Is Theology Important?
By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
YES, Theology IS Important!
Doctrine is essential for a healthy church!
Why? Because it is all about who God is. We cannot know and build a relationship with someone unless we get to know them first. And to become closer in that relationship, we have to continually strive to communicate, know and grow in the knowledge and sharing of life of one another. Theology is just that, except it is about getting to know God. Thus, good leadership will desire to know and teach the attributes of God, His characters and traits, Who He is and what He has done, so our church can grow closer to Him and to one another. Theology is all about that, knowing God!
Many Christians today are proclaiming that theology is not important or needed; all we need to do is to love Jesus. We have a big problem in the church today as doctrine disappears from the pulpit and the airways, and is replaced by what "feels good" or what we feel is needed. When theology disappears from the church and its leaders, we will have a "free for all" of what we think is truth. All that will accomplish is dishonesty, and an erosion of His conviction. The situation will be created where God takes a backseat to the god of the self as the central focus of our faith, and that will carve a road to hell. We as a church, or as a single practicing Christian, will be unable to think wisely about our culture, who we are in Christ, or who He is and what He did. Instead, we will take in what feels good, leaving God and His ways behind us. We will be reveling in the irrational, while Christ stands at the door and knocks Because of the noise of our Will, we will not open the door!
So, is it true all we have to do is love Jesus? Who is Jesus? Once you ask the question, "who is God," you have ventured into theology. As Christians, we are not to start our faith as theologians, nor replace faith with theology. We do not start out as Calvinists or Armenians, whatever theological system of the day or of your church. We must start with accepting God as Lord and Savior. In so doing, we accept God's Word. Through His Word, we divine His truth and means. This is what theology is! It is not the necessary, the starting, or the ending. It is the understanding and the application of His truth. If you say theology is not important, then God is not important, because theology is studying and knowing and understanding God, who He is, His attributes, and such. To deny theology necessitates denying God too!
Remember, Paul wrote the Gospel of Romans under the interspersion and directive of God to proclaim the truth of who Christ was and is. In so doing, he explained the plan of salvation, the role of the church, the inclusion of the Gentile world, and the importance of sharing our faith. Thus, our study of this book is very important as the foundation for our knowledge of doctrine and truth. This is theology! Understanding the Bible is theology!
A church without theology is a church without God, as theology is about knowing who God is and what He has done for us! A theology without a sovereign God is simply not an option for the church or our daily faith, because we will replace Him with idols, (anything that takes the place of God, from a totem pole to money, is an idol) or ourselves!
Therefore, theology, good theology, is a logical system of truth that is rationally defused from what the Scriptures clearly teach. We are never to read in what is not there or just believe in something because that is how we grew up or have been taught. We begin as Bible believing Christians who crave to put the Bible first and above all desires, feelings, or schemes of thought.
Over the years, through many years of learning and struggle, I have slowly accepted the Calvinistic teachings on the five points of T.U.L.I.P as Biblical and therefore true. I did not start out that way. I was firmly an Armenian and Holiness for many years, even through seminary. Only after years of study, especially in the book of Romans, have I yielded to the Reformed Method of understanding. Not because I grew up in it, which I did, not because I went to a Reformed seminary, which I did, but because of coming face to face with truth by deepening my conviction, and by careful study of God's Word. This quest has not been without fellow truth seekers, others of diverse backgrounds who sought the truth and came to the same conclusion. These include Augustine, Luther, Tyndale, Latimer, Knox, Wishart, Perkins, Rutherford, Bunyan, Owen, Charnock, Goodwin, Flavel, Watson, Henry, Watts, Edwards, Whitefield, Newton, Spurgeon, and of course Calvin. For more information, see my article on "Calvinism from the Critics."
Whether you embrace Reformed theology or not, keep in mind, a church that does not want to teach theology or is sacred that it is boring is a church that does not want to know and grow in Christ. It will be a feeble and pathetic church in God's sight and worthless in the kingdom. It will be a club or a lodge and not a real effectual church. It will be like a marriage where the spouses do not communicate or desire to know one another, a dysfunction mess and a force of contempt to the One Who first loves us!
© 1998, 2002 Rev. R.J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/