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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Thinking Theologically, a quest to know God

Written by: on October 16, 2014

 

 

Thinking Theologically, a quest to know God

 

October 16, 2014

 

So many thoughts came into my mind as I began to read “Who Needs Theology” because this book hit on a lot of points that have a lot to do with my theological thinking today. At Azusa Pacific University our program consisted of core courses in Bible, Theology and Ministry. My favorite of the three was Ministry and Theology was my least liked. The reason was I wanted more practical things that are relevant to my life today so I thought. After reading this it is important to have theology. Knowing God better has to do with thinking about God and critically analyzing things about God and that has to do with God. Because I was following other people’s beliefs and their thoughts on theology I got sidetracked because I began to think differently than they did and it seemed to get me in trouble. I used to love Theology more than anything because I knew the doctrines of the bible so well when I first became a minster. Through my encounters with God I began to do critical thinking about things I had learned and things I studied and I became confused because a lot of things did not add up. There are too many things that did not add up so I don’t want to get into that. I want to just hit on some points in this reading that has renewed my theological love and desire.

One of the thoughts from the reading that I jotted down was that we need theology. “Being a professional theologian exists to serve the community of faith, not to dictate to it, or lord it over it intellectually.”[Loc. 66] We have to be theologians to serve the community of faith. Knowing that orthodox religion is the offspring from accepted theology opposed to heretical teaching. Theologians are there to serve the community in not just teaching theology to educate but also to protect the Christian community from erogenous doctrine.

I like the concept that “every thinking person to some degree is a theologian when they think about God.” [Loc 178] I don’t think that this gives a person the authority to be a teacher of theology though. I think those who apply themselves to standards of scholarship and learning should be in the teaching position. Yet it is from thinking about God that I was lead to really start hungering and thirsting for God. The ability to think about God is the beginning to want to know more about God.

This book teaches a lot about sound theology and this separates it just from the idea of thinking about God. You can think what you want about God. There are so many views about God that I know, but it is important to have sound thinking about God. I liked this book so much because I got back on track of why I loved theology before. They say in the book that you can get off track in your theology if you forget the reason you got in it to begin with. I think a lot of times theologians do this. I thank God that this book refreshed me on the reason I want to study about God. I need Theology because I can’t help thinking about God every time I wake up. So “Who needs theology” anyone who is interested in knowing him better and who cant stop thinking about Him!

 

[I read my book from a Kindle book and it had locations not pages]

About the Author

mm

Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

8 responses to “Thinking Theologically, a quest to know God”

  1. Phillip Struckmeyer says:

    Travis, I was reminded by your opening of when I first started at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in the M.A. in Ministry Leadership. The program was broken down similarly to what you described at Azusa Pacific. The three areas of Bible, Ministry and Theology were the same and was when I first saw Theology as a clear and separate area of study. What was funny was that as much as some would say that the theology classes were the most difficult, they were the classes I enjoyed the most because of how much thought about God they evoked. I think as the church we over emphasize our teaching of ministry and bible and under represent and serve the thinking minds of our churches. Definitely a lot of good things to think about from this book!

  2. mm Brian Yost says:

    Travis,
    Your response to theology encapsulates what I often hear people say, “I wanted more practical things that are relevant to my life today.” One of the reasons that I did not go straight to seminary after finishing my undergrad studies was that I wanted to get into the game. We have done an amazing job of isolating theology from ministry. What would happen if we began incorporating theology and ministry as part of the same learning environment? Just a crazy thought. : )

  3. mm Jon Spellman says:

    Travis. It is a sobering realization when we realize that as theologians (professionals), it is our job to help shield and preserve the church from the impact of erroneous doctrine. We can so easily slip into heretical doctrines if someone doesn’t hold the line. Thanks for the reminder!

    Jon

    • Dawnel Volzke says:

      Jon,

      You hit on exactly what the Lord has pressed upon me this week when you say “it is our job to help shield and preserve the church from the impact of erroneous doctrine. We can so easily slip into heretical doctrines if someone doesn’t hold the line.”

