Why study theology?

I get this question from time to time. You see, I’m a seminary student. And contrary to the opinion of the cable guy who couldn’t find our apartment when we moved here four years ago because he was looking for a “cemetary”, theology, or doctrine, is not a dead or irrelevant thing.

Its a thing of great relevance.

What makes me say this? 2 John 9

“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.

Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

The author, John, is writing to a church that is entertaining (literally) the teachings and doctrines that were not based in the true person, work and teaching of Jesus. And this had significant consequences. Such that John can say that when you don’t abide (or remain) in the teaching of Christ, you don’t have God.

Jesus came to make the Father known, so denying one, you deny the other. But embracing the One, you get both. (John 17:6)

What were they getting on ahead about? Well, it could have been anything, really. Anything that subverts, or distorts, or diminishes who Jesus was, what He did, and what He continues to do for His people. Those are not just religious opinions; those are statements that bear weight on the world and on your life.

Now anyone can be a yahoo and go off the deep end in either direction. One can go so overboard with the “new”, chic, relevant, or trendy philosophy. But one can also go overboard with the anti-new, anti-chic, anti-relevant and anti-trendy (or to put it another way, the traditional) philosophy.

What we need is a healthy dose of humility to be able to see Jesus in our doctrine, and not just our ability to hold onto the tradition handed down to us, or our ability to let that go.

Knowing Jesus is something other than both. Its knowing a person, not a formulation; but its also knowing what is true and distinctive and timeless about that person, and not just a vague sense of “relationship” with Him that makes doctrine and theology irrelevant.

In fact, our theology might be the most relevant thing for us.

2 John 9 seems to indicate that at least.

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2 thoughts on “Why study theology?

  1. Pingback: Follow Up to “Why Study Theology” « Intersection

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