Theology and the study of God
Theology is the study of the nature and character of God.
The suffix comes from the Greek word logos and means “word,” “idea,” or “logic.” The prefix theo, or God, when combined simply refers to the word or logic of God.
It is different from the study of Religion, which pertains to the worship rites of mankind and includes all the various cults, orders, and denominations, whether or not from the true God.
Certainly, religion is more inclusive, a concept all too popular with our woke society.
What is notable, is that this theology is in fact the study of the doctrines of Christianity.
And, the doctrines of Christ are under attack.
Let me explain.
What is lukewarm?
Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4:3 that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”
As early as 95, with the Apostle John’s banishment on the Isle of Patmos, Christ, in His letter to the Seven Churches, writes about Laodecia in Revelation 3:15-16 “…you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
What does lukewarm mean?
Could it mean what 2 Timothy 4:3 warns of – “not wanting to endure sound doctrine?”
In my article “Should unity trump doctrine” I refer to a specific church Statement of Beliefs, that includes “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.”
As pious as this may sound it is not biblical. In fact, it is exactly the lukewarm avoidance of sound doctrine warned about in Revelation.
So that no one is offended, and so that we are inclusive, we will not fight for a doctrinal truth but allow for truths.
As such, many biblical doctrines are not taught, and when brought up, opposing viewpoints are given equal time.
Neither hot nor cold but lukewarm.
What is Existentialism?
Another man-made philosophy has crept into the church which only exacerbates this lukewarm position – existentialism.
Existentialism holds that there is no absolute truth since all truth is relative. What is true for one may not be true for another.
How do we see this in the church? Maybe this will sound familiar to you.
“That’s a gray area and there are many gray areas in Christianity.”
“Well, there are some verses that seem to indicate that and others that support another viewpoint.”
So even if there are only two viewpoints on a specific doctrine, both are now acceptable. We don’t have the truth, we now have truths.
No one is offended, we allow liberty, and are even charitable about the whole affair.
Now, we can’t go too far with this. Certainly, the gospel is sacrosanct. But when you start straddling a slippery slope, how long can you last without sliding further?
How can multiple truths exist with regard to the doctrines of Christianity?
If 2 Tim 3:16 declares that “all scripture is God-breathed and profitable…” and Hebrews 6:18 argues “it is impossible for God to lie” while 1 Corinthians 14:33 claims that “God is not a God of confusion…” – what is the hangup?
Are we now unable to understand the Bible? Are we unable to take a doctrinal position? Are we now characterized and labeled as “different Christians” because we believe in truth vs. truths?
Should we not, as 2 Timothy 2:15 advises “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman…accurately handling the word of truth.”
And does this not imply that the word can be handled accurately?
Should we not, as Jude 3 warns “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
And is not hot or cold, at least, contending earnestly – I’m pretty sure lukewarm isn’t.
1 Peter 2:2 encourages us “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” Peter also remarks in 2 Peter 3:16, in referring to the writings of Paul, “in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort…”
As we saw above, “all” scripture is God-breathed and profitable, God does not lie, and He is not a God of confusion. He also commands us to study the word so that it can be “accurately” handled.
As a practical matter, God’s only source of revelation is His Bible as Peter states in 2 Peter 1:19 “we have as more sure the prophetic word, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
Through the Word, we are to grow in our salvation as 2 Corinthians 3:18 states “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
This growth includes understanding the Word of God and walking in obedience.
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 are important verses and shed light on the understanding of the Word. They state “a natural man [unsaved] does not accept the depths of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually examined. But he who is spiritual examines all things…”
I leave the following conclusions as a result of the above from the Word:
- The Bible is our fount of knowledge to which we grow in our salvation to become more like Christ.
- The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word to those who are believers.
- Some parts of the Bible may be hard to understand, but we are commanded to study in order to accurately handle the Word. Accurately means we can understand it.
- The word is not as confusing as some would have you believe, because we don’t have a God of confusion.
- Be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and challenge what others say to support it with scripture. Discard what can’t be verified by the Word and continue to study, pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and contend earnestly for the faith.
You can understand the Bible!