Podcast: Pastoring and Theology with Cliff Sanders
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Everyone has a “theology,” whether they realize it or not. The danger is developing a theology based on our preconceived notions, rather than on Scripture. God's word alone is sufficient for developing a biblical theology.
There are four main questions everyone should ask concerning theology:
Is there a God?
If there is a God, and what is the character of this God?
What does God expect from me?
What can I expect from this God?
Sometimes what we believe comes out in our toughest times. Our bitterness in a crisis stems from bad theology regarding what we can expect from God – unmet expectations of who God is and what he will do.
Better theology would remind us, as John Wesley taught, that God’s prime attribute is his holy love. All other attributes of God (his sovereignty, justice, etc.) find their foundation in God’s divine love.
Within Wesley’s cultural context, there was a great need for the church to understand what it meant both to love God and be loved by God. In our 21st century American context, the overarching and primary focus of the church seems to be “God is love.” In Wesley’s day, this idea of God’s love was strongly coupled with living out one’s faith as evidence of knowing God – the assurance of knowing God.
The current trend appears to be a loss of God’s transcendence that has given way to an extreme focus toward humanity’s “eminence” that borders on foolishness. Amid this hyperfocus on the prominence of humanity, we risk bringing God down to our level and judging him by our standards.
There is a danger of making our relationship with God into a “checklist” of things to do instead of an intentional and life-long relationship. Mindfulness and intentionality are critical in how we approach God and understand his character.
Karl Barth once said, “The theologian cannot do theology apart from prayer.” I am not dealing with “something” but with “someone.” This is something we should all remember as we do theology.
Referenced and Recommended Resources:
Making Sense Out of Spirituality by Dr. Cliff Sanders
The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Across the Spectrum by Greg Boyed and Paul Eddy
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology by Thomas Oden
Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas, TX, holds a BA in Religion, and is a student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is passionate about Scripture and how God’s Word impacts individuals’ hearts and lives.