Did you know that you are a theologian?
Yes, you — moms and teens and cubicle workers and design enthusiasts and fitness gurus. If you are a Christian, then you are a theologian. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in seminary, or studying big theological tomes on your own, or even serving full-time in a church or mission.
You are a theologian, because you have certain beliefs about who God is and what He does.
You believe certain facts to be true, and certain facts to be false. You believe in specific characteristics of God, and have a particular belief about His purpose and plan for your life. These all make up the sum of your theology. Because theology, at its core, is simply the study of God and His attributes.
And that’s a study which every single Christian ought to be pursuing — through daily Bible reading and study, learning from weekly sermons, discussing spiritual things with other mature believers, and being attentive to the Holy Spirit’s instruction.
Because every Christian is a theologian.
Consider how Paul David Tripp and Timothy Lane explain it [emphasis added]:
“We see theology as a systematic study of religious thought that has little to do with everyday life. But, rightly understood, theology is the real life story of God’s relationship to us and our relationship to one another lived out in a broken world. By this definition, whether you ‘think’ theologically or not, you are ‘doing’ theology every day in the decisions you make, the words you speak, the feelings you have, and the attitudes you nurture in your heart. All of these responses are rooted in your perspective on the nature of God, yourself, your relationships, and the world around you.
These ‘perspectives’ are theology because they inform and frame the way you live your life. The question is not whether you are a theologian, but what kind of theologian you are!”
– Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (affiliate link)
Every Christian is shaped by their theology.
What you believe about God determines how you think, what you desire, and why you pursue various things.
What you believe about His character determines how you relate to Him, and whether you trust Him, and whether you can rest in His power or must try to live well in your own strength. What you believe about His essence determines how you treat other people, whether you have compassion and show mercy, or whether you are critical and complaining.
Think about it this way:
- If you believe God is always good, and has the ultimate authority over everything that happens, then you will more easily see His hand working through everything and be able to trust Him in times of suffering and grief.
- But if you believe God is a ‘hands-off’ sort of God, then you will struggle to understand the purpose of trials and be unable to comprehend how anything good could come out of evil.
- If you believe God’s Word is completely inspired and true, then you will obey even the smallest command — and enjoy all of its promised blessings in return.
- But if you believe God’s Word is simply a “guidebook” or a collection of interesting stories, then you will fail to see its significance and struggle to chart your own path of morality and ethics, and ultimately miss out on having fullness of joy and peace that is beyond comprehension
- If you believe God is supreme and holy and full of glory, then you will offer Him proper reverence in your prayers, and your times of worship will be focused on proclaiming His greatness in a way that will most honor Him and exalt His name above all else.
- But if you believe God is just a benevolent being who wants you to be happy, then your focus in worship will be on what makes you feel good, and your prayers will be empty of respect and awe and quietness.
Whatever you think about God… will affect the way you see everything else. – tweet this
It’s like owning a pair of glasses, that are formed to your own particular specifications. Not just the frames, but the lenses themselves, are crafted to reflect the way you personally see God. That implies both bad news and good news…
The bad news is — if you aren’t seeing Him accurately, then your view of everything else (ie, your “lenses”) will be skewed or distorted in some way.
The good news is — you don’t have to be stuck with a crummy pair of lenses!
You can improve your vision (ie, your “prescription”) by spending dedicated time in His Word, and by learning from mature Christians who are grounded in His truth. God never changes, but your view of Him will change as you spend more time getting to know Him … more time diligently studying Him. Because that’s what theologians do.
That’s what Christians do.
Do you believe your view of God shapes your view of everything else?
Why or why not?
original photo source: Mr.TinDC