WHAT IS THEOLOGY?
Theology is neither a nine-to-five job nor a career. To know and speak truly of God is a vocation that requires more than academic or professional qualifications. The image you should have in mind is not the professor with a tweed jacket, but rather the disciples who dropped everything to follow Jesus. Becoming a theologian means following God’s Word where it leads with all one’s mind, heart, soul, and strength.
Theology is the study of how to speak truly of God and of all things in relation to God. But theologians can’t approach the object of their study the way biologists study living creatures or geologists the earth. God cannot be empirically examined. God is the creator of all things, not to be identified with any part of the universe or even with the universe as a whole. Speaking of God thus poses unique challenges. If God had not condescended to communicate to creatures something of his light, we would be in the dark.
BY GOD, OF GOD, TO GOD
Are you familiar with Thomas Aquinas’s definition? “Theology is taught by God, teaches of God, and leads to God.”
By God. Only God can make himself known. We’re simply children who love their father and want to know him better, who trust their father’s wisdom: “And He (Jesus) said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
Of God. Theology is thinking hard about what God has taught about Himself and all things in relation to Himself.
To God. Theology is ultimately about cultivating godliness, in oneself and one’s community. A theologian is a certain kind of person, whose created intelligence has been illumined by the Holy Spirit.
It’s true, there is a guild of “professional” theologians—mostly academics who populate colleges, seminaries, and university divinity schools—and there are scholarly journals and awards to be had, not to mention salaries and sabbaticals.
Don’t confuse making a living as a theologian with living out the knowledge of God. If you aspire to speak of God, do so to please God, not people: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?” Galatians 1:10 “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonian 2:4
When theology proclaims the deep mystery—God’s plan of redemption conceived “before the foundation of the world”: “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” Ephesians 1:4
It doesn’t promote cleverly devised myths, but reality. The world is passing away (even scientists agree, acknowledging that our sun will eventually burn out), but God’s Word endures forever:“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Have you considered whether academic theology is your vocation rather than as a pastor or priest?
Let us begin with four adjectives (Trinitarian, biblical, catholic, and systematic) that qualify Christian theological thinking.
First, becoming a Christian theologian means developing a Trinitarian habit of mind. God the Father has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ through the Spirit (what Irenaeus calls the “two hands” of God).
Second, the best way to stay focused on the subject matter of theology is to stay focused on Scripture. It’s no coincidence that the most important figures in the history of theology—Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth—also wrote biblical commentaries.
C. S. Lewis’s distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along it clarifies what’s at stake. Those who look at the biblical text analyze it from a critical distance. They see the text, but not necessarily what it’s talking about. In contrast, those who look along the text enter into its strange new world.
God addresses us in Scripture and requires our response. It involves reading all the books in the Old and New Testaments as parts of an overarching story. The theologian is a kind of cartographer of this new world.
The third thing you must do to acquire a theological habit of mind is to read the Word of God with and for the people of God.
The best theologians are apprentices to Scripture and to the consensual tradition of its interpretation. Catholicity is a well-known mark of the Church; it ought also to characterize theologians. Let the gospel be the center of your thinking, but let catholic tradition fill out its content and fix its circumference. Know this: evangelical and catholic are bedfellows, not rivals.
The fourth theological habit of mind involves thinking systematically as we read the Word of God with the people of God. What unifies Scripture is the story of God’s determination to see through His purpose for creation to the end, a story in which Israel and the Church loom large, with Jesus Christ as its hinge and center.
Let’s turn to your question about the kind of person you need to become. The short answer is “wise”: a person with understanding who knows how to live out what he knows with three pairs of contrasting qualities.
First, faith and reason. Theologians need to believe firmly and think clearly. Wisdom begins with the fear (reverence) of the Lord and theology with trust in God’s Word. Theology starts by believing that God has spoken in Scripture (the written Word) and Christ (the revealed Word). There is a dangerous gap between what we know intellectually about God and our actual spiritual growth. That’s why prayer is so powerful: Unless we are praying to God, we are talking, as it were, behind his back.
