Ouch – My Brain Hurts !

20 06 2008

Learning theology is dangerous. One thing you’re learning something new, and the next thing the truth is transforming your life, and in ways you’ve never expected.

Over the past few months i have been doing a lot of theological work. I have been reading “New Testament and the People of God” by N T Wright (a dense academic work on 1st Century Judaism), Spurgeons Sermons Metropolitan Tabernacle Vol 36, Systematic Theology by Berkhof, Living Free in Christ by Neil T AndersonSymphony of Scripture by Mark Strom.  I’ve also committed to reading the Bible in a year, and doing an online theology programme equivalent to a semminary level courses. There are a lot of additional articles to read alongside these lectures. I’ve also started reading Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, and just bought Mark Stroms Reframing Paul and Gorden Fee’s How to read the Bible for all its worth. While I’ve been doing this I’ve been listening to lectures by Wayne Grudem on Christian Essentials,  Covenenant Semminary’s Ancient Church History, and Marks Strom’s Symphony of Scripture Wineskin lectures. I’ve also been engaged in writing a blog about my experiences in theology and trying to articulate what I’ve learnt. While maintaining my own blog I have been hard at work posing questions to others and debating with fellow lay theologians on the a series of Forums. I’ve also been leading a home group bible study on Tuesday nights, although luckily this has been shared with one other guy. I dont even want to mention the amount of internet reviews and critical essays written on certain positions.


I was going along fine, but every so often I would get this strange feeling in my gut and I wouldnt know what it was all about. Last night something very different happened inside me and I began to see what I was doing. You see I have always been a collector of sorts. First it was stamps, then it was lists of things, then it was CD’s then it was MP3’s and then it was guitar tabs and then it was amassing a large knowledge of techniques to do with Shred Guitar, then it was music books and biographies, and now it is theology. Please hear me here, I do not doubt that studying theology is a good thing, and very neccesary thing. But doing it this way is insane. I honestly feel quite beat up by my own stupidity and quite burnt out too.

For me I think the break down occured a lot earlier when I hear a sermon by my pastor at church. He talked about having lunch with a friend who wanted to have a theological discussion. He said during the talk he thought to himself “Is this all theology has become? A chance to say how smart we are and show off to others? When did it become all about amassing a large database of knowledge?”

Thats how I feel – when did I sell out to this concept of theology as amassing knowledge rather than allowing truth to slowly renew my mind. I was “addicted” to theology. The high it gave me was a sense of being superior to others in my knowledge. Truly the knowledge I had accquired had “puffed me up” and professing to be wise I became a fool. It is a fool who thinks he can chase down wisdom. God may give wisdom to everyone who asks of it, but the wisest man in history (next to Jesus) was Solomon who cried out that wisdom is like chasing the wind.

Perhaps my goals were too lofty but for now I’m going to do things slowly and really let the truth affect every area of my life. The one great thing I have learnt is that I serve a God who put on flesh and dwelt among us, and paid the penalty, fufilling the law so that I can have life everlasting. So much of what He has done is beyond my realms of comprehension. The more I have studied, the less I feel I have learnt. I am more accutely aware of my own shortcomings, and have to be a constant guard against prideful ways of thinking, that somehow by all my learning I am in better standing with God and better than some men. Right now I realise just how fortunate I am to be saved and how fortunate I to be saved and how utterly devoid I am of being able to offer Jesus something in return.

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One response

30 09 2008
Dale Campbell

Hi there – stumbled across the blog… I’m an American living in Auckland, NZ, and I’ve become a bit of a fan of Strom as well – and have enjoyed the Wineskins. N.T. Wright is simply crucial as well. Glad to see you enjoying him. 🙂

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