One of the phrases that gets thrown around in the Church today is “why does theology matter, can’t we all just love Jesus?” I understand the sentiment behind that, often times theology can be divisive, and can put people into camps and groups of thought that can often demonize people outside of their own camp. Well meaning Christians are often the ones who ask this, and I often believe it is often out of a concern of seeing the body of Christ fractured. Here are two quick reasons theology matters –
1) Theology provides a structure for which we believe.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16
Like it or not, we all crave structure, and this goes for how we worship God. When we look at how we believe from a perspective, it gives us structure. Theology allows us to understand who God is, why we worship Him and how we worship Him. When we lack a theology, we have no idea of why we do anything. Think about this, when someone comes to your church, how in the world can you explain to them why you do what you do? Why does the preacher say what he does, why do we take communion? All of these things are influenced by our theology.
2) Theology identifies heresy.
How do you know what a crooked line is if you have never seen a straight line? I am in no way telling you that my theological tribe has it all figured out, and that all others are in complete error. Paul even says in 1 Corinthians 13 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” So we can see that our theology on earth will never be perfect and we will never understand in full. Our goal is to do our best to understand the Word of God as He has revealed to us.
When I discuss heresy, I am not looking to argue method of Baptism, style of worship, or even church structure. What I mean is when people leave orthodox beliefs. A solid biblical theology allows us to better understand false teachings.
We will spend more time in the future diving into some theological issues. Until then, a book I recommend is “Everyone is a Theologian” by RC Sproul.