicating those truths in a way that people could understand them. We named it “Calvinism” not because it was his idea, only because he helped us understand it.

      I didn’t grow up to embrace reformed (Calvinistic) doctrine (we were taught it was evil, in fact), but now that I’ve actually looked at what Scripture teaches, it all makes sense (in as much as something mysterious can.)

      Ultimately though, I don’t know that one has to have a name for what one believes, only that in as much as he can, believe the whole of Scripture.

  16. 6 arrows says:

    I think our — Christian’s — failure to dig deeply into the Scriptures, mining its depths for wisdom and sound doctrine, has contributed to the problem we have in the church today where we’ve allowed the culture’s ideas on homosexuality and gay “marriage” to infiltrate our own thinking.

    The culture says that to practice the gay/lesbian lifestyle is not sin. The Bible says otherwise. But here we are, ordaining gay clergy, promoting same-sex “marriage”, not merely tolerating it, but affirming it. And the affirmation of the gay lifestyle is not only occurring in liberal, mainline denominations anymore, but increasingly in evangelical circles as well.

    How can we share the good news of the gospel of Jesus and His shed blood for sinners if we don’t call sin sin, or if we don’t even know that something is a sin because we’re so immersed in a culture that doesn’t call it that, instead of being saturated with the truth of the Holy Scriptures?

    I’m reminded of one of the favorite verses of my best friend’s, which she loves to quote often (John 6:68): “…Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” That was in the context of many of Jesus’ followers deciding to go away and not walk with Him anymore.

    Jesus is our lifeblood, and the Word is lifegiving nourishment. When we turn away from deep refreshment in the Word, we’re depriving ourselves of the water for our thirsty souls, that can only come from the living God (Psalm 42:1-2). And we also become vulnerable to being tossed about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).

    How can we be “ready always to give an answer to every man [who asks us] a reason of the hope that is in [us]” (1 Peter 3:15) when our understanding of the Scriptures is so superficial?

    Most definitely theology matters.

    Thank you for this post, Kelly. Excellent Bible verses, too.

  17. 6 arrows says:

    I came across an article today that could provide fertile ground for theological discussion here on a topic many of us care deeply about: homemaking. The author asks, “Is Homemaking the Church’s New Idol?”

    The author provides little Scriptural support for her questions/statements, but the piece is a thought-provoking read nonetheless, and the comment section contains some good points, especially by those who do use Scripture to back up their statements.

    Thought I’d throw it out here for possible discussion and see what comes of it. 😉

    http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/articles/entry/12/25646

  18. […] Why We Must Be Theology Loving Christians – Our theology defines how we live. It’s vital to the Christian to live according to who God is and what He says about the world. […]

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