Theology, as stated by Merriam-Webster, is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially :the study of God and God's relation to the world. I don't know about you, but I desperately want to know truth. I want to see how God is relating to the world and I want to jump in. I have formed many things in my life according to the theology God presents to us in the Bible. He says that He is close to the broken-hearted. I want to be too. He desires to minister to the afflicted. I want to as well. If I had a poor understanding of theology, I could jump head long into some false doctrine and think God just wants to make me prosperous or that I should kill people to honor Him. At the conference of Nicene, people discussed the theology of Christ being God's Son or not. I'm glad some fought for the truth of scripture.
The dictionary tells us that doctrine is a principle or body of principles presented for acceptance of belief. It is something taught, a teaching. Every time we listen to a pastor or attend church, we are learning doctrine. Doctrine is what keeps us in the true knowledge of God as revealed in His word. Without this we could follow any teacher claiming to follow Jesus and think we are just fine. I don't know about you, but I want to know who He really is.
Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the creation of the universe concerning superhuman agencies. It involves devotion, observances, and contains moral code for governing human affairs. It is the observance of faith and the practice of belief. This sounds like how I live my life. What about you?
I think cultural Christians are really good at one thing, boycotting stuff. I have been wondering of late why so many are so angry. I wonder why so few defend truth. Do we not know it? Have we gotten sucked into the media campaigns of false religion? Perhaps we just need someone to blame for our lack of action according to our faith. I do know this. If we believe Jesus died for our sins and that we are saved by grace through faith, we have doctrine and theology. If we act on any teaching in the Bible, we are religious.
Has religion been taken captive and added to until you can't see it anymore? Absolutely. It is genuinely hard to find Christ in church in our day. The problem is not our religion, however. We don't need to boycott the "man." We need to stand up and do what Jesus asked us to do. We need to love. We need to show grace. We need to feed the hungry. We need to keep our eyes on the cross or we will trip face first into sin.
I deeply appreciate these elements in my life because the heart is wicked and deceitful and would lead me away from Christ. I desperately need to stay near. I think about the saying that it isn't religion, it's relationship and it worries me. I'm worried when we refuse truth and go with feeling. If Christ used all the religious observances of the Jewish faith, who am I to discredit this. He came to fulfill the law and abolish false religion. He gave us things like communion and showed us how to fast, pray, and study the scripture in order to stay near to Him. Study everything and see if the ideas presented to you are true. "they searched the scripture every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11 If someone would question Paul, I think we should question everyone and search the scripture to determine truth.Let us not blame religion and theology for what hypocrisy and legalism are doing. Let us change our very lives to reflect truth.
Here is a great article on Religion vs relationship: