Theology. Yes, it matters, and yes you are a theologian. Everyone is a theologian, the only real question is whether or not you are a good theologian. Theology is a compound word made of two Greek words theos (God) and the suffix ology (which means knowledge or study of), so theology is the study of God. Since you have some ideas about God, you re a theologian. Unfortunately, many of us confuse our theology with a condition I like to call me-ology. Rather than studying the God of the Bible, you have superimposed your likes, dislikes, and character traits onto the God of the Bible and have begun to study and worship a god that looks like you. This “god” is not the God that we learn of in the Bible.
I received this in an email today from a guy building off of the idea of “me-ology:”
Let’s look at me-ology a little bit. A pretty common expression talks about when WE put God into a nice, neat, little box that fits what and who WE want Him to be, on our terms. There in lies the problem…His creation is trying to dictate who He is rather than His creation following His decree by which we were created. That’s like if I were to build a chair out of wood. It may be very simple or extremely ornate, but its still a chair. One day the chair says to me, “John, I don’t like what you built me for, I don’t want to be sat upon anymore. I want to sit on people, I want to sit on you.” Ok, chairs don’t talk. And if this chair did talk to me, I would probably have more issues than it trying to sit on me, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it does talk. How absurd would it be for the chair to tell me, its creator, how it should function and what role it should play? It was created with thought and care and love by me for a purpose just as God created each and every one of us with thought and care and love for a purpose. And He did just that! “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 ESV) “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV)
It’s easy for us to slide into the sin of me-ology because our flesh always wants glory and attention. The sin of semi-pelagianism (theology that holds humans to be able to respond to the gospel without God’s grace) raises its ugly head often because inwardly the old man desires to participate in salvation. Even in salvation the old man longs to take the credit and rob God of his glory.
Me-ology is important. It is important for each of us to study ourselves well, but the study of ourselves actually begins with God’s word. Romans 3:10-11 says, “Non is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Romans 3:23 tells us “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Me-ology is important because as we study ourselves, we recognize the great need for theology. A careful study of ourselves reveals the sinful estate of our hearts and the desperate need for an alien form of righteousness that saves us from the outside.
Theology matters. Theology affects the way that we perceive of God and the glory we give him. Theology affects the way that we behave and treat others. I once heard a guy say, “I don’t get into that theology stuff, I just try to love Jesus.” In the end, you are into that “theology stuff” and your efforts to love Jesus are affected by your understanding of theology. Knowing Jesus affects the way we love him and worship him and share him. Study your Bible. Study other books about God and in the end grow to know and treasure God more deeply.