On Knowing God & Theology

I read and responded to a comment yesterday from someone and it is representative of a mindset that concerns me greatly. It was posted by someone who was himself responding to a negative review of “The Shack”. Like myself, the reviewer had problems with it because The Shack was erected on such shaky ground, theologically speaking.

This poster wrote, “I would rather know God than know theology.” This is a popular and dangerous deception of the soul.  It is anti-intellectualism in its most prideful form, and I have even heard *pastors* make similar statements.

Restated: “I would rather know God than ‘the study of God'”. Or, “I would prefer to know God without  any study or knowledge of Him. ” That is sort of like saying I would rather know a language than all of its vocabulary and grammar. You cannot truly know the one without the other. Theology, quite simply, is the study of God. To know God’s character, His attributes, His precepts, and His grace–one must study what has been revealed about Him and by Him, and this is Theology. There’s no getting around it. You may no more learn a language by opening your mouth and making random sounds than learn about God without studying what has been revealed about Him through Scripture.

The Proverbs tell us that the way of a man seems right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to counsel.  Another Proverb states that there is a way that seems right to a man but that leads to death. The prophets tell us that the heart is deceitfully wicked. Jesus Himself warned that wide is the way of destruction and many follow it, while few are they who find the small gate and take the narrow way. If you refuse to study the map and the instructions of those who have gone before following hard after God, what makes you think that you are on the right road. Because the way you “see” it seems right? Or because you trust your feelings? Read the Scriptures and seek counsel from the great theological explorers who came before you, friend!

There are many, many deceived people making God in their image, saying “I would rather know God than theology” when what they mean is “I would rather define God the way I want Him to be than the way He has revealed Himself in Scripture.” If you would truly like to know God, consider this:

Deu 32:16 “They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
Deu 32:17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.
Deu 32:18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deu 32:19 “The LORD saw this, and spurned them Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
Deu 32:20 “Then He said, `I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
Deu 32:21 `They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,
Deu 32:22 For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Deu 32:31 “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.
Deu 32:32 “For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of poison, Their clusters, bitter.
Deu 32:33 “Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.
Deu 32:34 `Is it not laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries?
Deu 32:35 `Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’
Deu 32:36 “For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.
Deu 32:37 “And He will say, `Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge?
Deu 32:38 `Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place!
Deu 32:39 `See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
Deu 32:40 `Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, And say, as I live forever,
Deu 32:41 If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me.

And Paul wrote to the Romans:
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Rom 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.


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Filed under Apologetics, Doctrine, Scripture, Theology

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