The dangerous tendency of Theology

From the theology journal “Themelios”, vol. 35, Issue 1, April 2010.  The danger of studying theology…you know who you are.

The greatest temptation of a theology student is to assume that what they are studying is the mostimportant thing in the world. Now, I need to be uncharacteristically nuanced at this point: there is asense, a very deep and true sense, in which theology is the most important thing in the world. It is, afterall, reflection upon what God has chosen to reveal to his creatures; and it thus involves the very meaningof existence. In this sense, there is nothing more important than doing theology.But this is not the whole story. One of the great problems with the study of theology is how quicklyit can become the study of theology, rather than the study of theology, that becomes the point. We are all no doubt familiar with the secular mindset which repudiates any notion of certainty in thought; and one of the reasons for this, I suspect, is that intellectual inquiry is rather like trying to get a date with the attractive girl across the road with whom you have secretly fallen in love: the thrill comes more from the chase and the sense of anticipation than it does from actually finding the answer or eliciting agreement to go to the movies.

– Carl Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary, PA

“One of the great problems with the study of theology is how quicklyit can become the studyof theology, rather than the study of theology, that becomes the point.”  This can be said about how we maintain our relationship with our Father in heaven; it becomes about the rules, pray during this time, fast from this, tithe this much money, go to church and in everything don’t skip a beat!  Just make sure your heart is in the right place!  That’s what he wants when all is said and done.

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” – Matthew 15:8


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