Does God Share Your Theology ?
An idea shapes the way we think, forming an ideology. This, in turn, can affect our theology, or what we see and understand in Scripture. Our theology can be made to fit our ideas of how things should be. For example, take the parable of the laborers in Matthew 20:1-16. The landowner, throughout the day, hired laborers to work in his vineyard. He paid them all the same wage, regardless of how many hours they worked. When those who worked all day saw this, they protested. The landowner replied, “I am not doing anything wrong; you agreed to work for this amount. It’s my choice to be generous to the others” (see Mt. 20:13-14).
The theology in this parable is this: God has the perfect right to do whatever He wishes with His substance and His people.
Because the first laborers did not understand this, they felt insulted and not blessed by the landowner’s generosity. Their idea was that those who work harder and longer should receive more remuneration. This is perfectly sound, but on this occasion it does not fit with God’s viewpoint or intended practice. Their theology was rooted in their own ideology about what is fair and just. Thus they were unhappy and disturbed by their own perception of how things should work. Jesus’ point was that people’s understanding of God should conform to who He really is and how He wants to conduct Himself!
In Acts 26:24 Festus shouted that Paul’s great learning had driven him (Paul) insane. Prior to this, Peter and John had been arrested by the religious leaders of their day because, after the lame beggar had been healed, more than 5,000 people had come to believe in Jesus. After the religious leaders had questioned them and listened closely to Peter and John’s answers, they made several observations (see Acts 4:1-14)
- Peter and John were extremely confident in God and what they were doing.
- They were unlearned and ignorant (which is a polite way of saying they were functionally illiterate!)
- Peter and John had spent time with Jesus.
The early apostles, then, were a team of extremes \\ educated and refined like Paul and Luke but also illiterate fishermen like Peter, James, and John and probably several shades in-between.
In today’s church culture, Peter and John’s lack of formal training would make them eligible only for the laity, yet they were apostles!
Real theology does not come from books or schools. It arises out of penitent hearts, submissive spirits, and renewed minds. Real theology is spoken in the language of slaves and ignorant fishermen. It is based on time spent with Jesus and the confidence that His presence engenders in human hearts. It has learning and experience. It is both taught by men and distilled in relationship with the Holy Spirit. Real theology is not meant only for arguing points but also for creatively demonstrating the nature and character of God through both His words and His works. Theology and experience combine to train the people of God to do the ministry. So much of what is learned in Bible college and seminary is useless in the process of building the church to fulfill the dreams of God.
The two most powerful questions we can ask today are “What?” and “Why?” “What are we doing, and why are we doing it?” We must have a mind-set and a theology that proves the will of God and helps us to build the Kingdom. “Is what we are doing still working? Is it effective? Can it work better? How do we change it? What is God saying to us this year?”
Many leaderships do not build in time for review, prayer, and corporate examination of the vision, anointing, and ministry of their church. Are we merely bolting what works on to our existing structures that don’t work? Is the life of the church serving the structure and the program, or is the program and structure producing life and faith in relationship and service to the Lord?
A revolution in leadership is required to bring us back into alignment with the early Church. With all of our post-modern style of leadership we have created a church that consumes rather than a church that produces. We have generated an audience, not an army…people who hear but who do not live out the word.
by Graham Cooke