To think about:
“A disciple is a student of Christ -someone who spends time with the Savior in order to come to know him better and resemble him more closely. As a pastor, I have found that many Christians simply assume that learning more and more about Bible and theology -Reformed theology in particular- is the same thing as growing as a disciple. It isn’t. Robust theology can be a powerful catalyst in this process, but like anything else, we can turn it into an idol. The danger is that, while we may begin with Reformed theology as the framework by which we more coherently understand and appreciate our faith, over time it can become the substance of our faith. At that point, daily living is more about mastering Reformed doctrine than being mastered by Jesus and his total claim over every area of life.
When does one’s attention to theology become too much? It’s not always easy to say…
But we cross the line when we are more focused on mastering theology than on being mastered by Christ.”
Greg Dutcher, Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology From the Inside
This pastor is right on the money Becky. I've watched this whole “new reformation” unfold over the past 20 yrs and on the one hand I REJOICE in the return to sound theology!! One the other, I'm seeing way too much arrogance. I don't think we can ever get enough of God's Word (theological study) as long as it is accompanied by a spirit of sincere love for God and humility. Seems like the church is always swaying to one extreme or the other. Thanks for this little excerpt. Love you!
Interesting post, Becky! Here's my tuppenceworth….our pastor teaches that there is a process of information –> revelation –> transformation. He believes too many Christians get stuck on accumulating more and more information, and never seek the FACE of Jesus to receive revelation, that they might become transformed. Along the lines of Eph 1:17 : “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
Oh how theology matters. And, oh, how strong the foundation is when we have assurance of our Precious Saviour's Sovereignty, and all the Doctrines of Grace! In our recent trials with our son's health, these Truths were such a comfort. The LORD becomes more precious as we know more of HIS character. But, yes…it can become an idol (anything can, really). I do agree. Thank you, my friend, for never shying away from challenging our hearts and for pointing us to Truth!
As John Frame says…”Theology is application. If our theological pursuits are not a means of the greater 'mastery' of Christ in our lives, we need to back away and reassess.
Thanks for your comments, Friends.
Persis, I absolutely agree with you. My love for the Lord and my humbling before Him increased when theology, robust theology, became the backbone in my spiritual life. But the danger to love theology more than Jesus is there. Satan is always ready to tempt us. And knowing my own heart, I can say that “having the right theology” can become an idol to me.
This is on my TBR list.
I would say it is a “both/and” not an “either/or”. However, it is easy to get off balance.
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I found that learning theology was much more comfortable than learning from the Master. It did become and idol and got in the way of discipleship me for me.
I put it (theology) aside for now.
When God began showing me the basics of the reformed doctrine in His word, I became obsessed with learning more. Then trying to share my “great” (with sarcasm) knowledge with friends who didn't understand at all. I can have all the knowledge in the world but if I'm not as he wrote “being mastered by Christ” it is of no use.
Yup. There is a real danger of letting tight worldview and doctrinal precision become a proxy for a holy life.