The Source of Theology
“I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven- I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don’t need no proof when it comes to God and truth- I can see the sunset and I perceive.” from Live, “Heaven”
It has already been asserted on this blog that every person has an innate knowledge of God: that the world we see around us testifies to God as the Sovereign Creator and our own consciences testify to God as the Holy Lawgiver.
What then of theology? Is it possible to carefully observe the natural laws of the world around us and “search our feelings” to come to a right knowledge of God?
The answer is “no”for the reason mentioned in the last post, namely, the tendency that we all have toward independence and selfish pride. The outcome of this tendency will always be idolatry, but in the first instance our self-centeredness manifests itself in ingratitude. We all use God’s creation evey day to our own pleasure and we order our lives and (collectively) our societies around the moral precepts that God has placed in our hearts, but how often do we fail to give God thanks for all these things? On the other hand, due to the conviction of conscience, most people do not wish to boldly declare, “I am my own god!” and so they choose some religion for themselves to cover over their basic self-centered ingratitude.
What is needed is for something to cut through the cloak that we have placed over our radically corrupted soul to get at the root problem of defiance against God: defiance against the dependent, worshipful relationship for which we were created. For this purpose, God has provided the Law. As we see the Law of God, especially as explained by Jesus in the book of Matthew chapter 5, we are confronted with how far we have fallen short of God’s holy standard. We realize that each time we lust when we should love, we prove ourselves to be adulterers, that each time we are angry out of selfishness, we prove ourselves to be murderers, and that each time we lie, we are rebelling against God, who is Truth.
This Law is what drives us to forsake our selfishness and to cry out to God for mercy. And God has provided mercy through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross as a payment for the guilt of our sins and conquered death, being raised again to life.
The source of true theology comes by the Holy Bible, which is the perfect record of God’s Law and the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Scripture alone is the authoritative, necessary, sufficient, and clear source for Theology and for Church life and teaching. Scripture is the very Word of God transmitted by Him in every word and as a whole. As God’s revelation, Scripture is as truthful and authoritative as God Himself. Scripture’s main purpose is salvation: to proclaim the message of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this purpose, Scripture is crystal clear in all matters regarding salvation. Through Scripture alone we have a right knowledge of God and our means of a right relationship with Him.
The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the Lord are right,making the heart glad;
the commandment of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous.
They are more desirable than gold: than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey: than honey dripping from the comb.
In addition, Your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them.
Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me.
Then I will be innocent, and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:7-14 HCSB)
[This is edited from a post originally published on 6/24/2005.]