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Monday, May 09, 2011

No Theolog

I was discussing some questions regarding the Church Constitution the other day at the church where we've been attending for the past six months or so. I wanted to ask the pastor about some particular points. Now, mind you, this was not the senior pastor. This guy was the one in charge of visitation and that sort of thing. But he was the one to whom I was referred with my questions.

Most of it was fairly benign. "Your constitution holds to a pretribulational, premillenial return of Christ and I'm frankly not completely convinced. I'm not convinced of another view either, but is that a problem?" "No, not a problem." "I'm just curious why the constitution calls for church leadership of a board of deacons with the pastor being the top leader while Scripture seems to indicate that elders should lead the church." "Oh, that's just the way most Baptist churches do it." You know, mostly small stuff. And then I got to a theological catch.

"Your constitution says that the new birth is a result of faith and repentance. From what I read in Scripture, faith and repentance are the result of the new birth." I went on for a few moments longer, explaining my rationale and all, but he stopped me. "Oh, that's okay. I understand what you're saying. I'm not a theolog, but I don't think it matters."

I was, in all honesty, stunned. I get that everyday Christians are not theologs. A theolog is someone who is a student of or specialist in theology. Lots of Christians don't want to get bogged down in theology. It think it's a shame and I even think it's an embarrassment (seriously, people who call themselves followers of Christ who have no interest in knowing God?), but I know that it's the case. But this was a pastor. Indeed, he wasn't the first. I have known many pastors that just didn't want to talk about theology with me. And, while I can imagine pastors not interested in arguing or debating the subject, I'm not talking about debate. I'm simply talking about ... talking. Asking questions. Digging into issues. Just ... asking.

It really makes me wonder. Do so many Christians have so little interest in digging deeper into the things of God because they're not interested, or is it because they're not being led down that road by those who are leading them? And what does it take to receive the calling to be a pastor without any interest in the field of study and analysis of God, His attributes, and His doctrine? Frankly, I just don't get it.


Marshall Art said...

Just wondering here: Do you think it is possible that a serious student of theology conclude that some issues really don't matter? I ask mostly in relation to our somewhat ongoing Calvinist/Arminian discussion regarding election. As I "feel" saved and convicted in my faith, I don't think it really matters which is true. What say you to this?

Stan said...

I would conclude that a serious student of theology might think that certain issues aren't of serious consequence or that some issues are beyond their comprehension, but not quite that "it doesn't really matter". That is, a person serious about knowing God would think that knowing His truth would be important.

Dan said...

If you really wanted to have a meaningful conversation, perhaps you should have ask him how his golf swing was coming, or something more relevant than that old stale Bible and doctrine stuff.

Stan said...

Why, Dan, that sounds cynical. Surely you're not of a cynical point of view? (And, in case the typing obscures my tone, that was sarcasm.)