Some of you may be aware that we are launching a new podcast in the upcoming weeks. Entitled Theology Matters the goal of the podcast is to address woeful lack of basic theology that permeates so many of our churches. Obviously, we can’t do this alone. However, given that there are so few sources of correct theology on the internet, we felt this could be helpful to people. But why does theology matter to the apologist? Why is it important to have a firm theological grounding before attempting apologetics? Here are just a few thoughts on the subject.
This theological illiteracy extends to all kinds of areas. A 2018 survey of mainline churches and evangelicals, revealed that a full fifty-three percent of self-proclaimed evangelicals believe that God accepts the worship of all religions. Seventy-one percent believed that Jesus was the first created being of God, an outright heresy. Seventy-seven percent believe that man is basically good, not inherently sinful as the Bible teaches. Only forty percent believe that one sin is enough to condemn a man to hell. Forty-one percent accept the prosperity gospel idea that God will always reward obedience with prosperity. Forty-seven percent believe that worshipping at home is a legitimate substitute for church. Twenty-nine percent believe gender identity can be chosen. Thirty-seven percent believe religious belief is a matter of choice, not an objective truth. Hopefully, you can see the issues here. Basic theological knowledge is lacking in the church. But theology matters and it has a major impact on how you live and what you do in your daily life.
Theology matters because it is impossible to answer difficult questions without a theological foundation. For example, it is impossible to answer the question of why there is death in the world in any meaningful sense unless you rightly understand Genesis. If you hold an old earth or theistic evolution perspective, death has always been here and is part of God’s plan. That means that the future restoration to an Edenic state will include death and suffering. Theological foundations drive apologetic applications.
Theology matters because it is important to understand the character and nature of God. Consider the views of God presented by the Calvinist and Arminianist positions. One presents God as selective of those He will have come to salvation. The other beliefs God would have all come to repentance. These theologies work themselves out in different ways, both of which have implications for other areas in the Scripture, such as witnessing and views on eternal security. Ultimately, whether you accept one system, the other, or some blend of the two, it strongly influences how you proceed in your apologetic. If you witness to someone from a Calvinist position, you have no incentive to close the net because man has no free will to choose in your view. If you accept a more Arminian perspective, then closing the net and asking for a decision makes sense because man does have a free will to choose. Theological foundations drive your decisions about witnessing.
Theology matters because it affects your view of your fellow man, as well as how you respond to him. If you hold to a more traditional theological perspective, then you are likely to want to help people spiritually before you help them physically. In other words, your giving will be focused on the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, rather than purely meeting people’s physical needs. If you embrace a more modern, universalist theology, then you are more likely to focus on issues like poverty and meeting people’s physical needs. Theological understanding drives your interaction with the people around you.
Hopefully, the aforementioned examples will make it clear that having a proper understanding of theology drives an application to the world around us. How we view theological issues has a massive impact on how we live our daily lives. Yet polls consistently reveal that, even among evangelical churches, gross theological illiteracy pervades the church as we showed above. It’s time we start to change that because theology does matter. It’s not something we can be ignorant of and continue on our merry way. It impacts what we do and how we live. It’s time we started understanding it.
Stay tuned for the first episode of Theology Matters!
Do you know what’s going to happen when you die? Are you completely sure? If you aren’t, please read this or listen to this. You can know where you will spend eternity. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us, we’d love to talk to you.