There’s this word that gets thrown around a lot in the Christian world: theology. At it’s root it means “God’s Word”, but most of the time it’s taken to mean “the study of God.” Sounds good right. I think so. That’s what this blog is all about. “Studying to show myself approved” as it were.
But can you know a Christian based on their theology?
Think about it. There are a lot of so-called Christians out there that know the right answers, that have the right words, seem to be doing the right things, maybe even have a semblance of spiritual power—they’re theology seems good. On the other hand, there are some so-called Christians out there that don’t have all the right answers and are pretty ignorant of the ways of the church. But do they have bad theology?
For that matter, should theology be the rule of thumb that is used in looking at a Christian?
Jesus gives the answer. He says, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
What fruits is He talking about?
How about these fruits? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Peter reiterates the list, “Applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:4-8)
There’s only one perfect theology out there, and that’s Jesus Christ. In fact John 1 calls Him the “logos" of "Theos" or "Word of God." It wouldn’t be far fetched to translate it, “In the beginning was theology . . . and theology became flesh.” It stands to reason then if you know Him, and abide in Him, you’ll be fruitful. All these things will be added to you. It’s the great promise He gives if you seek Him first. So take your nose out of the books once and awhile, and fall on your knees before our great God and King, and ask Him what He thinks about theology.
You may just walk away a little more fruitful.
(Special thanks to my good friend and brother in Christ, Aaron Halvorsen, for getting me thinking about this subject with his post: “Trees Don’t Eat Their Own Fruit” on http://www.aaronandjenn.com/ He and his wife work with CRU at MIT and Emerson College. I’d encourage you to visit their site and support their ministry sharing the Gospel at one of the top engineering schools and leading Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation.)