Testing My Theology

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11 WEB)

Most of our years on Guam Beth worked in the listener mail department. It was encouraging to hear her read letters from folks whose lives were redeemed and headed for eternity because they heard the word of God on the radio. This kept us close to the listeners we never saw face to face.

Occasionally the listener response department would receive a letter with detailed questions which could not be answered easily during the working days. These would be passed to different members of the staff for a more extensive biblical response. Some were directed my way by my loving wife.

When I was young and began to understand the Gospel I realized there were many aspects of Christianity I didn’t understand. This is how it works with everyone. Nobody has all the answers just because they’re born again. Some who are religious have a good head start like the Apostle Paul. He knew God’s word and promises but needed a little blindness to open his eyes to the truth. He had the knowledge but not the correct response or interpretation. That took time and experience.

Listeners hear God’s word, respond and come to salvation! Praise the Lord! Unfortunately they don’t have instant complete theological interpretation and understanding. None of us do. This is how God works. Through fellow believers God teaches us. Through the Holy Spirit, God teaches us. Through the Bible God teaches us. Only one person I know understood all aspects of theology correct. This was Jesus as he walked among us.

When writing in response to programs believers are honest with their questions. I remember a few choice questions which were passed my direction. One man wanted to know whether he was still permitted to have intimate relations with his wife now that he was saved. At the other end of the spectrum were new believers asking whether they should discontinue their relationship with concubines. (Yes, they still exist in many parts of the world.) Others asked questions as they came from other religions such as, “Is Jesus just a prophet or the son of God?” The questions covered a large range of topics and depths.

Working with these letters made me think back to my college years. Believe it or not I am trained as a theologian, not an Engineer. It’s strange the way God uses people to work in His plans and not in our preconceptions. The occasional letter that crossed my desk was welcomed as a chance to hone my understanding of God’s word. In the process of discovering truth, to answer the question of someone I don’t know, I learn a lot.

Learning has always been something I enjoy. The exception is when I do something stupid or sinful and have to learn the hard way. It’s more enjoyable to learn from God’s word than through God’s discipline. Answering questions, teaching Sunday school and even teaching at Bayview Bible Institute all taught me more than I taught others.

God works this way. He brings people into our lives with questions we thought we understood until we start to explain what we thought we understood. This process tests our theology, our faith and expands our understanding of God’s love, God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit. We might find ourselves growing when we tackle the questions that come our way.

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