Theology is important to me because I can't go back to the days when Jesus and Paul preached, to sit at their feet and hear their words spoken in the context and culture of their day. I have to rely on those who have heard from God over the years as He revealed Himself to those He knew would handle those revelations properly. Theology keeps us on the "same" page so that we don't end up with a thousand individual theories about who God is. It also sparks debate (though I don't approve of debating scripture; you either take it at face value, or you don't) and gets us thinking about God in a much deeper way, so that, through His revelation, we can come to know Him, His Son, and His Spirit, as He knows us. We may not all agree on every aspect of what theology teaches, but it does give us a point of reference (as Mr. Stafford says in his book) to come back to, as we explore God in all His wonderful facets.
As far as the study of theology degrading the church, Stafford says that "Sometimes the church acts as though theological works are a nuisance unrelated to the task of being God's people" (pg. 30). I disagree. The study of God is the life's blood of the church to fully understand God. If we didn't have a common thread to study by then every church would have its own idea about who God is apart from scripture, and that would benefit no one at all. I believe that theology is what holds us all together as the one body that Jesus created upon His death and resurrection. The Bible is where we find the Words of God, theology is where study to understand them.
Comment: "When an individual builds their life in Theology, its like a man who builds their house on a rock, Matthew 7:24-27(NLT)."
Author's Response: I believe that theology is a foundation for the Christian walk and is the beginning of wisdom. Some people call theology the "basics" of the Christian faith, but it goes way beyond the basics and gives us a way to put down deep roots at the start of our walk. I believe that studying theology, along with reading the Bible, should be something that is started at the beginning of a new believer's walk. I believe that true churches that call Jesus their Savior should have a theology class going alongside the new believer's class. That is the foundation that Jesus was talking about. A man can only build his house on the rock if he knows how to excavate the land. Knowing the theology of our faith gives us the tools to excavate the true meaning of scripture.
Comment: "As a child of God, studying theology, I believe that it will only strengthen my faith, as I gain not just the knowledge of, but also, the true meaning of all things God."
Author's Response: If you get a good theology book (I have read the one by Millard Erickson from a Pentecostal point of view) and read it from cover to cover, you will discover a whole lot of things you never knew. My understanding of Satan was a little cloudy until I read that book and found out just how much power and authority he has in this world. It has put me more on the offensive now more than the defensive. I used to just beat off his attacks with a mental shrug. Now I attack with the weapons of scripture. Once I began to do that I found a whole lot more peace than I had ever had in my life before then. And it was all because I read a theology book that I didn't think I would ever understand until I gave it a try and found out that what I had already learned before was correct and in unity with the Spirit. My faith was strengthened in a way that I don't fear Satan any more, and have learned through the book even more of just how much God loves me.
Comment: "I question Stafford's conclusion that the Bible is a literary collection (p. 26). Somehow that statement seems wrong to me. There must be a more appropriate description of the Bible that identifies its literary historical value but a statement including the reverence that states that the Word of God is God."
Author's Response: I also question something else he says later in the book. When Stafford is talking about Jesus' mission on earth, he calls it the "Jesus Movement". Calling it that rubs me the wrong way. To me, anything called a movement brings along with it a negative aspect these days. In the Sixties, the hippies had a movement. David Karesh had a movement in Texas. Jim Johnson had a movement where he convinced many people to drink poison-laced Kool-Aid so they would get to paradise faster. Today, we have the Occupy Movement all over the country. Is this movement a good thing? I can't tell since nothing positive has come out of it yet, if it ever will. Stafford calling it the Jesus Movement just doesn't feel right. Jesus started more than a "movement", He began, or continued basically, and letting us know just how much God the Father loves us, something that has no end. Movements come and go, and most turn out bad.
Comment: "I agree with this statement because I have witnessed individuals who cling to one piece of Christianity and never experience the full abundance of the gospel."
Author's Response: Do you know that there are some Christian religions out there that do not encourage that you read your Bible, making sure that the only way you hear what's in it is through the mouth of the speaker alone? When I found this out, I approached someone I worked with who I knew was in this religion and told him what I found out. He responded that it didn't matter to him that he wasn't "told" to read his Bible; that he was okay with someone else telling him what they felt he needed to know. I didn't think that I was going to get that kind of answer. I couldn't believe it! He trusted a man to tell him whatever he wanted to tell him. This man clung onto whatever he called Christianity by trusting that what he was hearing was the truth. Fifteen years ago, I had a conversation with someone important in the Catholic church near where I lived and was told his church did not encourage their people to read their bibles because if the people found out what the bible really says then they might leave the church to find out the truth. He actually told me that the priesthood wants to control what their parishioners hear because the priesthood believes that only they can impart the Word of God correctly and that lay people cannot. Again, I couldn't believe what I was being told! If this is not true today then I stand corrected. If it is true then too many people are only getting half the truth from a man instead of going to the Word of God themselves.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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