Should We Get “Caught Up” In Different Theologies?

Short Answer: YES

Long Answer: My wife and I have been discussing reformed theology some lately. She is not reformed (yet) but she has had some questions about it. She actually told me the other day that she thought she had heard that Beth Moore was reformed. My wife likes Beth Moore and it seemed to impress her more that Beth Moore was reformed that the fact that I was (can any of you husbands relate to that). I did a little research and found out that Beth Moore is not reformed but I had not had a chance to share that with my wife. Last night she told me that she had listened to Moore teaching in Romans 9 and the she had specifically said that she did not get “caught up” in the different theologies. My wife said she went so far as to warn her listeners that they should not get “ caught up” in the different theologies.

A couple years ago I would have agreed with Moore in that we should not get caught up in worrying about which of the different theologies was correct. My thinking on that has changed. I now believe that theology matters. Our theology influences our world view.

Our theology influences how we interpret the Bible. It also influences how we live our lives. We all have a theology. Some people take bits and pieces from different theologies that they like and create their own theology. As a result, they are very inconsistent in their beliefs and practices. Let’s be clear, the Bible has a very clear, consistent theology that it sets forth. There are differences in interpretation possible in some instances but if we are consistent these differences will affect the way we interpret all of Scripture. Calvinism and Arminianism are both valid theological systems. When we fall into one of them, we will begin to interpret everything through this theological system. It will move beyond our biblical interpretations to the way we live our lives.

Consider atheism. It is a theological system and a world view. Those who hold to atheism live their lives in ways that non-atheists would not even consider. For example, since there is no God in the atheistic world view they are not bound by the laws God has given us. As a result, they are free to pursue any form of pleasure or personal self gratification that they choose. After all, there are no eternal consequences. Now, I want to state that not every person who holds to atheism is a “bad person” based on our human standards. I am only saying that if they chose to be it would not be inconsistent with their theology.

Let me conclude by saying that we MUST get “caught up” in theology. We MUST seek to find the theology taught in the Bible and to apply it to our lives. Once we do this we will have a biblical world view. This is vital to our spiritual maturity. We cannot mature as Christians if we are not examining our theology and adjusting it to what it taught in the Bible.

Agree or disagree?

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10 Responses to Should We Get “Caught Up” In Different Theologies?

  1. Teri says:

    Sir,
    I have no idea why your blog came up except maybe you said something about Beth Moore.

    I assume no right to speak to what goes on between a man and his wife. But because you ask whether others agree or disagree – please don’t do this to your wife.

    Before Augustine, before John Calvin, there was Jesus Christ.

    Will he ask anyone at the end, “Were you reformed?”

    I know you don’t. Please let your wife listen to Beth. She just agrees with A.W. Tozer and she was repeating what he said.

    God bless you,
    Teri

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  2. Tom says:

    Teri,

    I think you have a misconception about what I was saying in my post. First, I have not told my wife that she cannot listen to Beth Moore. I do not consider Beth Moore to be a false teacher. If she was then I would discuss with my wife the reasons I considered her to be a false teacher and once we were in agreement to the facts we would longer listen to her. As an example, at one time in the past, we watched Joel Osteen on a regular basis. As I began to examine his teachings, it became clear that he is a false teacher. We discussed this and now neither of us watch Osteen.

    Having said that, I want to be clear that I disagree with her contention that you should not get “caught up” in theology. We all have a theology. Jesus had a theology. The only real question is whether our theology is consistent with the teachings of the Bible. Also, we cannot truly study the Bible without getting “caught up” in theology. As such, we should strive to have a truly consistent Biblical theology. Anything less and we are not being obedient to the word.

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  3. Teri says:

    I humbly ask your forgiveness for my misconception of your thoughts and words.

    I agree we should hold to sound doctrine. I agree also that when listening to anyone on television, radio or the internet, we are called to discernment using GOD’s Word and the Holy Spirit that lives in us to guide us in all truth.

    Beth is a friend of mine and I know she is one of the most humble women I have ever known. She would be the first to tell any Christian woman that if her husband was against what she teaches to submit to her husband’s authority in Christ.

    She has been accused by so many and maligned on the internet that it just hurts me so badly to see brothers and sisters in the LORD devour one another.
    Not you, Tom, but many, many others have done so.

    Beth, like myself, came from a background of sexual abuse early in our lives. Hers happened when she was a young child and mine was as a young teen who was raped by the youth pastor at church.

    I know that I am chosen by My Father alone because I wanted nothing more to do with “religion” and left it all.
    “O love that would not let me go” is my story.

    HIS grace that pierced to my heart was nothing I could resist and I love HIM more than anything on this earth.

    I cannot speak for Beth, but I know that she has had the same experience and her love for HIS mercy and grace is amazing.

    Her ministry is to women, but more so to women who feel they have been too defiled for GOD to have compassion on them.

    I apologize for my many words. I agree with the doctrines of the reformed. I know GOD’S grace is something I could not resist and why HE would choose me is nothing that can be explained.

