As someone with a keen interest in theology I always enjoy discovering new resources to read or listen to. My mind never tires of reading and learning more about the God of the Universe and the teachings of the Bible. I don’t know what it’s like in the USA but in the UK, there appears to be an attitude amongst majority of Christians that places theology on a shelf where only pastors should dare venture for personal study and any books that are read seem to be shallow and ‘fuzzy wuzzy’. For me I find that quite sad. Not every Christian is called to be a pastor or a full-time apologist, however every Christian is called to be a theologian and proclaimer of Gospel truth. I think of 1 Peter 3:15 which states,
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
Now, keeping this verse in mind, can one really suggest we are not called to be theologians?? Please don’t misunderstand me here. I don’t mean that every Christian should hold a theology degree. No, not at all. Becoming a Christian simply involves the grace of God at work in a persons life, bringing them to repentance and a faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. However, once saved are we not to obey? Are we not to go and make disciples of all nations? How do we do that?…we proclaim the gospel. Simple, right? Hhhmmmmm.
Indeed we do proclaim the gospel, but we also have a biblical duty to seek to have an answer for the hope that we profess. In essence, I think Peter is telling us that we who profess the name of Christ should seek to know what we believe and what we believe it. We should know Theology!! True theology that is! Theology simply means the study of God so can we honestly say that we shouldn’t diligently study and listen to things pertaining to our faith?
We should first study theology as an act of worship and devotion. It should begin with immersion in the Bible and then expand into areas of systematic study of different doctrines taught within the Bible done through reading books etc. I became a Christian aged 18 shortly after finishing Secondary School, and when I think back to my time in school I find myself drawing on one particular memory….being in my Sixth Year social room asking some Christians about Christianity. I had sincere objections and honest questions that I wanted help with, but when I asked them their response was “You just gotta have faith”. I can’t begin to tell you how much this annoyed me. It gave the impression that they had no clue about Christianity, had a shallow faith and were more a part of a geeky clique than they were part of a people saved by grace.
As a result I now seek to try and have an answer to peoples questions, because when you look at the Bible you see how many people ask questions! Think of the people who asked questions to Jesus…Nicodemus, the rich young man, the Pharisees are but a few. Think of the questions Paul answers in his letters to the different churches. Questions are good and we should ask them! But we are also duty bound to seek to answer other peoples questions where we can. We must be PREPARED to give a REASON for the HOPE that we have. Prepared means we must diligently study the word and what it teaches which will thus lead to having a reason for why we believe what we do believe which will ultimately point toward the glorious hope of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I therefore am glad to recommend Reclaiming the Mind Ministries as an excellent resource for audio and literary teaching on differing areas of Christian Theology. I have only recently discovered this but have already subscribed to the 3 podcasts….Theology Unplugged….Converse with Scholars and The Theology Program. Important topics are discussed and explained and some top evangelical scholars talk about some very relevant and interesting issues found in both the Bible and differing cultures of our world. So……thumbs up for Reclaiming the Mind Minsitries !