Several times this week I’ve been confronted by others perspectives on God. At an AA meeting, celebrating a friend’s sobriety, I heard testimony from others about how they trusted in God – “as they understood Him.” A best-selling book has become a movie and will most likely make millions – but yet it portrays God in a way that is different from the Bible. A popular “Christian” artist caused a firestorm on Twitter by discrediting the Orthodox teaching of Jesus’ substitutionary death for us on the cross.
Is any of this a big deal? Social media has seen a slew of reprisal posts calling for people to “calm down” with all this doctrine and just love each other, after all people…we aren’t supposed to be theologians, are we? That’s just for seminarians, Pastors, and other egg-heads, right? [No…that picture is not me…] Well…yes, we are…because anytime we open our mouth (out loud or online) about God, we are theologians. So it is sort of a big deal- because like it or not, we are all theologians. The question remains will we be good theologians or bad ones?
The way to be a good theologian is to seek to know God where he reveals himself and teaches us about himself – in His Word, the Bible. We must therefore conform our thoughts about God to be aligned with what’s in the Bible, not of our own understanding. Here…don’t believe me – look what the Bible says…
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
(1 Corinthians 2:12–13 ESV)
Two applications come from consideration of this passage.
- The Holy Spirit brings understanding. Our eyes have to be opened by God to understand spiritual things. Jesus is the one who “utters the words of God and gives the Spirit without measure.” [John 3:34] so we receive the Holy Spirit through hearing the Word of God proclaimed about Jesus…the gospel. After conversion, we continue to seek deeper growth and understanding through the Holy Spirit causing us to understand God’s word.
- Theology informs our lives – we live out what we believe. Humans are interpreters. We all have a worldview, a perspective that we filter life through. What we believe about God is HUGE, it colors all of our interpretations about life, so we must be all the more diligent to ensure it is accurate, as compared to who God claims to be in the Bible. Otherwise…we can drift away into strange and dangerous teachings. [See more from Hebrews 2:1; 2 Tim 4:4, etc.]