17 Sept 2020
J.I. Packer was of the view that all theology (Christian Doctrines) is also spirituality (teaching for Christian Living) – this is in line with the teachings of the church fathers like Luther or Calvin and certainly that of the Puritans. I quote:
” Theology has an influence, good or bad, positive or negative, on its recipients’ relationship or lack of relationship to God, If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both. If it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride. Theologians are called to be the church’s water engineers and sewage officers; it is their job to see that God’s pure truth flows abundantly where it is needed, and to filter out any intrusive pollution that might damage health”.
We see how important doctrines and theology are to the health of the church and God’s people. We need to affirm that the preaching from the pulpit, the teachings in the Bible study groups and personal counselling among believers are in line with healthy and wholesome teaching for Christian living and relationships with God and with one another. In one sense, all believers are ‘theologians’ and they have a responsibility to defend and uphold the truth among God’s people.
The other very relevant point is to practice what we learn from wholesome doctrines; it is no use to be learning and reinforcing head knowledge without doing and applying the truth in your lives. Daily, we have to come to God to ask HIm to examine our lives, not in a negative introspective manner, but in an openness and willingness for God to examine our hearts and lives and to ensure that we do not deviate from His teachings and His ways (Psalm 139).
Are your responses in life and your reactions reflective of your convictions and understanding of God’s Word and teaching?