  4. Dawnel Volzke says:

    Travis, reading your post lead me to think about how important the field of apologetics is today. I believe it helps to cross the bridge between the practice of ministry and the application of theology. Apologetics is defined as “a systematic argumentative discourse in defense…or a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity.” Your statement, “you can think what you want about God. There are so many views about God that I know, but it is important to have sound thinking about God” is profound and insightful given the status of theological knowledge across the body of Christian believers.

    My husband studied with and was greatly influenced by the work of Dr. Steven Tsoukalashas (sdmin.org) who has devoted his life to defending Scripture and to helping people recognize sound theology versus false theology. Although we were heavily involved in ministry within our local community for many years, we had no idea that there was so much cult activity within our own community…outside of the occasional JW missionary that would show up on our door. Yet, we learned that our little town with a Christian church on every corner also has several cults represented. When my husband asked neighbors (who attended Christian churches and even well know evangelical Christian colleges) about their theology, he heard answers that we couldn’t even have imagined…such as beliefs that there were multiple levels of heaven and salvation, depending on how good we were and how much love we had for each other. When he taught a cult class at church, he discovered that people couldn’t recognize the false teachings because they didn’t understand their own beliefs.

    We have learned to really question and listen to what people believe surrounding Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, salvation, heaven & hell, and humanity. Through this, we realized that many within our own Wesleyan tradition don’t really understand what they believe and why…instead they have blindly followed the denomination’s doctrine. As a matter of fact, many know the church discipline better than Scripture itself. As the Lord has opened our eyes to false teachings all around us, we realized just how dangerous and broad reaching the problem has become. As we dig deeper, we are seeing that part of the problem is the lack of theological education in many churches. Many are hiring pastors with little or no theological training. Although some denominations offer alternative education for ordination, the depth and breadth of knowledge gained is often insufficient to adequately defend the Word of God. What we see is a lack of depth in sermons and teachings…many say we are watering down the Christian message. Further, we often hear the do’s and don’ts preached instead of presenting deep theological ideas for people to ponder and explore. This, combined with the fact that people don’t read and study Scripture, create a breeding ground for false and dangerous theology to permeate Christianity. Recently, we have gotten more involved in a non-denominational church that I grew up in…the church is growing and people’s lives are being changed…much due to the fact that they are getting deep, sound theology that is made relevant every Sunday morning. The sad fact is that this type of preaching is rare, and we are fortunate to have a pastoral team that is highly educated and deeply rooted with sound theology. This church represents the minority of churches in the area. It is sad that mass numbers of people attend a Christian church in this town on Sunday mornings…yet many aren’t growing and moving forward in their faith journeys. Because our family understands theology, we recognize when a church is providing their people with depth…but too many people coming into the church doors cannot do this. I have to wonder, why are some denominations failing to stepping up to correct the problem? Why aren’t they diligently putting people with strong theological education in leadership positions to monitor and ensure that the pastors in individual churches are really prepared to defend the Word of God?

    I’d love to hear other’s experience with this…are you seeing the same?

  5. mm Dave Young says:

    Travis,

    Your authentic writing draws me in. This book also draws me to want to study and understand theology better. It draws me because like you I’m on a journey and I want to know God more. Also I appreciate your gratitude for others, professional theologians, who will serve the community of Christians.

    Thanks for your post.

  6. Mary says:

    Travis – I so appreciate the window into your soul as you wrestle with each book. Here you ask us to remember the hard work it takes to be good theologians. While we all may be theologians, whether we realize it or not, we’re not all intentionally trying to become better at it.
    So to Dawn’s question of why isn’t the church doing more?
    I hear you, in your church, that you are trying to do more. You are challenging where you can, even as you are challenged.
    As for other churches? I don’t know…other than it’s hard work, it’s emotionally charged, it doesn’t excite people to the degree that many churches want to entertain, not challenge.
    Now with all that said, I do have a question for you, Travis – is it really our responsibility as pastors “to protect”? I don’t have an answer. It just triggered a thought that made me wonder what the responsibility is from a leader when it comes to theology.

  7. mm Nick Martineau says:

    Travis, Thanks brother. There’s nothing like just “doing” ministry that makes us us run into a brick wall one day as we sit in the hospital with a church member suffering. I’m still not drawn to books on theology but I do understand their importance. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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