Why Do I Love God and Hate Theology?
A simple definition of theology is studying God. Since I love God so much and love reading about him in the Bible you’d think I’d love theology, too. Right? Well I don’t.
Learning about God and contemplating him through his word excites me. I look forward to it every day. Yet theology leaves me cold. Start explaining the essential elements of a particular theological perspective and my eyes will glaze over. I’ll either get angry or yawn. Why is this?
Theologians Make God Boring
It’s understandable. Theologians are academics, and if anyone can squeeze the life out of something it’s academia.
While working on my PhD I took a class on C. S. Lewis. I was so excited—until I read the syllabus. Though we would read one book Lewis wrote, the majority of the class would focus on books other people wrote about Lewis. Instead of reading Lewis we would read people who had read Lewis. While we could have studied Lewis firsthand, the professor inserted a degree of separation, and we studied Lewis secondhand.
Theologians do the same thing. They insert a degree of separation between us and God. While we can read God’s word directly, they effectively insert a middleman who interprets the Bible for us.
This made sense 500 years ago when no one had a copy of the Bible and most people couldn’t read anyway. But now we have our own copies of the Bible, and we can read it ourselves. So why do we need someone else to explain it? We don’t.
Yet I will go to church today and listen to someone explain the Bible.
Something’s wrong with this. It dates back to the middle ages when illiterate, uneducated people filled the pews. Things are different today. We can read and think for ourselves. We don’t need someone else to do it for us.We can learn about God through the Bible. We don’t need someone else to do it for us. Click To Tweet
Why can’t we cut out the middleman and learn about God through his word, without a theologian or preacher who forces the Bible’s words to fit into a particular theological package?
I love God. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t stick my neck out to encourage everyone to remove all human filters and read about him firsthand.
Read the Bible. Cut out the middleman. Let’s start a revolution.
What are your thoughts on theology? Do you study the Bible or let others teach you?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.