Sabtu, Februari 02, 2008


Theology is the study of God. It is the study of God’s dealing with man
whom He has created, but fallen into sin. The study of God and study of
man which is inseparable from the study of God is true wisdom, says
Calvin. We would add to the statement that they are the apex of all
knowledge. They are the two highest strata of learning, way beyond
mosquitology, though that is important in the quelling of malaria and
dengue. The study of God and the study of man leads us to God’s only
begotten Son Jesus Christ, Mediator between God and man, by whom we
are saved (1 Tim 2:15). The Bible is God’s book for man, the textbook of
our salvation (2 Tim 3:14, 17).
Charles Hodge says theology is like any other science. It is to be studied
like any branch of scientific learning. We beg to differ, for theology falls
a great deal into the realms of the metaphysical. It cannot be put under a
microscope for the seeing eye to examine. Rather it is to be studied by
putting on the eye-glasses of faith. Not “seeing is believing” but
“believing is seeing” is the theological method (John 20:29).
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we
understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that
things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb
By faith, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), not
evolution, is to be received. By faith, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity

A Theology for Every Christian
Transcends the principles of mathematics. By faith the doctrine of the
Virgin Birth of Christ cannot be taught but by worshipful reverence.
Theology is not only a science, but a “metascience,” if we may coin a new
Nor can any man intrude into the study of theology without becoming a
Christian, a born-again Christian.
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John
3:3). But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they
are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).
Nominal Christians can go through a liberal and modernistic seminary and
obtain a PhD in theology. But they will come out preaching themselves,
not Jesus Christ the Lord. They will lord over their congregations with
their own conceited ideas, “even denying the Lord that bought them,
and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet 2:1). “For we
preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your
servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5) is our devout emphasis. So, it is of
utmost importance that we examine the credentials of the teacher of
theology. Not only must he be born again but also have received a
mandate to teach, like Timothy from Paul, “And the things that thou hast
heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful
men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). It is of the
utmost importance for a teacher of theology to be thoroughly scrutinised
before he can be taken on the faculty of any fundamental Bible College
or Seminary. “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole
lump?” (1 Cor 5:6). Fuller Seminary which was founded in 1947 by
Charles Fuller of the Old-fashioned Revival Hour succumbed to liberalism
in a matter of years. Princeton Seminary, though a proven stalwart
of the faith from its founding in 1812, finally fell in 1929, J Gresham
Machen notwithstanding.
What makes theology far above any brand of scientific learning is the
higher teaching of the Holy Spirit.
His Word—Chapter 1 • 3
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1
John 2:20). But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in
you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing
teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath
taught you, ye shall abide in him (1 John 2:27).
How do we receive the unction of the Holy One? How do we get the
anointing that we need, not that any man teaches us? By being a devout
student of the Bible. By being a regular reader of the Bible, day and night,
and by meditating therein, that we might be enabled to compare “spiritual
things with spiritual” (1 Cor 2:13). Dr John Sung read his Bible 11
chapters a day and 13 chapters on the Lord’s Day. Hence the power of
his preaching that brought several hundred thousands to Christ.1 So
testifies the Psalmist,
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy
commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever
with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy
testimonies are my meditation (Ps 119:97–99).
How does Calvin excel all other students of theology? By the superior
knowledge of the Bible that shines throughout his Institutes of the
Christian Religion. He outshines all other theologians because he is a
Biblical theologian.
A Theology For Every Christian is to instruct you in the mysteries of
God and His saving plan for man, how we lost sinners can find that new
and living way to heaven (Heb 10:20). As Dr William Lyon Phelps of Yale
University has said, “A knowledge of the Bible without a college education
is better than a college education without the Bible,” we would
encourage you, though not having a college degree, to launch right into
the study of theology. In Paul’s words of encouragement to young
Timothy, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which
is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15).

4 • A Theology for Every Christian
Matthew 11:25–26 says, At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it
seemed good in thy sight.
God has appointed you, young man or woman, to study His doctrines
though minor in age. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the
doctrine” (John 7:17). To have studied philosophy or science first before
theology might help, but that it is not necessary is our final word of
encouragement. Here is a theology for every Christian!

1 Read Timothy Tow, John Sung my Teacher (Singapore: Christian Life
Publishers, 1985).

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