That’s right, I’m talking to you!
I understand the confusion. Perhaps you didn’t know that you were a theologian. Perhaps you just thought of yourself as a “normal” Christian who doesn’t pay attention to theology and stuff. Maybe you’re not even a Christian, and so you think you are exempt.
But let me be very clear: You ARE a theologian!
We all are – every one of us!
“Theology” simply means “God Knowledge,” and the field of theology is really just the study of what we know or believe about God.
Sure there are all sorts of theories out there and complex arguments. There have been volumes and volumes written about the nature of the atonement, about predestination and free-will, and about eschatology (the study of the end times).
But I’m not talking about any of that right now.
We are all theologians on a MUCH more foundational level. Whether you’ve given much thought to it at all or not, you have a basic set of beliefs about God. You believe him to be a certain way, or to want certain things from you. And here’s the thing:
We shout our theological stances from the mountaintops by the way we live our lives.
It’s one thing to go to church and verbally affirm the things that we hear. Living them out is another challenge altogether. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
It’s one thing to say you believe God is a God of forgiveness and grace, that the gospel is all about mercy. But if we are unmerciful and unforgiving of others or ourselves, we reveal that we don’t believe that. What we really believe is that the cross of Christ was insufficient and so we must further punish ourselves or others for their shortcomings.
It’s easy to say that you believe the Bible is the Word of God, but if we never pick it up, never read it, never learn it, then the theological statement we are really making is that we believe it is a suggestion book that we will get around to “if we have time.”
It’s easy to say that Jesus is the only way to salvation. But if we withhold that message from our neighbors who are bound for eternal separation from God, we act most unlovingly. In that moment, we reveal that we hate our neighbor, or at least love our emotional and social comfort too much to jeopardize it.
It’s one thing to affirm that you trust God, but when we hoard our things and kill ourselves working 90-hour work weeks, all for the sake of “providing for our family” or “good stewardship,” we reveal that we don’t believe God is capable of providing for us.
You can agree that God has a heart for the poor, but your reaction toward everyone from the down-and-out man on the street corner to the down-and-out orphans in the slums of developing nations reveals your real beliefs.
Our lives reveal our theology.
We are all inconsistent. We all have areas that we struggle to surrender to God. We are all in the process of being sanctified.
But what the New Testament makes abundantly clear is that true faith leads to action. True belief leads to changed behavior.
You know the type of plant by the fruit it produces.
We are all theologians. We tip our hand and reveal our beliefs with every word we speak and every action we do (or don’t) take.
So the question is, what do you believe about God, REALLY?