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The Church: Getting Back to Theological Thinking

“A church that is neither interested in theology nor has the capacity to think theologically is a church . . . for whom Christian faith will rapidly lose its point” (Elyse Fitzpatrick Women Helping Women quoting David Wells). Television tells us what worship should look like. As a result, on Sunday mornings, we come together for really spirited services, we stand/clap/shout when the preachers tells us to, then we leave hardly able to speak to one another in love, half-heartedly serving, and unable to articulate what we have learned or how to apply the sermon to our lives. And, although we get our “praise on” in church, the evidence of transformed lives is hard to come by as we drift through the week joyless, heavy in spirit, and speech that belittles and destroys instead of encouraging and filled with life.

Furthermore, we proclaim a biblical worldview but our theology is an amalgamation of Christianity, humanism, and greed. We open our Bibles then turn around and sing me-centered songs, psychologize our relationships, and thank God that we are not as worse off as our brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, “we come to Christ for salvation and go to the world for everything else,” (Guy Lipkins). Educational pedigree, “naming it and claiming it,” anthropology, evolutionary science, or human will/power/desire is no substitute for good biblical hermeneutics. Therefore, we should be burdened with deep concern for how and what we are teaching in our churches.

We should get uncomfortable when Scripture is twisted for personal agendas. The ministry of reconciliation should be at the forefront of our renewed minds and not a fleeting afterthought. Bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2) should be more than mere recitation but a joyful anticipatory privilege to extend to our Christian family. And, worship should be a lifestyle not an event. Because we are Ambassadors of Christ and the Spirit of God indwells Believers, everything we do, say, and think no matter where we are should give God all the glory, honor, and praise.

Our worship, outreach, righteousness, leadership, and discipleship should look NOTHING like this world’s because all of it is in a class of its own. Thinking theologically requires that we take on the mind of Christ. This is done by learning and understanding the Bible, having a Holy Spirit empowered prayer life, longing for community with other Believers, and ministry that is modeled after Christ’s example which was motivated by love. If our theology is situational or pragmatic, then we muddy the pure testimony of Jesus Christ and His Word. As the church, our energy should be directed to helping individuals come to a saving knowledge of Christ and helping the community of Believers learn how to conform to the image of Christ.

The church should teach the image of Christ that the Bible speaks about, not the hybrid image we have created out of humanistic values. Our image of Christ wants to get even with others, self aggrandized, boastful, and contentious. The complete opposite of the biblical image of Christ and the very reason our churches are looking more and more like a chaotic wilderness than a refuge of hope. We must think theologically. We must think accurate, biblical, true thoughts about the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and our lives. And, the point of the Christian faith is that the only way to God is through Christ because we are too sinful to go to God any other way. As a result of accepting Him into our lives, then we are able to do the will of the Father as we allow His word to renew our thinking, direct our churches, and relate properly to our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what our circumstances or feelings tell us.

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