Theology or Practical Religion

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I was quite overwhelmed with the task of sharing on apostle Paul in two meetings with Help Institute Christian Fellowship. First, the whole topic was huge so I had to focus on more specific aspects. I decided to title part one “Paul: The Man and His Messiah” and next week will be part two “Paul: His Message”. It’s not a scholarly talk (thought some help from NT Wright was good) but I hope the students get some start in this area or a good stir! Second, I believe that opportunities like this is great to encourage hunger for good, sound theology shared in an unstuffy way … and try to help my audience think with me … and even with a humourous touch (when appropriate). Third, I sincerely hope to play a part in encouraging these guys and gals to not only live for Christ as individuals but also see their “vocation” during their term as students and beyond. On a side note, I’ve always enjoyed hanging out with them anyway! 🙂 Some longer term relationships have been cultivated from this Christian Fellowship which I treasure.

When I look at all these varsity students or psychology, mass comm. , economics, etc, I don’t want to treat them as “fools” or like “children” but with sincerity open up conversations during my speaking as well as pre or post meeting conversations to introduce and/or reaffirm good and right ideas about God. I believe this is a Spirit-filled endeavor, and a commitment to be faithful to Christ and obedient to the Father (phew! Trinitarian indeed!). Thus, this C.S Lewis quote really means a lot to me …

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“Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you…They all say “the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion.” I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means “the science of God,” and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?

“Theology is practical. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today, are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England (or America) is retrogression—like believing the earth is flat” Mere Christianity, p.135-136.

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(Another word of thanks to Winn again for the quote)

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