Theology – Why Does It Matter?

Originally posted on Solid Food Ministries:

What we believe matters. It affects how we live, what we do and say. We can say we believe something but what we truly believe is what will eventually come out in our behavior and attitudes.

It seems many Christians these days are not interested in theology, feeling it is too “academic” for them. Theology is the study of God and learning who He is. We all have beliefs in who we think God is. Theology is studying to understand better the truth of who He is, correcting any faulty views we may have. We all have a theological view, whether we realize it or not. The importance of theology is making sure what we believe lines up with what Scripture teaches so that we have an accurate view of God.

For a personal example of how this plays out, here is the story of a challenging week we had…

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His Word Shall Stand Forever — A Quote

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God—
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever!

—Martin Luther

Theology – What Is It?

GeoJono:

Solid Food Ministries now has a blog! I highly suggest you check out this ministry that’s geared toward providing biblically sound content and resources for the mature believer or for those wishing to become more mature in the faith.

Here’s the latest blog post on the Solid Food Ministries blog.

Originally posted on Solid Food Ministries:

What is theology? The simple answer is that theology is the study of God. Why is theology important? Theology is what we believe about who God is, His character, what He has done. We all have a theology or an understanding of who we think God is, but it may not be a correct theology or accurate picture of God. Studying theology helps us to understand better who God is based on what the Bible says about Him. What we believe about God affects how we live our lives. Theology is worked out in our behavior, attitudes and actions, thus a study of theology helps us to grow more like God as we learn who He is.

There are many sub-branches of theology that deal with different aspects of what we believe on different subjects. The study of God the Father is often referred to as Theology Proper. The study…

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Eugene Peterson’s Thoughts on Bible Study — A Warning at the Very Least!

This is a quote by Eugene Peterson concerning time spent studying the Bible. Read his statement and then tell me why anyone would want to use his mistranslation of the Bible (The Message)??

Why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text which has a separate life of its own and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we’re doing it….[Christians] should be studying it less, not more. You need just enough to pay attention to God….I’m just not at all pleased with the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more the better. [source] [also see the edit below]

How does that line up with the Bible’s repeated commands to study the Word, to meditate on the Bible day and night, to study to show yourself approved, to talk about it when you rise and when you eat and when you walk along the way and when you lie down to go to sleep?

The Message is one of the worst Bible “translations” to use. It’s right up there with the New World Translation in my opinion. The problems with The Message have been well documented; see the sources below.

If this steps on your toes, please understand that it is never my intention to simply hurt people’s feelings with my posts in the areas of discernment and warning. My concern is for the health of the church and my love for you as an individual.

Please seek truth and discernment as you study the Bible more and more each day, and stay away from The Message.

Edit: I’ve been challenged on the quote above, that because of the way it’s posted, the context and meaning have been changed from the original post. The elements included in the quote are the elements of Dr. Peterson’s statements about which I wanted to post. I would encourage you to go to the source of that quote (linked at the end of the quote above) and read the entire interview for yourself. (August 10, 2015)

Sources:
The Problematic Message “Bible” — Stand Up For The Truth
Heretical Quote of the Day — Do Not Be Surprised…
The Message “Bible”- A Breach of Truth — John Lanagan
The Message “Bible” Inserts Earth Reverence, God of “Green” Hope — Sola Sisters
What Kind of Message is THE MESSAGE? — Kjos Ministries

Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Two-Way Conversations with God

It seems more and more that there are popular teachers giving instruction on how to hear from God when we pray. If you’ve followed my blog for almost any period of time, you know that I feel this is a very dangerous practice and one that Christians should avoid. Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries is the latest proponent of this practice that has come to my attention.

A friend and fellow servant of Christ wrote briefly about Lysa TerKeurst’s teaching on listening prayer. I wanted to share that with you (with his permission).

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries has a women’s study, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. She teaches how to hear the voice of God and build personal, two-way conversations with God. You can check out the video and her PDF document: How to Hear Gods Voice at: http://lysaterkeurst.com/what-happens-when-women-say-yes-to-god/.

In my opinion, she is teaching Contemplative Spirituality / Mysticism. Listening prayer, also known as spiritual formation practice, contemplative prayer, centering prayer, etc., seeks to entice others and lure evangelicals into ancient Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn. Central doctrines such as Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized.

Nowhere in scripture are we told to listen for God through internal impressions or voices. Nowhere in scripture are we taught how to listen for God. Nowhere in scripture is there any example or evidence that God spoke internally or inaudibly to any of the disciples or anyone else for that matter. Every time God spoke in the Bible, it was in an audible voice. Nowhere in scripture are we told to silence our minds and enter solitude in order to listen for God to speak to us. Prayer is never seen in the Bible as being a two-way conversation. God has not left us to fish around in the world of spirits and subjective experiences to know Him and speak to Him. The Bible promises us that He hears us. It doesn’t give us a set of techniques to hear inner voices and call these techniques prayer.

