Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I have been doing some thinking lately and I have decided not to go in depth about the TULIP. I feel like it would be a waste of time when I can talk about more edifying and less controversial topics.

I will be re-reading through Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. I will attempt to blog more, however here is an older post about Systematic Theology. I hope you enjoy!

What is systematic theology? Why learn it? Who cares. There are better things to learn than theology, theologian are a much of people who think they know it all.

The bold above is what quite a few people think and say. In this post I will try my best to explain the importance of Theology and why study it and what the correct purpose of a theologian really is.

"Systematic Theology is any study that answers the question, 'What does the whole Bible teach us today? about any given topic."
-John Frame

Theologian Wayne Grudem says the definition above indicates that systematic theology involves collecting and understanding all the relevant passages in the Bible on various topics and then summarizing their teachings clearly so that we know what to believe about each topic."

"The duty of a theologian is, not to please the ear with empty sounds, but to confirm the conscience by teaching things which are true, certain and profitable. "- John Calvin

As we see here, if a theologian or someone who likes to study theology shouldn't be arrogant about their knowledge but rather should want to talk about God without cramming God down people's throat and shouldn't talk about how spiritual they are. Knowledge doesn't save you.

Grudem also says "...systematic theology focuses on summarizing each doctrine as is should be understood by present-day Christians...Defining systematic theology to include 'what the Bible teaches us today'."

Why should believers study theology? Why isn't just reading my Bible sufficient enough?

"...systematic theology somehow can 'improve on the Bible by doing a better job of organizing its teachings or explaining them more clearly that the Bible itself has done. Thus we may begin to implicitly to deny the clarity of Scripture or the sufficiency of Scripture."-Grudem

How are we to fulfill the Great Commission? Yes, Bible reading will and must be done to be effective and to spend time with God. But to have the most impact, you need to know theology with the back up of scripture to answer questions some may have. Even if a believer asks you a question, you will be able to help them and minister to them because you know the Bible.

Also, when we study theology, it helps us overcome the wrong ideas of or ideas about God. If we had no sin in our lives we could read God's Word back to back, and we wouldn't actually need God's Word, we could just talk to God in person. We would learn everything about Christ, God, Holy Spirit almost instantly.Studying theology helps us make better decisions for our lives. You may ask how. Well, the reason is being that you know what God wants and what his will is on any topic(some topic just takes prayer and mediation with supplication). Whatever doctrinal issues come about over the years, we will have learned theology/scripture to defend whatever issues that may arise.Another reason for studying theology is that we will grow to be more like Christ and that should be our number 1 desire as true Holy Spirit filled believers. The more we know, the more we will trust in Him.

"In fact, the Bible often connects sound doctrine with maturity in Christian living: Paul speaks of ' the teaching which accords with godliness'(1 Timothy. 6:3) and says that his work as an apostle is 'to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness'(Titus 1:1). By contrast, he indicates that all kinds of disobedience and immorality are 'contrary to the sound doctrine'(1 Timothy 1:10)."
-Wayne Grudem

Objections to studying systematic theology

Many scholars think it all fits together to 'neat'.1. We as believers then must ask the objector to tell us the exact part he or she disagrees with in the light of scripture. Ask what have I misinterpreted. Be open to your possible mistake. Then deal with the misunderstanding. Sometimes they may object to nothing that is in scripture, then what do you do? The only thing I would say to do is to talk to them and use scripture to defend what you said that cause controversy.

2. Is has to be said that God's own mind and the nature of reality itself, true facts and all ideas are always consistent with each other. So, if we accurately interpret the scriptures, then the conclusion would be that it all fits together perfectly.If there are any questions, please feel free to comment and ask. That's what I'm here for.

How shall we study theology?

"We should study systematic theology with prayer." Study theology is studying God's Holy Scriptures, so therefore we should do what the Psalmist says and pray. (Psalm 119:18)(1 Corinthians 2:14)

No matter how smart the student is, if they stop praying, stop seeking God with a humble heart. The scripture will be a misunderstood and doctrinal errors. Now we all don't want that to happen so I suggest that we continue to pray fervently.(James 5:16-17)

Why study with humility. Peter tell us to in 1 Peter 5:5. You will learn many things of the teachings of God's Holy Word. You may also come to understand things your leaders in the church don't know.We should study with other people or at least talk with someone else about theology.(1 Corinthians 12:28) Believers have different gifts, so we all can learn from one another."We should study systematic theology by collecting and understanding All the relevant passages of Scripture on Any topic."

We should be excited to study theology and learn more and more about Christ. Not all people are wired to have a desire to crave theology. For myself, I love theology, I love talking about it. That is how I was wired to be like. Does this mean this is ALL I talk about. NO! I had a friend get on me for this. She would say stuff in a sarcastic way but it did hit me, stuff like, "Do you ever stop thinking about theology." There are times to talk about it and there are times not to. It's up to you to make that call...If someone gets upset at you because of your talking of theology, best thing to do is to stop.I hope this is a basic understanding of what Systematic Theology is and the importance of it. I hope you benefit from it. May God be with you!

In Prayers,