Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Practical Look at Theology

Recently I had a brief conversation with one of our associate pastors relative to theology. Although the conversation was very short, he said some very profound things, and I scrounged a piece of paper right after we were finished in order to write down what he had said.

He said there are three principles to remember when looking at theology, as follows:

1. "There is a God, and I’m not Him.” The first time I ever heard it put like that was while watching the movie, “Rudy.” The main character, Rudy Reuttiger, was desperately trying to get into the University of Notre Dame. He asked a priest if he had done enough, prayed enough, etc. in order to be admitted. The priest responded, “Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.” While there is much Catholic doctrine which is based on the traditions of men instead of the Word of God, I believe the last half of the priest’s statement is very biblically accurate. “There is a God, and I’m not Him.” My theology needs to be based on what God has said in His Word, not on the opinions of any man, including my own.

2. "Never take the opposite side of what Jesus taught.” Jesus was very clear relative to His teachings, and it is always dangerous to take a position on the other side of any issue. He clearly knew and taught that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. That makes it quite foolish to adopt the documentary hypothesis. He taught that Noah’s flood was a fact and was God’s judgment on the world at the time. All the statements that the flood is a myth are contradictions of statements made by the Son of God. That is dangerous ground. He taught that salvation is by grace through faith, which negates all the human opinion to the contrary. There are many such examples. Bottom line – the safe ground is to be in agreement with what Jesus said.

3. "When you come to a problem you can’t answer, just make God bigger.” There are many things we can’t explain. We accept God’s word by faith, and there are times we simply don’t understand what God has done or how He has done it. Do we need to know? No, we really don’t. We just need to realize that our God is bigger than any difficulty, and no matter how big we make Him, we can never make Him too big. As a matter of fact, we can never even make Him as big as He is. He is infinite. We are finite. Our God is bigger than any question a skeptic can ask, and He is bigger than any situation.

These three principles are good guidelines to follow when considering the truth of Scripture.