29 April 2008

Theology - What is it Good For?

It's not uncommon to hear Christians claiming that theology is irrelevant and that they just want to be ordinary Christians who don't have anything to do with theology.

I remember some years ago an advert on television with Maureen Lipmann exclaiming to her grandson - who was preparing to graduate from university - that he was getting and 'ology' degree. It went something like 'Oooohhh! An
ology! My grandson is getting an ology!!!'

But 'theology' simply means 'talk about God'. And we all have a theology and we all talk about theology.

Here are some 'theologies' that I disagree with:

* God wants to bless you. Send $100 to my ministry now and God will bless you.
* If a snake bites a true believer, they will not be harmed; it says so in the bible.
* If your terminal cancer is not cured by prayer, it's because you don't have enough faith.

I hope and expect that most people reading this post will whole-heartedly disagree with these theologies. This is my short argument for 'studying theology'. Do we want ideas like the above passed on to people in church or passed from Christian parents to their children? No, of course not.

I do agree that sometimes theology feels like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and, when it gets to that stage, we've probably lost any kind of plot that is going to help us be Christian disciples. Nonetheless, I think there is a strong argument for studying theology, not the least because we'd want to be able to explain why we don't agree with the above theologies.


Peter Kirk said...

I think the grandchild had got just one GCSE, in sociology - and had failed in many other subjects. The grandmother was either ignorant enough to be really impressed by such a small achievement, or positive enough to encourage the grandchild on even this.

Ah, here is the actual ad. The grandson passed pottery as well as sociology.

But your main point is correct, of course.

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with you Pam. I will say that we can know how many angels can dance on a head of a pin. The answer is 2/3rd's. Scripture says "a third of the angels fell and went with satan at the fall", since one third is finite then we can conclude there is not an infinte number of angels. Also since a head of a pin is finite then one should conclude that two thirds can be on a head of a pin. At the same time this is true if and only if God ordains it. Since God is Holy it may not be God's will for angels to be on a pin and if angels went on a pin then it would go against God and the nature of angels which one and only one choice. If it is unholy for angels to be on a pin then no angels can be on a pin. If it is holy then the answer would be two thirds.

Also I know no one who believes the three theolgies you disagree with. I do believe God CAN bless those who support ministries but not because some ministry asks for money. Snake biting being healed is taking Scripture out of context and from my experience only cults believe this. They are not true Christians. On cancer not being cured because of lack of prayer or Faith I believe this can be the case but is not always the case and it is in the extreme minority case that this is the case. This requires proper discernment to determine from all of the possibilities.

Tim said...

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
None! Why None?
Because there would be NO POINT!

Much like the question.

PamBG said...

Tim, :-)

Doorman-Priest said...

You're talking my sort of language.

cynic1 said...

I agree, too.

By the way, if you want God to bless you, read my blog. And send me $100.

neville longmore said...

i totally agree about the blessings thing, god does bless us but not allways in ways we expect or understand

neville longmore said...

sorry posted annonomysly