The Nature And Importance of Theology
Theology has several meanings which include Theos (God) Ology (Word), the doctrine of God in a narrow sense and in a broader sense all Christian doctrines that deal with the relations that God to the universe. Theology is also science (Latin to know). Science basically means knowledge or series of facts. Theology is science because it presents series of facts about God and divine things presented in an orderly and logical manner. Theology can also mean doctrine.
Theology is necessary to the organizing instinct of the intellect. It is also necessary due to the pervasive character of unbelief in our generation. We choose to be affected by our environment and heredity and our associations. Theology is also necessary because absolutes are concepts that are not modifiable by factors such as culture, individual psychology or circumstances but that which is perfect and unchangeable. Theology is also necessary to refute humanism or the false ideology of rationalism. Humanism would have us believe that man evolved into what he is now and without any outside intervention from God has become what he is. Man becomes the center of his world integration point, and he tries rationally from this point to find knowledge, meaning
and value to life. In the end men accept life unfulfilling; searching but never finding answers that are vital to, not only this life, but the life to come.
The scriptures have a full and consistent world view and life view. The Bible is to the theologian what nature is to the scientist; a body of organized or partly organized facts.
The Development Of An Intelligent Christian Character
There are erroneous beliefs about Christian character that need to be addressed. First, there is the idea that little or no connection exists between a man's belief and his character. Contrary to that is the truth that we are what we think. Second, theology has a deadening effect on spiritual life. This is an assumption that is ludicrous because knowing what you believe empowers your spiritual life and strengthens you in the face of opposition. Faith comes from knowledge, mental assent and appropriation. We know, we agree and then we act on what we know and believe. It
is that simple. Those who possess knowledge that they believe is irrefutable will be more willing
to die for their beliefs than those who merely give mental assent to anything. Theology does not merely indicate the norm of conduct but gives us the motivation to live up to our beliefs. The Holy scriptures show Jesus and the disciples and apostles as teachers of doctrine. Mark 4:2,
Acts 2:42 and 2 Timothy 3:10.
The Possibility Of Theology
Revelation - Revelation is the act of God whereby he discloses himself or communicates truth to the mind. In that way he makes manifest to his creatures that which couldn't be known in any other way. This is generally the disclosure of things that were unknown to the man before. So then Revelation is not discovering God but God revealing himself to man. Revelation can be progressive at times or it may occur in a single instantaneous act. It may also extend over a long period of time. It can be perceived in varying degrees of fullness and clarity. Receptivity is key.
Two Types Of Revelation
Revelation is general revelation and special revelation. General revelation includes nature, history and conscience. Men have always seen the revelation of God in nature. Psalms 19:1-3
In history we can see God's plan unfolding year after year, decade after decade and century after century. Those who know the Lord also see God's authoritative will influencing decisions. The Christian system finds in history revelation of the power and providence of God. Psalms 75:6-7 and Acts 17:26-27
God has revealed himself in the history of Israel by Israel's conception of God and God's dealing with Israel in scripture. God revealed himself to Israel and through Israel to the whole world.
The conscience tells us that God has standards and that he has built those standards into every person at birth. One humorous evidence is how little babies sitting in a stroller are tempted to touch a forbidden item in the room. When the parents leave the room, the baby looks around to see if anyone is looking and then goes for the forbidden thing. The baby's conscience tells him that what he is about to do is wrong but he shuts it down in order to do what he wants. So then conscience is that thing within all of us that gives us a sense of what is right and what is wrong. When adults say "that's not right" they are appealing to a standard they believe to be right and understand through their conscience when they violate that standard. Because of this amazing inner witness nobody can say the don't know right from wrong. Then there is the herd instinct where we value or devalue a standard in order to maintain good interpersonal relationships. In certain groups the phrase "rules are made to be broken" is a reality they cherish. Others believe rules are intended to be obeyed for our own good. We also do things out of a sense that we must preserve ourselves in one way or the other. Our conscience determines which idea prevails in our lives and which behaviors should be suppressed or encouraged. Note: Conscience acts but is not self-imposed. A FINAL WORD ON GENERAL REVELATION: General revelation does not save us but it can lead us to salvation. It shows us our need but doesn't introduce us to the supplier.
Special revelation is when God makes himself known at special times to specific people. The Bible states that men of God spoke in the past as they were moved by the Holy Spirit who is one part of the Godhead. So the words these men spoke and wrote were directed by God through a special revelation of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament on the day of Pentecost a new thing occurred as groups of people were baptized in the Holy Spirit simultaneously. After receiving the special impartation they were found to be bold in preaching the truth without compromise. Some were executed for their faith and so it is until this day. In the Old Testament God revealed himself through miracles such as the ten "prophesied plagues" in Egypt and the burning bush on Sinai. Jesus came casting out demons and healing the sick and blind and lame. This ability to pray for others to be healed has never been rescinded, and where people believe miracles still happen. That has been my personal experience now for over 44 years. In some miracles natural laws are overridden or intensified (ie; the Red Sea crossing). Genuine miracles are a special revelation of God's presence and power and prove his existence, presence, concern for man and his power.
Revelation Through Prophecy
Prophecy is the foretelling of events; not by virtue of human insight or foreknowledge, but by virtue of direct communication from God. There are believed to be about 300 or more prophesies given in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ alone. The possibility of even one of those prophecies being fulfilled by chance is 1 followed by 181 zeros or like finding and atom specially marked among all the atoms in the universe while walking among them blindfolded.
Revelation through Jesus Christ reveals God's existence, reveals God's nature and reveals God's will. An important scripture concerning this would be 1 Timothy 3:16.
Revelation of God through personal experience always affects a transformation in those who experience that transformation. 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Psalms 34:5 God has given men special ability to enable them to receive revelation. Romans 1:19-20 specifically states that God has put the knowledge of himself in every man so that none have an excuse to deny him.