Theology: Do we need it?

F. Leroy Forlines, whom I had the privilege to study under, once wrote in his book The Quest For Truth that,

“It is impossible for us to escape asking such questions as: Is there a God? If so, what is He like? How can I know Him? Who am I? Where am I? How can I tell right from wrong? Is there life after death? What should I and what can I do about guilt? How can I deal with my inner pain? These are what I call the inescapable questions of life. When an individual fails to find satisfying answers to these questions, he or she will fail to find meaning in life.”

All of these questions that Forlines has proposed, deal with life’s “meaning.” It seems that Forlines contends to argue that everyone, at some point in life, will answer these questions to find satisfaction and ultimately rest with the answers. The only problem that most people have is that they base answers on opinion or reasoning rather than truth. This brings up another question, “Is there such a thing as absolute truth?” I would argue yes. If someone were to declare that there are no absolutes, they would be stating their absolute that there are no absolutes. Therefore, they would contradict their argument with their rebuttal. In the world we live in, personal opinion and culture determine the beliefs on individual people. We live in a society that demands tolerance of everyone’s beliefs, except Christian’s. In his book, The Lie, Ken Ham has similar thoughts to this problem of relativism. He says,

“I believe we are increasingly in a situation similar to that described in the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). When there is no absolute authority (i.e., when the Bible is not the foundation of our thinking), moral relativism permeates the culture.”

If the assessments of Forlines and Ham are correct, we have a dilemma on our hands, as evangelical Christians. We are already living in a day where our nation is tolerant of all beliefs but Christianity. With these inescapable questions of life that Forlines lists, it is clear to me that these questions deal with nothing more than absolute truth and theology. These questions all point to the source of absolute truth, which is God the Father. When one answers these questions for themselves, the only logical explanation is that there is a God, who is the Creator of all things living, who takes pride in his creation, and who cares about his people deeply enough to provide a way to Him through His son. And that is just it, these questions really are inescapable. No one can go outside and look into space and not consider these questions.

I am eluding to this, because I want you to understand that theology is a part of life. In essence, everyone is a theologian in some sense. We all have questions that cannot be answered by human intellect alone. Theology is the basis for any question regarding life and its meaning. Meaning that God is the answer to our “unanswered” questions in life. Roger Olson further considers this thought also. He writes,

“The question of God is implied in all of life’s ultimate questions. Whenever and wherever a person reflects on the great “Why?” questions of life, at least indirect reflection on or toward God is involved. God is the horizon of all human wondering. This means that in amazing ways even popular authors, composers, playwrights, poets and creators of pop culture function as theologians.”

Olson goes on to explain the great actor, Woody Allen, and the films he made. In one specific film Allen starred, there were questions about the exclamation from the Psalmist, “Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?” Olson determines that if there is no God, there is no need to question this thought. In fact, this is not even an agonizing question at all! Olson writes,

“”Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?” is an agonizing question only if God is the ultimate horizon of human existence. Then the question is ultimately a question about God: “Why does God allow such things to happen?””

There is no doubt in my mind that everyone is a theologian, whether they realize it or not. Everyone can look up into the sky and understand that the universe did not come into existence from a gaseous belch. There is a Supreme Creator of all things, and it is the God of the Bible. I believe it is crucial for Christians to understand the importance of theology and how it applies, not only to our lives, but to our evangelism to reach the world for Christ. We, as believers, need the knowledge of theology and the application of it. We need to embrace theology in the church. Why? Because theology points to God as the sovereign Lord of the universe who is concerned about His people and want a personal relationship with them. With theology, we answer life’s inescapable questions and we can help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make his name known among all nations.