Second, joyful truth-speaking and hopeful truth-suffering. To become a theologian, you must be willing to bear true witness and call out false witnesses, casting down idols and ideologies. God glorifies humans and all creation, magnifying His own glory and subjecting all things to the Lordship of Christ, so that “God may be all in all”. 1 Corinthians 15:28
The theologian who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all. An Evangelical theologian once advised a student, “Many people resent being told they are not lords of their own lives.” Theologians must remind people that faith is not the same as anti-intellectualism, and that God is not a supporting actor in their stories but that we have bit parts in His.
Third, theologian requires a measure of boldness and humility. God is the origin and destiny of all things, and theology knows all things in their relatedness to God. Now that’s a booster shot in your rhetorical right arm.
There is a tendency to look down on those who don’t know as much as we think we do “the disease of theologians.” The cure is to love the truth more than our possession of it.
Augustine rightly rebukes those who interpret Scripture while ignoring the natural scientist’s knowledge of the world: Instead of embarrassing themselves and bringing disgrace on theology, they ought to shut up and listen.
So there you have believing and behaving as a theologian.
We often hear that millennials are more interested in spirituality than organized religion, hence the decline in denominationalism. C. S. Lewis warned, “Sacred things may become profane by becoming matters of the job.”
Read Scripture, pray, and worship. As you do, keep an ear out for divine prompting. After all, one way for faith to seek understanding is to step out in faith.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divini
Liberation theology is a school of Roman Catholic thought which teaches that a primary duty of the church must be to promote social and economic justice. It is a school of thought that explores the relationship between Christian theology and political activism on behalf of the poor. This includes poverty and human rights.
A CALL TO ACTION
Some leaders interpret the scripture as a call to action against poverty and justice. The said to the peasants, “let’s read what the Gospels say; let’s try to act on the principles that they describe.” God is in the poor who cry out; God is the One who listens to the cry and liberates. Yet, the Gospels are radical pacifist material.
There are those who pray for the poor but they want no commitment to anything beyond prayer. They are usually quite afraid to experience what it really means to be poor. Yet, nothing will compensate for the lack of experience. Its demands may be harsh and go against the huge powers that dominate us.
The French Revolution used the slogan, “liberty, equality and fraternity”. Capital liberalism seized the banner of liberty at the expense of equality and fraternity. There is also no real equality between the rich and the poor in this philosophy. There is no genuine brotherhood or sisterhood in such thinking.
Collectivist communism seized the banner of equality but it seriously limits or suppresses liberty and its fraternity is seriously flawed, since one group dominates another.
The original slogan is by no means simple yet it is still not impossible. With God anything is possible. There is movement of a popular Church. Its members listen and follow the Holy Spirit from below usually in small prayer groups. They are usually from the poorest and lowest level of the people of God. The Holy Spirit blows where He will and as He will. This was true of the early church in Corinth, where scarcely any were rich or wise or important, but rather the weakest and most despised in society.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. ” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
A “non-popular” Church is made of the middle and upper classes who are not suffering the heavy oppression borne by the people down below. God does not seek out the well-off, the powerful and the rich as the driving force for necessary change. But God will seek out the poor and the oppress. Let us not be afraid of the popular Church.
The liberation movement has prompted a great deal of hatred, persecution, imprisonment, torture, and murder. Yet, on the other side of the coin, there has been a host of martyrs that have died for social justice. The reason for their deaths is the greatest of life’s goods: love. Love ranks higher than faith.” if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
It may be absolutely necessary to attack the “mystique of violence”, that is enthusiasm for weapons. How is it possible to feel close to God when one seizes a weapon and takes part in the struggle?
On the other hand, in some instances love leads to a certain kind of violence. Let us look at a personal situation: a father catches a criminal about to rape his daughter. His love immediately impels him to defend his daughter. It is the same with an unjust aggressor who is seeking to murder countless innocent victims. The motive is not revenge or violence, but the rightful defense of the innocent – in other words, love (after all peaceful means have been exhausted).
The Church has always recognized legitimate self-defense and even violent struggle. Consider Ignatius Loyola who made plans for armed struggle against Muslim aggression during a time of his most mystical periods of his life.
