The question in our title suggests that everyone is a theologian, and if you define a theologian as one who formulates ideas about God and what He has revealed of Himself, then everyone is, indeed, a theologian. Every human being has formulated ideas about God. But some are more intentional about this than others and some have done a better job of putting these ideas together in a way that is true to God’s self-revelation, the Bible, and true to logic, that is, not self-contradictory.
God made our minds to work towards the elimination of contradiction. Our minds demand either a resolving of contradictions or a good explanation as to why the contradiction can’t be resolved. That is how we distinguish truth from error. If the commercial says this soap gets out grass stains but it doesn’t work on our clothes, our minds demand an explanation. Either we didn’t follow the directions or somebody lied.
The Bible is our basis for understanding God. Because it is such a large collection of truths related in hundreds of variations, it sometimes appears that contradictions exist. However, they do not and it is in the “resolving” of these apparent contradictions that we are often brought to a fuller understanding of the truth. When we collect, compare and contrast Biblical information on a given subject, we are “doing theology.”
Jesus “did theology.” In chapter 22 of Matthew’s Gospel we are shown a last-ditch effort by the religious and political leaders of Jerusalem to discredit Jesus. Yet every difficult question they pose to Him is answered with such wisdom that they themselves are discredited.
Then Jesus poses a question to them. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” (Matthew 22:42). The Pharisees respond with one clear line of evidence from the Old Testament: “The son of David.” Jesus then confronts them with a seemingly contradictory line of Old Testament evidence about the Messiah when He says, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, “‘the Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” (verses 43-45). The Pharisees are stumped. The harmonizing of those two truths seems impossible to them. They have not yet understood the dual nature of Jesus, that he is both God and man.
Jesus’ example should encourage us in our pursuit of truth. It is often easy to ignore one line of evidence or to improperly harmonize apparent conflicts. We must take the responsibility to be good theologians, listening respectfully, thoughtfully and prayerfully to all sides of an issue, searching the Scriptures ourselves to make sure all the facts are given an airing. We should read, listen, and study all we can so that we might not be ashamed, but are rightly handling the Word of Truth. That is what we are going to seek to do in this series called, “A Thimble-Full of Theology For Daily Living.” My hope is that you will challenged to become a good theologian, a worshiper preoccupied with the true and living God.