    God Bless you, Tom and your wife and family.

    I think you are probably a neighbor of mine because I just looked to the side of you blog and saw a Tennessee emblem and also Johnson City, TN church.

    Blessing in HIM,
    Teri

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  4. Tom says:

    Teri,

    No forgiveness is necessary. I apologize if my original post came across in the wrong way. I did not intend for it to be something against Beth Moore, only that I disagreed with her statement.

    Next, after reading your last comment I re-read my previous comment and realized that I had left out a very important word. That word changed the whole meaning of what I wrote. Please forgive my error. It was completely unintentional. Please allow me to correct it now. I left out the word NOT (I have corrected it in my original comment). I have NOT told my wife that she cannot listen to Beth Moore. As I said, in my original post I inadvertently left out the word NOT.

    I hope my original comment makes more sense now. Again, please forgive my error. I find nothing wrong with Beth Moore’s ministry. My wife has actually been through several of her studies and is considering participating in one hosted by our local YMCA that will be beginning soon.

    I work in Johnson City as the Controller for a regional insurance agency. I lived here for almost 20 years before moving to Erwin about 3 years ago. We are indeed neighbors.

    We serve an awesome God. I rejoice in what He had done in your life and hope that He continues to bless you and your family even beyond what you ask for.

    Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment on my blog. I invite you to comment again in the future if you feel so led.

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  5. People seem convinced nowadays in multiple truths, you can get to God in your own way, etc. Why would figuring out what the Bible really meant be important?

    Very odd for a society that places such a high value on science and technology. Areas where you’d better consider the truth important or you won’t get anything done. I can’t figure it out.

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  6. Jesse says:

    I guess it depends on why you want to learn more about theology. Are you studying it because you want to know God, or are you studying it like a soldier studies as sword — better to hack your opponents to death with it.

    I agree with Beth Moore to this extent: If you are more worried about memorizing the Five Points of Calvinism than you are about living the Gospel today, then you are the Pharisee more worried about kosher eating than the sick and hungry at your feet. I know a church trying to drive out its best Sunday school teachers by making them take exams on Calvinism – if you don’t get 80%, you can’t teach. Nevermind that hundreds of children are being reached for Christ – you don’t know what the “U” in TULIP means, so be gone.

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  7. Tom says:

    Jesse,

    I guess I would have to say that I want to learn theology for both the reasons you suggested. First, I want to get closer to God and you can’t do that without studying theology. Second, I want to be better equipped to defend God’s Word. The study of theology is necessary for this as well.

    On, a side note, Calvinism is a great deal more that just the TULIP. It is a complete biblical world view. If you have any specific questions, I will do my best to answer them for you.

    I have no problem with a church having standards for those who are going to teach. The church has a responsibility to make sure that the teachers are teaching what and in a way that is in agreement with the churches beliefs. Standards will help promote stability and unity within the body.

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  8. Jesse says:

    There is a difference between using theology to assist in apologetics and using it a wedge — it’s like the joke about a guy meeting someone on the plane “You go to church? So do I, that’s great, brother. You are Protestant, so am I my friend. You’re Presbyterian, so am I fellow child of God. You’re PCUSA?! Be gone Satan’s spawn — I hope you roast in Hell.”

    I am ignorant in the finer points of Calvinism – the point of my Sunday school story was that here are people who have taught children for decades, all of a sudden there’s a pop quiz and next thing you know, no more Sunday school. It is being done to execise control and as a power play, not so that everyone is on the same page. The people who gave the exam needed commentaries and lots of Google searches to write the exam, so it’s not like they were in any position to say “This is what you need to know.” This isn’t about growing in Christ or teaching – it’s about putting people in their place (not in a good way).

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  9. Tom says:

    Jesse,

    I would basically agree with you in your last comment. There is indeed a difference between using theology in apologetics and to divide people. One shows our heart is right and the other shows our heart is not right. Theology can be misused.

    As for the sunday school teacher situation. I feel for the people in that situation. With the details you have given I would have to say the situation could be handled in a better way. I would hope that the people who “fail” the test would be given some training to come into the understanding the leadership wished them to have. I am truly alarmed that the people administering the test had to use outside sources to prepare the test. It truly sounds like a very unhealthy situation.

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  10. Matthew 22:36-40
    New International Version (NIV)

    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    After spending so much time stuying so many diffrent forms of this topic. I come back to this verse every time. We as belivers get way to caught up in others ideas of there understanding of gospel. Christ made it simple for us and thats the bottom line. when we start debating eachother over right and wrong we miss the mark every time. Really we take what we read and may not like it and try to change it to suit what we like. I dont know why I even said anything on your blog other than I have this massive book on sytamatic Theology and cant help but see why so many wars are faught. If a person needs to know what Love means 1st Corinth 13 4-8. You may be saying oh Jeff its not that simple my good man. But yes it is that simple its why he said it and its why they asked. Be blessed and may God show favor in your ministry….Jeff

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