Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Being A Theologian

One of the realities of human existence is that we think about things. True some people ponder more than others, but everyone has pondered the great questions of life. We can’t help it. People were made to think.

This reality means that every person, on some level, is a theologian. Stanely Grenz in his systematic theology book wrote:
“Every Christian is a theologian. Whether consciously or unconsciously, each person of faith embraces a belief system. And each believer, whether in a deliberate manner or merely implicitly, reflects on the content of these beliefs and their significance for Christian life” (Theology for the Community of God, p. 1)

This means you are a theologian. We become theologians when we take time to think about who God is and consider His existence. We do not all agree on the person and nature of God, even within the Christian Community there are disagreements about such things, but by thinking about such things we become theologians. It is through this process that we develop what we call our world view.

Our world view, that set of lenses through which we make sense of the world, is born out of our reflections on what we believe, mainly what we believe about God. Since you are reading this I am certain that you have some specific ideas about God and His place in the world and in your life. These beliefs form the basis on how you approach life.

I know for myself what I believe about God determines what I find to be right and wrong, what I consider my purpose for life to be, and the hope I have for the future. It affects my understanding of how the world came to be, the events of history, what is happening today, and what the future holds. My faith in God brings times of joy, guilt, hope, and sorrow. In short pondering on God guides the life I live.

The amazing thing about this is that God has allowed us to choose what we believe about Him. He has not dictated what we believe, but He has given us a choice in the matter. This results in the fact that as you reflect on God’s existence you determine the place He will have in your life. Will you let Him guide you or will you ignore Him? The choice is yours.

Since God has given us the freedom to choose what we believe about Him that means we have a personal responsibility in developing our own faith. I cannot simply follow what my family believes, but I must search out the truth myself.

You cannot simply allow yourself to be pulled along with the crowd you have in your life. You must stop and consider what you believe and why you believe it. God desires us to think about what we believe in order to develop an understanding of life.

While it is true that we are responsible for our own faith, it is also true that we are able to impact the lives of other people. Through the conversations we have with people and the way we live our lives we are able to be an influence in their lives. That means we have to be very intentional about knowing, teaching, and living truth. Especially when it comes to the people we have the most influence with: family and friends.

The apostle Paul told Timothy:
15 Think on these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching. Persevere in these things, for if you do this, you will save both yourself and those who listen to you. (1 Timothy 4:15, 16; ISV)

Paul reminded Timothy the importance of what he believed about God and how that affected Timothy’s life. We need to take Paul’s instruction to heart as well and allow what we believe about God guide the way we live.

You are a theologian. The ideas you develop about God determine the direction of your life. Don’t simply follow the ideas of another, but rather take time to reflect on who God is and what that means for your life. Being a theologian is one of the most important roles you will play. Don’t let it go to waste.

  • Point to Ponder: God desires us to think about what we believe and develop an understanding of life.
  • Passage to Remember: 1 Timothy 4:15, 16
  • Question to Consider: Have you been sharing what you believe about God with others?

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