Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why theology matters

Yesterday, I was visited by a couple of Mormon missionaries. Each of them had only been doing missionary work for four months, and they openly admitted that they didn't know much. I asked them a lot of questions about the nature of God and whether various things I had heard about Mormons were official teachings of the LDS Church or whether they were merely the opinion of various people within the church. At one point, one of them said something to the effect that theology (the study of God) is not important. What's important is just the gospel. It's not important whether God is capable of evil, whether God had a father before him, whether God is the only god, whether God changes/progresses, etc. I explained to them why I think theology DOES matter, and I thought it would make a good blog post.

First, it's because if we are to truly worship God, we must know something about him. Worship includes praise, and praise is an appreciation of somebody's character, attributes, and accomplishments. But if you didn't know anything about somebody, what would you praise them for? Imagine if I told you that you needed to worship Brian. Your first question would be, "Who is Brian?" The only way I can answer that question is to tell you something about Brian. In the same way, if Christians are going to tell people they need to worship Yahweh, then we need to give some content to that word. Without knowing something about God, "Yahweh" is just a word.

Second, it's because having accurate information about God (i.e. correct theology) helps us to distinguish the true god from false gods. If we knew nothing about Yahweh, and somebody who worshipped a different god, like Baal or Osiris, started calling his god "Yahweh," we couldn't know the difference unless we knew something about the real Yahweh. If we didn't know anything about any God, we couldn't know whether Yahweh, Baal, and Osiris were actually the same god or whether they were different gods. The first commandment is that we worship Yahweh and Yahweh alone. We are not to worship any other god. The only way we can keep that commandment is if we have our theology right.

Actually, I didn't give them that second reason. I thought of that later. I just gave them the first reason.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Imagine this conversation:

Hey, I just got engaged!
Congratulations! How long have you known her?
Oh, just met her today.
Really! Don't you think you should get to know her a little better before you decide to marry her?
Nah. I think she's pretty, and besides, I don't need to know her, the important thing is to make her happy.
Ummm... how do you know what makes her happy?