Of course, the kind of action most proper to Christians is nonviolent action or active nonviolence. This nonviolence seeks to convert hearts rather than throw more fuel onto the fire.
THE WORLD OF THE MEDIA
An important element in this struggle is the world of the media. There are two ways that they employ their propaganda:
- An open aggressive way: simply calling anything that relates to serious change as “communist” gives a green light to all kinds of attack.
- A covert or “neutral way, which is far more dangerous. The subliminal (below the threshold of the conscious perception) are messages which are filled with values contrary to liberation: individualism, consumerism, materialism, ambition for wealth and even pornography. Our society swallows every dish until our consciences are utterly put to sleep.
A DIFFERENT WORLD
Eventually, some of us begin to sense that what leaves us satisfied deep down is not consumerism, but rather small steps taken in the struggle for a completely different world.
Our spirituality is eminently social, so want we want to build is a new society and not simply a perfect individual Christian.
The world is not moving in a great direction. Yes, the world is a mess in a hundred different ways every day. Most people don’t believe that it is possible to change the world.
But it can. How? The changes will not come from government, not from the economy or big business, not from science. The best group of people who are positioned to make a difference is Christians. How is this possible? It is simple but not easy.
We will change the world by behaving like Christians. There are over two billion Christians in the world and they have a tremendous influence.
Part of the problem is that Christians have blind spots. They don’t see things as they really are. They don’t see our marriage, our career, our business, our personal finances, our children’s school and even our own church as it really is. We still have biases and prejudices. Jesus wants to liberate us from our blind spots and to help us see things as they really are and to see ourselves as we really are.
We actually fool ourselves. We never admit to ourselves that we are greedy. We never say that we like money too much. Even stingy people think that they are generous. So we don’t see ourselves as we really are.
Left to our own devices, human beings are naturally vengeful. We are not normally slow to anger, kind and merciful. These attitudes are learned. God has a better wary of doing things: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” Isaiah 55:8 The magic ingredient is the grace of God.
The Sermon on the Mount is probably the most important speech ever given. Jesus turned the world upside down when He spoke about His way. How will I know when I am embracing God’s ways more? Here is the litmus test: when you become more focused on other people rather than yourself. Nothing highlights the differences between Christians and others like forgiveness and generosity for others.
THE EVIL WE DO
Why do Christians seem to have a problem to follow God’s way? Paul wrote, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”Romans 7:19 It seems that people are sinful and they turn their backs on God. Here is typical thinking: I know I am capable of incredible good, yet the right path seems too hard and sometimes I am too selfish and I want what I want.
God never intended for us to suffer. Suffering and death are a direct result of global sin. Sin always leads to slavery of one kind or another. Sin is more than just bad behavior. It is a rejection of God; it puts obstacles between us and Him.
If we don’t talk about sin and understand how it affects our lives, we cannot begin to solve our problems. Are not the dominant problems in our lives not related to sin? So let’s talk about the disease and let’s not talk about the symptoms. All the world’s biggest problems are just symptoms.
Yes, we are sinners and sinners need a Savior. It isn’t that God has abandoned us but rather that we have abandoned God, when trying to deal with sin.
WE MUST SHOW OUR LIGHT.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
To let this power lie dormant within us is indeed unpardonable.
Jesus said that the same power that was in Him could be in us: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 He stated that we should do the works that He did: “whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” John 14:12
He told us that we should go into all the world, and not only preach the gospel , but show forth the power of the gospel by healing: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16: 15-18
When you know that you are on an assignment for God, He will preserve you so that you learn to have confidence in Him. You will not want to do anything without the hand of the Lord hovering over you.
When you look back over your life, you are able to see the fingerprints of God all along the way. You can see how God preserved you when you weren’t even paying attention. He was working out an assignment through his manifold wisdom.
JESUS WISHES TO SPEAK TO YOU.
The Light who Came into the World
“I am Jesus risen from the dead, I love you.
I am alive never to die again. I am risen with all power as your Savior and friend. I know you all by name and I love you for I died for you. I desire the salvation of every person on earth.
