It's no secret that I am a total theology nerd.. I love theology.. But with the awesomeness of theology comes some not-so-awesomeness too..
For starters, it's difficult to remember that not everyone is a theology nerd.. It's even more difficult to remember that not everyone wants to be.. To know everything you can possibly know about the Bible is not a lifelong goal for every Christian on the planet.. I don't know why. Seriously, I don't..
But it's difficult to talk to people for more than five minutes because it's all I want to talk about.. Honestly, in my opinion, everything else is trivial.. I mean, if you're a Christian, what could possibly be more important, more fascinating, more exciting, more anything, than God?
Who He is, what He thinks, what He says. All of it.. And how do we know who He is, what He thinks, and what He says? The Bible.. The living Word of God.. There simply is no other truth.
Because I am not the most tactful person on the planet, a lot of what I say, or rather how I say it, comes off as offensive or confrontational.. I have no doubt that several others who read this blog post will be offended by it.. Offended by me. Because there is simply no way for me to put how I feel into words without it coming off to some as condescending or self righteous.. I've been called both.. I've also been called confrontational, aggressive, uncaring, unloving, blah, blah, blah.
I'm not feeling sorry for myself, or looking for anyone else to feel bad for me by saying that.. It's just how it is..
My point is, nothing I say is actually meant to offend. Make you think? Maybe. But do I say anything to purposely hurt someone's feelings? No. I don't.. Really..
But I want y'all to know that what I'm rambling on about today isn't meant to offend anyone either, but it's still going to come off that way..
The majority of the people I talk to are Christian. I can only think of one person I talk to on a regular basis that isn't. Everyone else I know is a Christian; or at least claims to be.. So it's not like I offend non-believers with what I say (or how I say it)..
Do you wanna know what sucks about being a theology nerd? The fact that not everyone else is. Now before you start yelling at your monitor and before you rush to the comment box to fill it up with rants about what a snob I am for wanting everyone to be like me because I'm just sooo full of myself, let me explain.
If everyone was a theology nerd, no one would be offended when someone said "that's not what the Bible says"..
If everyone was a theology nerd no one would accuse anyone else of just being "religious" or not "showing grace"..
If everyone was a theology nerd, everyone would know what the Bible says "grace" really is.
If everyone was a theology nerd, no one would ever get tired of talking about the Bible.
If everyone was a theology nerd, I wouldn't be so incredibly frustrated by the fact that so many 'Christians' don't know the Bible.
Yeah, I know that last one sounded selfish, but is it? Really? Maybe the fact that I'm frustrated could be selfish. But do you think that Jesus might be a little frustrated too? That He has given the world a book that contains everything anyone needs to know about Him and it's been reduced to something most Christians look at on Sundays (if the pastor even asks them to open it) or maybe for a couple minutes a day?
One of my assignments for school was a rather large project that involved interviewing several other Christians. I had 2 sets of questions.. The first set was of just 6 questions about what they believed, I needed to interview 7 people. The next set of questions were more extensive.. 33 questions to determine the average biblical knowledge of the number of people being interviewed.. There was no limit to how many people I could interview, but I was given a minimum number that I had to interview.
I was not supposed to say why I was asking the questions, only that it was an assignment that I was working on so that the people I was interviewing wouldn't feel like they needed to Google every question or look in their Bibles for the 'right' answer..
I wasn't supposed to give my own answers when interviewing , or reply with "that's not what the Bible says". I mostly said "ok" and asked the next question.. But it was horrible.. The people who I interviewed using the second set of questions; so many times they replied with "I don't know".. Basic biblical questions.. If they did have an answer, the answer wasn't from the Bible, it was from something someone had told them, or a guess, or just how they felt. One of the questions I asked was 'Why did God create us?" and 4 people replied with "I don't know".. Someone said "Jesus loves me and that's all I need to know". A couple answered: "I don't spend a lot of time actually reading the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit to tell us what we should know"..
I was so hurt by that.. Yes, me. I have feelings. For reals..
I wanted to yell at them "That's not even what He does! That is not the primary function of the Holy Spirit! That is not His work! And you wanna know something else? We were created to glorify God! To enjoy God and to glorify Him! The Bible says so! More than once! How can you not know this??"
I had to stop. I asked my professor if I could chose a different project. I couldn't listen to one more person tell me that they just "don't know"
I know what those who are not theology nerds think of those of us who are.. They think that we don't care about anything but our books. That we only care about being right, being the smartest people in the room.. That we don't care about love, or compassion, or feelings. They believe that the love of Jesus isn't important to us.. That we are all just self-righteous know-it-all's that only want others to see how smart we think we are..
