Ok so let me explain a little because these days, most of the time, theology get’s a bad wrap for causing divisions and arguments etc. I’ll confess up front that I love theology, but in my experience it is not theology per se that is to blame, it’s a little more complicated than that.
One group of Christians (let’s call them group A) tends to give theology a wide berth. They are suspicious because all they see are the arguments and divisions by people with a need to be right and to “defend the truth”. In that sense they do have a point, because many people might have even good theology but use it incorrectly and in ways that cause division and hurt.
However as I have observed these communities I have realised they have a problem. They are often breeding grown for all sorts of emotional, social and spiritual abuse, obviously to varying degrees. These people tend to place more emphasis on the heart and on the relationship with the Holy Spirit, trusting him to guide them rather than engaging the mind too much, which is often treated with suspicion. Again this sounds good but is too easily hijacked by man and his agenda’s, in the name of speaking on behalf of the Holy Spirit.
The second group (group B) strives for good theology, but it tends to be more head knowledge than heart, so while they have a good understanding of many things in the Bible, their hearts and lives don’t change. Truth, if it will change us has to be not only known and understood but experienced too. The problem with this group is they don’t give themselves time to experience their truth. I remember CAR magazine used to have a segment where they would keep a car for 10,000km and then do a detailed review on it, this group of Christians hardly takes their truth out for a test drive
(Quick confession: this is the group I have grown up and been an active part of for 34 years. Essentially when I say I have left religion I am speaking of leaving this group. I do not believe you can leave the Church because Church is something we are not somewhere we go)
As I understand it this group makes theology about being right or wrong and when one does that one becomes divisive by definition. The bible is used to win arguments, it is the answer book and they know where all the answers are. What makes the problem worse is that they believe they are right. This won’t be acknowledge but often the Bible is used to justify their current behaviour or beliefs as more right or scriptural and so they don’t grow spiritually because there is no need to.
There is a new group of people that I am becoming aware of and want to be a part of. These people have a deep, honest and intimate relationship with Jesus. I say honest because instead of declaring they have it all together, they are in touch where their need, their poverty of spirit as Matt 5 talks about. This group doesn’t interpret the Bible as answers, principles, or laws. It interprets the Bible through the person of Jesus.
For this group the Bible is not something to be mastered or systematised. They don’t do good theology to get a relationship with Jesus and his Father, rather their theology flows from their struggles and triumphs in a relationship with Him. They do not seek to master the text but to rather let the text master them. They don’t narrowly ask what is right or wrong but ask how our relationship with God and with man is either helped or hindered by that interpretation.
So in conclusion a lack of theology and bad theology are the same thing and will always be bad. Good theology is better but can also be bad when it becomes the goal. It is Jesus who must be pursued, it is Jesus who is the goal, it is Jesus who is our hermeneutic and if we can allow Jesus to interpret us, it will be Jesus who will be our theology and our unity.
Would love to hear your comments