You, too, My brother and sister, will rise with a similar body if you follow Me.
Before My sacrifice on the cross, the world was in darkness under the yoke of the devil. People could not have their sins forgiven and they could not go to heaven.
I am the Light who came into the world to defeat Satan and rescue the human race from his clutches. I broke his power by My Passion, Death and Resurrection and since then he can only face death.
I was the only one who could defeat Satan and now you too can do so if you believe in Me and cooperate with Me. With the power of grace, you can destroy his hold on you.
There are still many people who do not believe in Me in the world. These too must come to believe. You who are My follower, I urge you to be My witnesses to all your neighbors and friends.
As I conquered suffering and death, you too, united with me, can overcome all obstacles such as sickness, rejection, loneliness and even death and reach that joy that never ends.
My people, you are faced with life or death, salvation or damnation. It is for you to decide for or against Me. If you do nothing then you have decided against Me. I am giving you the graces you need, do not reject this gift of mine. I want you to be My friend, My close friend. Reject the world and the devil, and come follow Me. Now is the acceptable time. I love you.”
The above messages came to Father Melvin Doucette:
Fr. Melvin Doucette was ordained to the priesthood on and joined the Missionaries of Africa for 29 years in Africa. In contemplative prayer every morning, Fr. Doucette receives by interior locution “messages from heaven” to share with the public.
God divinely inspired the BIBLE . How do we know? Each of eight accurate predictions show a high probability mathematically. The probability of one individual fulfilling eight prophecies have odds of 1 in 10 17 (1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000). Jesus Christ fulfilled all prophecies, therefore the Bible MUST BE TRUE.
The Old Testament indicates another 40 astonishing predictions.
Christianity experiences stunning growth—from approximately 3.8 million adherents in China in 1956 to an estimated 87 to 100 million Christians today.
In the end, one Christian conversion will benefit the whole family. The gifts of the Holy Spirit of healing and deliverance will help the whole family. A prayer of deliverance of evil spirits will leave any member of the family with a complete sense of peace immediately. A prayer of healing from a Christian disciple produces 80% healing. The remaining healing comes from continued prayer of praise and thanksgiving until all the healing is complete. This healing comes from the Holy Spirit through the power in the Name of Jesus Christ. No other god or deity or doctor uses this power. This proves the TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS CAN’ T ALL BE WRONG!
Christianity is not a philosophy, but it is a relationship with God, your Creator, in Christ TODAY. It is not knowledge of abstract principles. How do we know this? Healing takes place TODAY in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Many Christian disciples use the gift of healing. They also use deliverance to deliver away evil spirits influencing people. These evil spirits cause depression, addictions and illness through all forms of stress. Only the Name of Jesus Christ makes healing and deliverance possible.
HOW IS JESUS STILL ALIVE TODAY?
Jesus is alive today! He heals today (through His followers) and in many cases it is realized immediately. How else can you explain the explosion of Christianity, the world’s largest religion, on earth: 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.
Christians know and feel His Presence; they communicate with Him personally; Christian prayers are always answered.
This author has been given the Gift of Healing only because he is a Christian Lay Missionary, who travels two to three places every year. On his last trip to Columbia he successfully transferred his Gift to his Spanish translators, who were able to heal as he did. He has healed Muslims to their great surprise.
He also delivers away evil spirits along with their healing. All those who are delivered from evil spirits feel a complete physical sense of peace.
DREAMS AND VISIONS
God can give a message to those non-Christians to change their heart. God knows faith will be developed eventually. God will come to you in the form of dreams or visions. So be sensitive to any dreams or visions, when you ask God for it earnestly.
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
- Christians don’t shout, “I live a clean life!” Christians whisper “I feel lost, but now God found me and God forgives me.”
- Christians don’t speak with pride. They confess that they stumble and need Christ to be their guide.
- Christians don’t say,” I’m strong.” They say they try to be strong because they need strength.
- Christians don’t brag about success, but they admit that they fail and they need God to clean the mess.
- Christians don’t claim to be perfect, but God still believes in them.
