Monday, July 15, 2013

Core Competencies Part 3: With all your mind

Every Christian has a theological perspective. Unfortunately, for most believers, those perspectives may not be developed or discovered. When we look to scripture, the need for theological development is clear. Look at what Paul said in the book of Titus, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. ” 1

One word that pops out when looking at the first part of that verse is the word trustworthy. Christians' must study the teachings behind Scripture so they can overcome wrong ideas regarding the ideas that they are confronted with. This world is a sinful one and people who teach and study the Bible are not exempt from that sin. As someone reads the Scripture, those ideas are passing through filters in our brains. Things like life circumstances, input from friends and teachers, and hidden sins will skew a readers perceptions away from where the Holy Spirit is trying to lead them into a place driven by selfish ambitions and near sighted ideas. As we live our life, we will continually encounter people whose perception of theology is driven by a sin perception than one driven by the Holy Spirit.

If we are to love the Lord with all our minds, we will find that the process of studying and training in theology will help us make better decisions. The problems and controversies of the world are continually changing. A clear understanding of the Scriptures will allow someone to be able to address any future controversial topic. The better a believer prepares, the more effective that person will be at influencing the world for expansion of the Kingdom. 

Finally, the more we understand theology the easier it will be for us to grow as Christians. Wayne Grudem said, “The more we know about God, about his Word, about his relationships to the world and mankind, the better we will trust him, the more fully we will praise him, and the more readily we will obey him.”2  Believers who never spend time studying the Scriptures and challenging their theological understandings, are essentially living life in the same manner as an infant does. Infants are taken care of constantly, their every need is given to them.  Eventually, as they grow, they move beyond that and learn to do more for themselves. Theological training is a way to move from being a spiritual baby and begin to grow towards being more like Christ.. A fulfilling Christian life is one that is growing.

This is where church leaders step in. We must be continually challenging our congregations to not be stuck in a rut spiritually. We must provide opportunities for people to ask questions we don’t know the answer to. Church leaders must encourage people and create environments were spiritual growth and theological understanding is celebrated. The deeper we grow in our walk with God and the more we seek him, the better equipped believers will be to influence their world for the gospel of Christ.

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[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Tt 1:9.

[2] Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1994), 31.

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