…God has spoken to us in His Word (Hebrews 1:1-2). He has graciously, clearly, and perfectly spoken in His Word. We have no need to be still and wait for His voice. He has not stuttered, stammered, or whispered. If we want to hear from God [audibly], we simply need to open our Bible and read out loud.

He goes on to talk about how those in Christian leadership are to honor their responsibility to protect the flock.

We have a responsibility before God to protect the sheep, to warn, to watch, and to oversee, realizing that perverse men are just waiting to rise up and wolves are just waiting to come in and tear up the sheep. We also have a responsibility to teach the truth. God’s people need to be warned about false doctrine and religious apostasy, such as what is being taught by Lysa TerKeurst.

It is my prayer and desire for all Christians everywhere to be discerning when they read and listen to popular teachers, blog posts, and even their own pastors.

The Berean Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

No Rusty Swords — A Song (and an Encouragement)

rusty_swordWith what we call the Great Commission, Jesus guarantees us victory in this spiritual battle. This victory is based on his own authority. In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” That’s a command, by the way. Jesus wasn’t saying that it might be a good idea to give this a try. He commanded all of his followers to Make Disciples.

More than that, he made it clear that everyone who is not obeying his commands is working against him. Matthew (12:30) and Luke (11:23) both record this statement by Jesus: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

That brings up a question, doesn’t it? Are you gathering with Jesus, or are you scattering? There’s no neutral position. There’s no third option. You’re either working for Jesus and his Kingdom, or you’re working against him.

Michael Card wrote a song titled, No Rusty Swords, in which he talks about this.

Don’t you know the battle’s raging
And you’ve got to join the fight
There’s an army of the darkness
And an army of the Light
There’s a side that fights for Satan
And a side that’s for the Lord
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

Christ has made the final move
So our side is sure to win
He became like us so we would have
A chance to be like Him
It seems strange so many fall back
When the victory has been won
You just need to ask yourself
Which side you’re on

There’s a fact you need to understand
Before you join our side
You need to know when Jesus calls
He bids you come and die
He’s invaded Satan’s kingdom
And He’s claiming all His own
When the battle’s over
He will lead us home

And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

So, are you involved in making disciples of all nations, including your own?

There are many ways for you to be involved, if you’re not already. They mainly fall into these categories:

Pray – If you are a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, you can pray. This is the very least that we all should be doing. Everyone can do this.

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” So, you can pray that God would raise up his children to go out into the harvest of human souls and make disciples.

You can also pray for the souls of the lost. Pray that our Lord will prepare their hearts for the message of those who will go to them with the message of Christ. Pray that they would eagerly accept the message of the Truth and become disciple makers themselves.

Pray for those who are actively engaged in disciple making on a daily basis. Pray for the missionaries that your church supports. Pray for the many missions agencies who are training and sending out missionaries.

Pray for yourself. Should you move beyond just praying? Ask God to show you how you can be more involved in obeying Christ’s command to make disciples. It doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a missionary and heading out to a foreign country (but it might).

Give – If you own the computer that you’re using to read this, I feel confident that you can afford to support the work of those who are making disciples. Almost everyone can do this.

We are commanded to support the work of Making Disciples. And Paul says that our giving is “a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” The money is all His anyway, so why not use it in a way that is pleasing to him.

There are several ways you can give to support disciple making. You can (and should) give faithfully to your local church as your church supports missions and disciple making (or it should; if it doesn’t, ask your pastor for an explanation).

You can personally support a missionary or a missions agency on a monthly basis.

You can set aside a certain amount out of each paycheck to support people’s short-term missions trips or other disciple making projects as they come up.

Go – While we should all be sharing the Gospel as we go along in our normal lives, perhaps you are in a position, or can put yourself in the position, to do more or go farther. Perhaps you can even make the decision to become a full-time missionary. I believe there are more of us that can do this than those who are doing this.

Those who Go are those who have come to the understanding that God may want them to more actively be about the disciple-making task. It can be full-time and for the rest of your life. It can be a short-term missions trip somewhere where you can be about the business of sharing the Gospel or helping those who do, either alone or with a group. It can be simply going out to a city mission to the poor to help serve food and share Christ. It might even be getting involved in street evangelism.

I heard someone say once that there are three types of believers when it comes to making disciples: the Zealous Goers, the Zealous Senders, and the Disobedient. If you are a follower of Christ, I pray that you take Jesus’ commands seriously. For Christians, this life is not about being successful (by the world’s definition), nor is it about being sure our children get the best life they can get. For believers, this life is about telling the world that they are condemned by God for their crimes against him, and if they don’t repent, they’re doomed. For us, this life is about making disciples. You’re either doing that or working for the wrong side. That isn’t my assessment, that’s what Jesus said.

Jesus also said that if anyone would be his follower, he must follow him completely, for what profit is there in gaining the entire world if a man loses his soul? This life is an eyeblink compared to what’s coming. For those who are not believers, eternity is Hell. We have the message of salvation. How much do you have to hate someone to not give them that message!

So, are you actively involved in making disciples? You can start today.

My life is but a weaving — A Poem

This is a poem of unknown authorship, though it’s been attributed to several people. It was made popular by Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.