- Christians still feel the sting of pain. They have their share of headaches but they still call upon His Name.
- Christians are not holier than others. They are simple sinners who receive God’s unbelievable Grace.
Christianity on a Table Napkin:
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
God the Father will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain. We will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is The Holy Spirit will have made all things new. Eternal joy will begin. “For the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name.” Luke 1: 49
Are we not like Barabbas who was justly condemned for murder, but saved by the innocent Jesus on the cross? Are we not like the adulterous woman, deserving of death by stoning, to whom Jesus says, “I do not condemn you”? And Jesus saved them both. In fact, Jesus came to earth specifically to look for and save those who were lost, like you.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool”. Isaiah 1:18
You may need some counseling with a pastor, priest or competent Christian worker, who will introduce you to a Short Course on Who is Jesus? Start by reading a short biography of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Read several verses before going to bed and read the same verse upon arising. He will defend you from attacks of the enemy when you ask Him.
Healing and Deliverance (Ctrl + Click to follow Link)
- Abuse and Trauma
- A Vision of Hell
- Breaking Free of Controlling Spirits
- Can a Smart Person believe in God
- Cigarette and Drug Bust
- Deliverance from Depression
- Deliverance from Drugs and Addiction
- Deliverance from Prison
- Deliverance PowerPoint
- Divine Healing
- Do you Know an Alcoholic?
- Don’t be Afraid of Fear
- Gluttony is Not Merely Overeating
- God’s Protection and Blessing
- Healing and Deliverance General Information
- Healing and Deliverance Instructions
- Healing Hands: Father Melvin Doucette
- Healing of Relationships
- How to Keep Your Healing Once you have Received it
- Insomnia and Deliverance
- Jesus Cures a Blind Man at Bethsaida
- Joy and Sorrow
- Let’s Start
- Lust and its Brother Pornography
- Physical Healing
- Power of Healing
- Prisoner of Unforgiveness
- The Healing Power of Jesus
- The High Stakes of Gambling Addiction
- Three Ways of Self-Deliverance
- Ungodly Soul Ties
- Ungodly Superstitious Beliefs
- Your Part
Where do we go from here?
- 12 Functions of the Holy Spirit
- At the Name of Jesus every Knee should Bow
- Baptized in the Spirit: Being Born Again
- Born Again for Dummies
- Does God have a Special Place in His Heart for Canada?
- Embracing the Call
- From Sea to Sea: Nations keeping God’s Law
- God Wants You!
- God’s Will for YOU
- I Can’t Find God: an Anguish Cry!
- I Have a Right to my own Opinion
- Is there Life after Death?
- JESUS IS MY LORD
- Jesus Says to Come to Me – I Will Make You Happy.
- Joy and Sorrow
- Knowing God
- Life After Near-Death Experiences
- Life can be wonderful but brief
- Living in Glory
- Meditation and Contemplation
- Pathway to Holiness
- Release in the Spirit
- Something Wonderful is about to Happen!
- Spirituality for Dummies
- Suffering does not Rob you of Joy
- The Blood of Jesus Christ
- The Difference between Christianity
- The Faith Factor: We Cannot Please God without Faith:.
- THE HOLY SPIRIT: the Principal Agent of Mission
- The Life and Person of the Holy Spirit
- The Name of Jesus
- The Million Dollar Question
- The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit
- THE PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT
- The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross
- The Word of God
- Trauma and Abuse
- We Reap what We Sow
- Welcome to God
- What Does God Really Want?
- What does it mean to be HOLY?
- What Is the Difference Between Spirit and Soul?
- What’s Your SQ?
- Who Am I In Christ?
- Who do they say that I am?
- Why Pray?
- World Missions
- Would you like to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit?
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- An Irrigation System: NORTHydro.com
- A Rabbit and Fish Farm: AfriCAPITALISM.us
- An Agroforestry Intercrop System: LivingWaterIs.com
- The Charitable Arm: SunnyUp.net
- Living Water Micro Finance: LivingWaterMicroFinance.org
- Thunder of Justice: ThunderofJustice.com
- Deliverance Is: Deliveranceis.com
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