They couldn't be more wrong.. Let me tell you why I love theology so much.
Theology saved me.
I was not saved when I walked into that church 5 years ago and repeated a prayer and 'accepted Jesus into my heart'..
*By the way? There is nothing, nothing in the Bible about that. I have no idea where that mentality came from. I don't know who was the first person to decide that all anyone has to do is say a prayer and accept Jesus into their heart and they're in but it's a lie... A big, fat, lie.*
Yes, I had a reason to believe in God that day, but I was not saved. I was not aware of my sin. I was not aware of how incredibly wretched I was in the eyes of God before I knew Jesus, because of my sin. I was not aware of how desperately I needed a Savior. Without that knowledge, how could I be saved? You can't truly give up your entire life to a Savior if you don't really know how desperately you need Him.
It wasn't until I began to learn the Bible that I learned what it really meant to be saved. Walking into that church that day pointed me in the right direction, but it wasn't the prayer that saved me, it wasn't what anyone was telling me. It was the Bible. It was revelation from the Holy Spirit through the reading of the Word that saved me.
Theology taught me what love for others really is.
Love for others isn't a nicety, it isn't tolerance, it isn't being sweet. It's not even about liking someone. It's about wanting others to understand what salvation truly is because you don't want them to go to hell, because God loves them. God loves them, so you love them.
It's about being so concerned for someones eternal soul that you would rather they hated you because you had the courage to tell them what the Bible really says about hell, rather than them liking you because you didn't..
I've been harped on about speaking the truth in love.. Lots of times.. So lets just put that on the table now..
Speaking the truth in love:
What it is not: "You don't read your bible, you're not obedient to God, and all you did was repeat a stupid prayer that your stupid pastor told you. You're going to go to hell, and if you don't believe me, you're an idiot and you deserve to go! I'm right because I'm smart and you're wrong because you're a moron."
It's not this either: "Hey, so I know you have been kind of down lately. Listen, Jesus loves you and if you accept Him into your heart by saying this prayer, God will bless you, and you will be happy forever. But only if you want to, no pressure! God loves you no matter what and I do too!"
What it is: "The Bible says' repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Satan is real, hell is real, you are a sinner, and sinners go to hell. God is a merciful and loving God, but He is also a just God and must punish sin where He finds it. So he gave His son to take the punishment for your sin, and if you repent of your sin and trust in Him, He will save you. Hell is a horrible place and it is eternal. I would love to tell you more and answer any questions. Please think about it” (you know, because you LOVE them and you don't want them to go to hell).
Theology has given me an undeniable desire to know God.
The more I learn, the more I want to learn. The more I read the Bible, the more I want to read it. The more I learn, the more I realize that I will never learn all there is to learn about Him; and then I want to learn even more.
I crave it. I do. Seriously. I don't want to do anything else. I want to read about Him, talk about Him, listen to other's talk about Him. I set an alarm on my phone to go off every couple of hours so I will close my books and do some laundry.
I have to force myself to go out and do normal people things like go to the grocery store or have lunch with a friend, because all I really want to do is learn more, pray more, hear more; and I knowthat no one at the grocery store wants to discuss theology while browsing the produce section..
Every word I read brings me closer to Him. Every. Single. Word. And I truthfully don't know why every Christian on the face of the earth doesn't feel the same way.
But it is sheer joy and nothing can bring satisfaction to me the way the Bible does.
Theology has taught me what is truly unimportant in my life.
I don't care about purses or shoes, I don't care if I haven't seen the latest movie, if my clothes are in style, or if my roots are showing. I don't care anymore that my furniture doesn't match, or what anyone thinks about the car that I drive or what they think about what I weigh or how I look.. I don't care if people like me, I don't care if anyone is offended by what I believe. I don't care about the stuff I have or the stuff I don't have..
"Vanity of vanities, it's all vanity!" Ecclesiastes 1:2
Theology has taught me who I am.
Who I am, what I am, and who and what I am supposed to be.. I know what others think of me, I know how others feel about me.. I'm not worried, I'm not afraid, I'm not ashamed. No one can make me feel differently, no one can convince me that there is any other truth. I know who I am because I know who He is.
How do I know? It's not because I just 'know that I know'..
I know because I learned it.
From the Bible.
I know who He is because I'm a theology nerd :)
"Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones"