Theology 2.0

Mike Focht 5/10/2024

In a previous post, I made the point that there is a difference between divine revelation and theology. One is infallible, and the other is fallible. One comes from God, and the other comes from man. Anyone dipping into theology must recognize this eternal dividing line before stepping into the realm of those things that tend to puff us up and cause us to forget our place in the eternal scheme of things. 

   With the difference between divine revelation and human systemization firmly established, I would like to offer three things that should define all good and healthy theology. 

   First, all good and healthy theology should be biblical. What I mean by that is that biblical theology should be firmly built on the Bible. Some theology is totally unbiblical, such as things we hear from various cults like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Scientists. Their theology of God directly conflicts with the revelation of God Himself in His Word. At other times, theology becomes unbiblical when it refuses to start with revelation and instead begins with the veracity of human scholarship, human tradition, or human experience. These may be additions to good biblical theology but become rotting cancers as substitutes or schoolmasters to divine revelation. If I can no longer prove my theology by quoting the Bible, something has gone wrong with my theology. 

   Second, all good and healthy theology should be rational. It should make logical sense and be rationally cohesive in its scope. It is irrational to teach that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control and that the Holy Spirit incites us to lose control of ourselves. A person cannot have a rational theology by trying to be a three-point Calvinist or a “Calminian.” We could list numerous examples of these types. If the Bible clearly teaches something in one place, it must also rationally fit with the rest of what is taught. 

   I will add that it is not irrational to logically teach that the Divine Being of the universe transcends our human logic. God must be beyond our intellect; otherwise, we would be God ourselves. My theology can be rational even with a truth such as the Trinity that transcends my logic but does not conflict with logic. The highest form of life should logically be the most complex form of life. The fact that my theology is rational or logical does not mean that my religion is devoid of mystery. 

   I must make one more point. Just as good biblical theology should have human scholarship or experience, but not start with those things, so, too, good biblical theology should be logical but never start with logic. I don’t begin with rational human thoughts of God and then work down to divine revelation. Starting with logic is a mistake that many godly men and women unwittingly make. If I believe that for God to be God logically, then He must be impassible (without emotion), but I find that divine revelation tends to show me that God has emotion toward man and even animals, then I must redefine my logic and not the divine revelation. The logic of my definition of the impassability of God needs to change to fit Scripture and not the other way around. I must never work from logic to revelation but only from revelation to logic. 

   Thirdly and most importantly, all good and healthy theology should be humble. Any true discovery of God will force a man lower before his Creator. If my theology makes me puffed up and unloving, it is a sign that I don’t actually understand what I claim to understand. If I cannot realize that my theology is speculation and not revelation, I will assume the place in human lives only God should assume. If my discovery of who God is, what God does, and how God works does not lead me to humble worship and adoration, then I love my knowledge more than my God. The more clearly a man or woman finds God in the study of His Word, the more clearly they will see God’s glory and their sin. Good and healthy theology will teach a man or woman to take the shoes off their feet and bow before God on holy ground.