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Theology: Who Needs It?

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Dear Friends,

Last month we talked about Selah prayers: pausing for the purpose of staying in the moment, pondering without rush, and entering into silence during prayer. Selah slows things down, so that we can really listen and better hear God and heighten our awareness of what we want to pray.

My new Selah prayer is to ask God, please, to turn me into a wildly successful salesperson for theology. In asking this, my focus is not on ministry finances, much less the bottom line at Right On Mission. On the contrary, when I say I want to convince people--sell to them--the idea that theology matters, I’m talking about the importance of theology itself.

Theology contends with the body of truth, the set of all truths that constitutes accessible reality (Deuteronomy 29:29). Theology pertains to the vast domain of God that is ours to apprehend by faith. The word faith in this context essentially refers to moral courage: the courage to dare to know and have knowledge about the truth of what God has revealed. In other words, theology is the study of divine revelation. If you think about it clearly, very soon you realize that divine revelation amounts to the totality of everything humanly knowable.

Theology is the study of everything, including the endless study of how every single thing relates to everything else from God On High on down.

Theology, therefore, is the fundamental factor in the mystery of life. Theology is the basic force that shapes the mind and character of the nations. As A.W. Tozer put it, “History will probably show that no nation has ever risen above its idea of God.”

For example, if our theology of God is that God does not exist, then we will become gods to ourselves (atheists). If our theology of God is that God does exist, but is impersonal, remote and uninvolved, then we will inevitably be prayerless (deists).

Our theology defines our worldview; it establishes our underlying assumptions and provides the means and ways for us to organize, decide, and proceed. Biblical theology teaches us to proceed by being reasonable, relational and reverent. Apart from good theology, we become quite unreasonable, relationally dysfunctional, and spiritually irreverent.

So you see, the crisis of civilization that people face today is a theological crisis.

And the worst part of the crisis is that all of us, at times, are clueless as to the nature of our problem. It makes sense why Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

The blights of cancel culture, the violent thrusts of political aggression, the lockdowns, the closures, the irrational attacks, the widespread corruption, the institutional lies, the breakdown of the family, the skyrocketing suicide rate, the bribery, the treachery, the murderous hunt for money are vivid indicators of our wrong theology.

But if our problems are theological, our solutions are theological.

Whether we thrive on God’s pure love or gradually self-destruct all depends on what we believe.

At Right On Mission, we believe God’s people can learn to think so Christianly that they find the moral courage to act with integrity as Christ followers, even in the face of opposition.

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