It’s rather sad that these two terms are not thought of today as complimentary. Instead, there’s a tendency of some theologians to speak down to others, boasting about their study and knowledge. Those of us who aren’t Theologians, in the technical sense, can also be a bit arrogant when we dismiss anything that sounds theologically complex as irrelevant. After all we aren’t religious geeks, why do we need to know anything about all those big words that end in “shun” (propitiation, expiation, redemption, justification etc)?!
In his book, Humility, True Greatness C.J. Mahaney, suggests that reading and studying theology is one practical means to cultivate humility. In particular he recommends focusing on God’s incommunicable attributes (there’s some more big words). He quotes from R. C. Sproul on the self-sufficiency of God:
The grand difference between and human being and a supreme being is precisely this: Apart from God, I cannot exist. Apart from me, God does exist. God does not need me in order for Him to be; I do need God in order for me to be. This is the difference between what we call self-existent being and dependent being. We are dependent. We are fragile. We cannot live without air, without water, without food. No human being has the power of being within himself. Life is lived between two hospitals. We need a support system from birth to death to sustain life. We are like flowers that bloom and then wither and fade. This is how we differ from God. God does not wither, God does not fade, God is not fragile. (pp. 88-89)
Good theology won’t give you a big head – if anything, it will make your head feel very small and empty. Good theology leads to humility and worship.
Some good books to help you think about theology.
- The Bible
- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (Chapter 11, 156, “How is God different from us?“)
Wayne’s lectures in MP3 are available for free. Start with No 31-34
- The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer (PDF download)
- The Everlasting God by Broughton Knox