Who Needs Theology?

So this guy asked me to lunch the other day. He’s an old friend, a very accomplished studio guitarist from a church I used to pastor. We hadn’t talked in a few decades, so we caught up and then he launched into some questions that had been bugging him. “How can I know for sure that I’m a Christian?” “What’s the best way to explain Jesus to somebody who’s asking?” (He gets asked A LOT.) “Do you think the devil messes with my thinking on these issues?”

Hmmm. Pretty good questions.

I guess you could say that our discussion had a lot to do with theology. But it wasn’t pie-in-the-sky theology, it was real-life and high-stakes and personal. And it was REALLY important to him.

Sometimes we think that theology is for ivory-tower experts, people who don’t live in the real world, or something I’ll get to when I don’t have anything better to do. 

But what if theology was for ordinary people like us who live ordinary lives?

I like to think that theology is all about a “world-view.” A worldview* is basically the way a person looks at life and answers a few essential questions: Is there a God? If so, can he be known? Are people basically good or bad? Is there hope for us? Where did the world come from? Where is history going? What happens when you die?

We look at the world around us through our glasses or contact lenses or, if we’re lucky enough, just through our eyeballs. When we see people and situations, when we read the news or watch TV, we’re thinking something about all of it - and what we think is totally determined by our worldview. Everybody has one. Some people get theirs like they get the flu - they gather it unconsciously from their parents or schoolmates or friends at work or… Facebook.

A better way to get your worldview is to think it through. And if you’re a Christian, it’s best to get it from the Bible. But even so… think it through. Help your kids think theirs through - little by little, day by day - in what I like to call “teachable moments.”.

That’s why we’re doing this Sunday series called “Believe.” We’re trying to give the people in our church some time to think through our theology, our worldview.

So when a friend asks you to lunch and has some tough questions about life, you’ll have something to say.

*I still think the best book on worldviews is “The Universe Next Door” by James Sire.

– Steve Hixon