Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
To the Praise of His Glorious Grace
11/25/2007 - James WhiteTheology matters. The substance of what God in His infinite wisdom has revealed to His creatures is the marrow of the joy of the believer's heart---and mind. Theology matters because theology is possible because of God's initiative in revelation. What God reveals is, by definition, important, central, vital, life-changing, heart-enrapturing, for all in whom the Spirit dwells. And thanks be to God, when one is absorbed in seeking to think God's thoughts after Him, the resultant joy cannot be touched by all the enemies in the world.
Theology matters. If your theology is focused upon God, His glory, and His purposes, you will see man as a creature---the only creature made in the image of God, the only creature into whose existence God Himself in the person of the Son has entered---but still very much a creature, very much on the "created" side of the chasm that separates all of creation from the Uncreated, the Eternal, the Self-existent. If you are God-centered in your theology, as, I believe firmly, the Bible teaches us to be, you will start with a perspective that is completely beyond anything accessible to mankind outside of divine revelation. You will see all of human history, all of mankind, and every event therein, bathed in the glow of God's purpose, God's decree, God's power, God's glory. The resultant consistency and harmony thrills the soul, and comforts the afflicted.
Bad theology matters, too. If your theology is first and foremost upon the creature, you will inevitably have to "edit" God down to allow something as small as man to have center-stage. The results can range from the inevitable inconsistency that comes from such a theology honestly trying to deal with all of Scripture (a rarity, sadly), to the complete catastrophe of man-centered false religion. We can be thankful that many who start with a bad case of tradition and a focus that is off of God do not take their traditions to their logical conclusions, but we must likewise say that not only is God not honored by such theologies, but there is truly no logical, consistent "stopping point" along the spectrum of such teachings before one falls into the pit of heresy.
If you would like a great example of this, see these two blogs: first, Ben Witherington's very Arminian-originated reaction to Thomas Schreiner's biblical and sound assertion that the core of New Testament theology is "God magnifying himself through Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit." Witherington's comments should shock you, given how prolific an author he is, but they are helpful in that they point out just how far removed, foundationally, Reformed theologians and teachers are from those who openly embrace their Arminian roots. And second, John Piper's response to Witherington.
I would love to spend time with Witherington's words myself, but I have an extended and very challenging trip coming up, first to St. Louis this coming weekend, then immediately back out to spend a number of days recording apologetics videos for use overseas.