The following was originally formatted as a discussion post assignment for Public Theology for Liberty University’s J. Rawling’s school of divinity. It was meant to answer the following prompt: “From your reading and your own experience as a Christian and in the Church, your will post a thread discussing the significance of being a theologically informed Christian. More than ever, Christians in the ministry and in general are lacking the theological and philosophical knowledge in order to reach and speak to society and the Church. Some Christians and ministers do not feel it is important to be informed or studied in scripture, philosophy, history, etc. So, where do you stand? Make sure to reference the Learn material for Module 1: Week 1 as these various readings are to lend in sharpening or reshaping your perspective (there is no maximum reference requirement). In addition, pay attention to the presentation on Christian Ethics and how this may inform your post as to the ethics behind being a Christian who is informed theologically.”
The author’s love for history and theology can be seen in his most recent sermon. The most recent sermon the author of this post has preached to his congregation was on John 1:19-37. The beginning of the sermon started with one of the first great witnesses to the English speaking people, William Tyndale. William Tyndale was the English reformer who translated the Bible from the Greek and Hebrew into English so the common people would know salvation by grace through faith. The author used this to tie into the testimony of John the Baptist that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who’s mission was to take away the sin of everyone who trusts in Jesus, and must be believed in to be truly saved.
This discussion led the author to point out great witnesses point to Christ, do not seek special privilege, repeatedly proclaim the gospel, and make disciples. The theology of the dual nature of Christ was repeatedly taught throughout the sermon. The application was to repent, trust in Jesus, proclaim Jesus for who He truly is, and not elevate oneself in witnessing for Christ. Theology and history were woven together to show the eternal truths of needing to repent, trust in Jesus, and needing to elevate the truth of Christ over oneself. This calls the church to emulate those truths in their everyday life.
Importance of Theology
John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue discuss some of the importance of theology by quoting Scottish pastor and theologian John Dick. Essentially theology reveals God’s character and His expression to mankind, dwells on the revelation of God’s elements in His doings and “dispensations,” learn man’s responsibilities toward God, love God, and serve God. All of these goals are essential to the Christian life as one seeks to be conformed into the image of Christ.
Yet, as Kevin Vanhoozer points out, the church is increasingly becoming secular as theology and doctrine are being abandoned in the church. A large part of the problem is the church is not the ones doing theology anymore. In fact, it has largely abandoned the Bible as the Word of God, and do not believe it should be taken literally. When the whole Bible is ignored, Christian ethics cannot survive.
Solution to Theological Apathy
In order to combat this, the pastor-theologian must preach the Word of God in its entirety, applying it to everyday life. This was the charge of Paul to Timothy in his last letter (2 Timothy 4:1 – 2). The church was being assaulted by false teachers and the people were tempted to wander off into myths and false doctrine (3: 1 – 9, 4: 3 – 4). Paul’s solution was to remind Timothy that Scripture in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, which is purposed to save and complete the Christian to do every good work by teaching, rebuking, and correcting (3: 15 – 17). Then Paul charged Timothy to preach the Word of God all the time, doing the same work Scripture does; teaching, rebuking, and correcting (4: 1 – 2). The answer to combat a dying church under attack by false teachers and myths was to instruct the church in practical theology and biblical doctrine by explaining the Word of God.
The church is in a similar predicament today. The answer is the same. The preacher must expound the Word of God and apply it to the issues attacking the church. Only when the pastor is doing what he is supposed to do, preach the Word, is the church going to thrive under pressure. A church without the expository preaching and teaching of the church is no church at all.
In summary, the author believes history, theology, and public theology are essential to the church. It must be done in order to strengthen the church against weakness and attack. Theology is important to know God, love God, and know God’s will for one’s life. History must be known to illustrate how it has been done and be imitated to produce God’s will for one’s life. While the church is secularizing, the expository preaching of the Word of God can reverse that trend.
If you want more biblical resources on how to study the Scriptures, then check out the store at strivingforeternity.org/store. There are also a lot of other articles on the website to encourage you to dive deeper into God’s Word. Please also check out Apologetics Live at strivingforeternity.org/apologeticslive where Andrew Rappaport, Anthony Silvestro, and Justin Pierce answer your questions and teach you how to defend the faith. It is on from 8pm – 10pm EST. Also do not forget to check out the Rap Report where you can hear the teaching of Andrew Rappaport and the Christian Podcast community. Lord bless you.
 Mark Galli and Ted Olsen, 131 Christians Everyone Should Know (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), 348.
 John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary for Biblical Truth (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 35.
 John Dick, Lectures on Theology (Cincinnati, OH: Applegate, 1856), 6, quoted in John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary for Biblical Truth (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 35.
 Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “Introduction: Pastors, Theologians, and Other Public Figures,” in The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015), 1.
 Peter J. Leithart, “The Pastor Theologian as Biblical Theologian: From the Church for the Church,” in Becoming a Pastor Theologian: New Possibilities for Church Leadership (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 2016), 7
 Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019).
Fred Smith, “Dimensions of Christian Ethics,” Liberty University, Accessed August 25, 2022, 1:29 https://canvas.liberty.edu/courses/334614/pages/watch-dimensions-of-christian-ethics?module_item_id=36958671.