As I study theology more, and continue to discuss it more, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the “theological hills” that some folks choose to stay, and fight on, seemingly until death if necessary. It is a good thing to know what you believe, to be sure, but it is a completely different thing to want to fight to the death over an issue that is of secondary importance.
All Christians, and theological persuasions seem to have those issues. For some the issue is baptism; mode, subject, and meaning. For some it is in relation to the gifts of the Spirit, are they active, are they not? For some it is communion. For some it is Church government and authority. For some it is Scripture. What is inspired, what isn’t, how should we interpret it, what is the correct translation, etc. I’m not saying these issues aren’t important, and shouldn’t be discussed. But what I am saying is that these issues are not of first importance. What I am saying is that these things aren’t what our theology should be centered on.
I think the Bible is very clear about what our theology is to be centered on. Philippians 2:9 tells us that, “God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.” John15:26 &16:8-11 tells us that the work of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to Christ. First the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, and leads us to repentance. Then the Holy Spirit transforms us, and empowers us so that we can live our lives for Christ, and bear witness about Him. (Acts 1:8, 4:33, 1 Corinthians 2:4-5) In Luke 24:27 and John 5:39 Jesus Himself tells us that the Scriptures point to Himself. When we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we are doing that in remembrance of what Christ has done. (Matthew 26:26-29,Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:18-20) When we baptize, we baptize because Christ commands us to. (Matthew 28:19) The Church is the body of Christ. (Romans 12:5, Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:6, 4:4,12, 5:23)
There is one constant in the statements I just made, and in the Scriptures I noted. They are all about Christ. Our Theology also ought to be all about Christ. We are to preach Christ, and preach the Gospel and the good news about what Christ has done. Any theology that we have, that is not centered around Christ is wrong. Sure there are aspects of theology, very important ones at that, that do need to be talked about and discussed and learned. But if those things ever get in the way of us serving Christ, we must put those things away. I heard an awesome quote from John Piper and I use it often. He said, “Don’t let your theology get in the way of the Bible.” I say, “Don’t let your theology get in the way of Christ.”
We must stop with all of this debating, and bickering about secondary issues that only serve to divide Christ’s church. I’m so sick of certain denominations and branches of Christianity that seem to think they have some sort of superior knowledge, or a level of enlightenment that others don’t, and want to talk down or bad mouth every one else that doesn’t align themselves with their camp. I’m so sick of theological nerds, who want to tell me how many dead dudes agree with their particular theological opinion. I’m sick of people who quote creeds and confessions as if they are the Word of God.
Christ centered and Biblically based creeds are great… please don’t misunderstand me. There have been many wonderful men of God that have been used mightily to advance His kingdom. But they are just that, men. Don’t center your theological opinions and stances based on the words of men, but on the Word of God, which is Christ.
Lest you think I’m some great hypocrite (which I am), let me say this. I have found myself falling into all of these same habits and tendencies that I just talked about. I have let my opinions and beliefs get in the way of my serving God and His people. I have been that theological nerd. I must repent of this, and begin to seek His face, and His face alone. I pray all of us, who have fallen into these habits might do the same.