Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is Theology Necessary?

The Word was God

By Abraham Israel

Is Theology necessary and essential to Christian faith?

Theology -> Theo [God] + logia [Study of the Word].

'Theologia' is Greek word that is translated as theology in English. As a whole it means ‘the study of the word of God’ [i.e. The Bible].

Theology is necessary because people need to rest their faith not on shaky doctrines or vain philosophies, but on sound doctrines. The meaning of doctrine is ‘the most important belief in a particular religion’.

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew that they
“… strain and take a gnat out of their mouth and swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24)
. If we see in the Old Testament, both the animals are unclean animals. In other words Jesus was telling them that their whole approach toward theology is completely wrong. The man made commandments of the Pharisees always insisted on doing things for God, rather than doing things that God requires the most.

God says in
1 Samuel 15:22, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” The written word of God when quickened by the Spirit of God becomes the voice of the Lord (Deut 8:11, 19-20; 15:5; 17:18, 19)
. And every one of us need to heed the voice of the Lord than sacrifice our life to God. So only sound doctrine is needed to lead us in the exact way the Lord wants us to go.

For this reason, every preacher needs to be a theologian, then only he will not only practice wha
t he knows in His life but also he will be able to teach and impart that thing to others. As Jesus also emphasized this message by saying,
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:17-20)

And also Jesus said to the Pharisees in
Matthew 23:23, “…You keep all the small doctrines, but you leave all the important or weighty matters of the law, woe to you hypocrites…” (Paraphrased). So we as the Church should also take the warning Jesus gave to the Pharisees and Scribes, and give importance to sound doctrines and serious theology. The Weightier matters of the law are: justice, mercy and faith (Matt 23:23).

We should always differentiate in our Christian faith, the major [orthodox doctrines] and the minor [the present restorational doctrinal truth]. Dissension in most of the Christian community occurs due to focussing on minor doctrines rather than major doctrines. According to Jesus, the major or weighty doctrines are justice, mercy and faith. We as the followers of Jesus Christ, this should also be our thrust and empphasis in our present day churches. Thus doctrines are very inportant.

God also said in Jude 3, “…Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” As said in the preceding verse the doctrine that we have will always either build our faith or destroy our faith. In other words the amount of faith that we have depends on the accuracy of the sound doctrine that we believe and practice in our daily life. This is the reason we must earnestly challenge for the faith by keeping the accuracy of the doctrine which has once for all has been given to us by Jesus and all the Founding apostles during the first century. The need of this hour is not to quarrel among ourselves by contending on minor doctrines, but we need to return to the major doctrines that are the base on which the church can stand in the major storm of apostasy that is going to come in the end time in the coming years. But if we do not return to the major doctrines and keep fighting on minor doctrines, the warning of Jesus still stands for us too, “How terrible it is for you Pharisees…..” (Matt 23:23).

Unity in Essentials [Major doctrines],

Diversity in Non-Essentials
[Minor doctrines].


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