Many people exist who, because of pride, abuse theology and use it wrongly. We all know somebody (perhaps have been that somebody!) who has his or her own little theological topic. This ‘thunder puppy’ grabs his topic and stand on a little hill defending it against all ‘oppressors’. The fact that many of those oppressors are only created in his mind, because otherwise he lacks people to fight, doesn’t matter to him. I think that I know a lot about this person because I used to be him (and sadly I sometimes become him again)! I remember one incident a few years ago when I spent many hours arguing with a group of people and defending the doctrine of Paedo-Baptism. We spent hours discussing and arguing backwards and forwards. I was totally out of my depth and didn’t know the scriptures that I was quoting, but that didn’t matter. What mattered, I thought, was that I was arguing. We made no progress and the time was spent fruitlessly when it might have been spent in a way which benefited all of us.

Many of us are tempted to this abuse of theology, so the question is: ‘How should we actually deal with theology?’ How can we use theological study and doctrines for the good that they were intended? The question is not just: 'Are these doctrines true?' The question is rather: 'How should these doctrines be communicated (if at all) to others in such a way as it does them good?'  Helmut Thielicke believes, I think rightly, that the answer is that all theologians (and budding theologians) should be people of the Spirit and of prayer. 

'Whoever ceases to be a man of the Spirit automatically furthers a false theology, even if in thought it is pure, and orthodox...But in that case death lurks in the kettle. Theology can be a coat of mail which crushes us and in which we freeze to death. It can also be - this is in fact its purpose! The conscience of the congregation of Christ, its compass and with it all a praise-song of ideas. Which of the two it is depends upon the degree in which listening and praying Christians stand behind this theological business.' (A Little Exercise for Young Theologians Helmut Thielicke p.36)

To avoid the dangers mentioned above, focus on becoming young people of prayer and thus of the Spirit. It is, however, a work that takes time so don't expect it to happen all at once. And furthermore (and I don't mean this to be harsh) stop being SO selfish!! You don’t always have to give your opinion upon every subject being discussed. Give it up and start to become others-focused. This is how you grow up.

The primary way in which we become progressively more faithful servants of Christ is when we allow the Spirit to fill us with a desire to see Christ’s kingdom advance rather than our own. When we are busy trying to defend our own stand point or our own theology, we are seeking to make our own kingdom great, but the prayer of the Christian is: 'Your kingdom come, your will be done.' By making the advancement of Christ’s kingdom our reason for living we put ourselves in the way of immense blessing because we know that His kingdom will always succeed!

'If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal' 1 Corinthians 13:1.

By Thomas van den Broek

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  1. Romans 8:35, 37-39.....35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  2. How true! Also, we are not only being selfish when we concentrate on pushing our 'correct' viewpoint on everyone we meet; we are often being extremely rude and disrespectful!Even if we are 'in the right' theologically, we have no right, as young people, to treat older and wiser believers as dummies while we put ourselves across as all-wise. We should be very careful that any comments are made with great respect and humility, and not give any place to rudeness or irritation when others do not agree with us! "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is false." James 1:26


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