Friday, May 18, 2007

"I am not a theologian"

(These are my own thoughts, but they have been shaped in part by an article I read a bit of time ago- John Gerstner's Everyman Must Be a Theologian

"I am not a theologian." You surely have heard this phrase before. You may even have used it yourself. On the face of it, the person saying it appears to be simply making a humble statement of their own ignorance on a religious topic or Biblical text. From my own general observation, however, it generally is used by those who wish to back out of a Biblical or religious discussion without admitting error or causing deeply thought-out (and sometimes heated) debate. Now, I don't want to presume to know hearts here, and I want to think best of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but is this truly a legitimate response? Is it truly humble and right to say "I am not a theologian?"

I humbly submit to you that "no" is the answer to this question. Why is this the case? Well, because words have meanings, and because the term literally means "knowledge of God." "Theos" is "God" in Greek, and "logos" means "word." Words and knowledge about God (who is the Logos). That's all it means. You don't need a degree to be a theologian. You don't need to know Greek and Hebrew to be a theologian. You don't even need to be a pastor. In fact, all you have to do is to have knowledge of God, and, according to the Word, that is everyone who has been or ever will be born.

Romans 1:18-20
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
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.

So, in a sense, everyone is a theologian. There is both good and bad theology, false and manmade "knowledge" about God and true and divinely-given knowledge about God. And, as the student of the Word knows (yes, Christian, that is you), knowledge often means much more than head knowledge. You can know intellectually about how the Bible was written, what the essentials of the Gospel are, the theology of the covenants, even what TULIP stands for, but do you KNOW God? Is He your Lord and Savior, your All in All?

If there is anyone who should call themselves a theologian, it is the Christian! He may not be able to tell you what a hapax legomenon is, but he (I speak generically, for us women aren't exempt) knows God and loves His Word. And by virtue of that love, he should seek, to the best of his ability, to study, meditate, and, yes, even memorize God's Word. He should seek to know it aright, and there should be no hiding behind "I am not a theologian." If you truly don't know what a passage means, say "I honestly don't know what that means" and do some study on it, maybe discuss it with some other believer you trust. Just because we all consult those more knowledgeable than us doesn't excuse us from reading the Bible on our own or grappling with Scripture individually. Be a consistent Protestant. More importantly, be a Berean! If you truly disagree with someone on how a verse is interpreted, state your case and work through it together. But don't say "I'm not a theologian" because that is not true.

I'm glad I know God and, by His grace, I want to know Him more.

What about you?


At 5/18/2007 11:11:00 PM , Blogger David B. Hewitt said...


A very good and insightful post. Thanks for taking the time to write it. :)


At 5/22/2007 02:16:00 PM , Blogger Rusty said...

Completely agree. Excellent thoughts chica

At 6/27/2007 11:07:00 PM , Blogger SK Schultz said...

excelent post, oh Uber one.


At 7/22/2007 07:20:00 PM , Blogger KJKEB said...

Good post. A challenge to the Christian blogger to be sure.

At 9/14/2007 11:12:00 AM , Anonymous stacey anderson said...

Thanks, Ha, yea...well, we had Nehemiah as in the Old Testament Prophet in mind.


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