“Can’t we just read the Bible and worship God without getting all technical?”
Theology is the study of God and is very important. It helps us to understand the God to whom we are worshiping. Proper worship is based on an accurate understanding of who God is. Anytime anyone says anything about God, what is said is something doctrinal. Theology shapes our image of God and if a person’s theology is false then his or her image of God will also be false, which would ultimately lead to idolatry.
In math, the proper answer will proceed from a proper path.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10
In the same way a proper understanding of who God is, what He would do, and what He wouldn’t do; will inform our doxology (praise) and better guide our prayers.
“Are all these big words and facts really that important?”
For salvation? No. Salvation is not found in head knowledge. However, knowing who God is will help us appreciate Him more, understand the Bible better, and also help us discern false teaching.
Often times we have conversations with family, friends, co-workers, church members, and strangers about God or the Bible. At this point you have just assumed the position of theologian. Apologetics, is the term for defending biblical and theological truths. When these discussions become debates or if you’re just defending you position, you have become an apologist. The more “tools” you have in your mental “toolbox” the better equipped you are to make a defense.
“What about witnessing, isn’t it true that arguing will often just hurt your witness?”
Actually no. If a Christian is just trying to win an argument then he or she will probably do more harm than good but if we allow the Holy Spirit to use the knowledge we have to change a non-believer’s false beliefs about the Bible, Christianity, and God, ultimately this head knowledge can make a huge difference in that person’s heart.
With that said, as Christians, we need to make sure the reasoning we use is sound and that we don’t jump on any “bandwagons” when it comes to modern scientific discoveries. Any scientific argument we use to show that the Bible is accurate could one day be shown to be different or even false, and what the Bible was actually saying may be quite different than what we originally thought but the mistake is not apologetics itself, it would be putting too much trust in man’s knowledge and not enough in the Bible.
An example of this is that through false assumptions and faulty dating methods, many modern scientists believe human life has evolved from smaller and less complex lifeforms over millions of years. While it is quite clear in the Bible that this is not the case and it can even be logically and scientifically shown to be false, there are many Christians who have tried to make the argument that God used evolution to create life. By “jumping on that bandwagon” and taking that stance, it actually weakens the validity of God’s Word because God clearly said in Genesis (written as a historical narrative) that he created everything in the universe in 6 literal days. So when a Christian’s argument becomes making the literal in the Bible something figurative, the Bible becomes a fairy tale instead of something real and that is very sad and dangerous.
I would be remiss if I did not include several disclaimers:
- Knowledge of God does not equal a relationship with God. Reading a famous person’s autobiography does not mean you had any kind of relationship with them.
- Rebutting objections does not equal evangelism. The goal should be to move someone towards the Gospel.
- Head knowledge without the knowledge and guidance of the Holy Spirit can lead to haughtiness and pride. You’re not required to attend each argument you’re invited to. Sometimes the Spirit will move you to be quiet even though you’re knowledgeable on the subject. Sometimes the humble unlearned person will gain spiritual insight and uncanny knowledge when they haven’t been taught by any human. Remember “God apposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
- If you read this and want to know more about Jesus, please send us an email at Theologetics3.firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to talk with you!