Is The Teaching Of Theology “Weak” In The SBC?

There seems to be a general conception that the SBC is weak on theology.  I first encountered this claim several years ago from a co-worker.  I don’t remember the context of the conversation but one comment he made has stuck with me ever since.  He was a Presbyterian and he made the comment that Baptists did not know theology.  At the time, it did not concern me because I did not think theology was an important topic.  I was very uninformed!

Recently, The White Horse Inn played some question and answers they did with some pastors at a conference.  I don’t remember the date of the show or the date of the conference where they did the interviews and I don’t know the denominational affiliation of all the pastors interviewed but I was shocked to hear some of the answers these pastors gave.  The interviewers asked the pastors if their congregation would be able to define certain theological doctrines.  Most of the pastors said some could and some could not but it seemed that many of them also noted that they don’t use the theological terms and that their congregations might not recognize the term but would know the concept.

With the last couple weeks, I had a member of my Sunday School class ask me what the point was in studying theology.  I can relate to the question because I had asked the same question myself only a couple years ago.  Her point was that by studying theology we can go to far into legalism and create divisions within the body of Christ.  After all, we have the Bible, so why spend the time on theology.  I have encountered this same thought in other people as well.

Now, to the point, Is the teaching of theology “weak” in the SBC?  In some churches the answer would be yes but in others it would be no.  There are many very good Pastors (some well known and others not well known) at SBC churches who strive to teach the truths taught in the Bible.  Some use the theological vocabulary and some don’t. Either way, sound preaching leads to sound doctrine or theology.  Sound theology is essential to someone growing in Christ.

I think that problem lies more with the individuals in the congregation than with the pastors.  The congregation has to spend time on their own exploring what is taught from he pulpit by comparing it to what the Scriptures say.  If people faithfully do this, then they can’t avoid studying theology.  If they don’t then they will never gain and understanding of what they claim to believe.  We must strive as church leaders to motivate our brothers and sisters to dig into the Word on their own.  Once they do this, we can overcome the reputation that the SBC is weak on theology.

What do you think?  Have you come across the same sentiments?

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One Response to Is The Teaching Of Theology “Weak” In The SBC?

  1. Brett says:

    Good post. Important post.

    First, theology is very important. Perhaps the most important of all studies because God is ultimate and it is about God. Since everything is moving toward a climax in history known as Judgment Day, and since God is the Judge, there is nothing more important for us to know, than about God.

    Second, everyone “does” theology. Theology is simply the study of God so that we have proper thoughts of God, which, or course, leads to the opportunity to act rightly for the right reasons. Most people in America have a theology that is indeed weak, filled with contradictions and gaps. Sadly, most don’t care. Unfortunately this apathy is in the church. And much of the problem lies at the feet of those of us in church leadership for not being urgent and passionate enough about it to make sure everyone knows and realizes how important theology is.

    Third, theology is indeed dangerous if it is not steadfastly wed to application. Unapplied theology leads to cold, arrogant, and stuffy religion. Applied theology leads to life, joy, passion, joy, love, etc.

    Keep up the good work on this site, brother. It really does matter.

    Like

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