This week I’m going to do something a little different for Marriage Monday. I’m going to repost a slightly edited version of an article I wrote about three years ago. Why? Because it fits with what I want to encourage from a marriage standpoint this week.
First, though, I want to ask you a question.
What does your spouse believe about God? What is his theology? In what areas do you agree solidly? In what ways do you disagree? What are some things you hold to that he hasn’t even thought about, and vice versa?
“Wait…what?” you might be saying. “I don’t even know what theology is, much less what my theology is – or my husband’s.”
Oh, my friend, if that is how you are responding, you are not alone! And with that in mind, let’s take a look back at that original article so we can begin to understand why theology is so important in our marriages.
How would you respond if I told you I was a Calvinist?
Would you run away screaming, “Heresy!” determined not only to never read my blog again but also to try to expunge every word of encouragement you’d ever received through me from your mind?
Would you shout, “Yes! I knew it!” delighted that you finally discovered I agreed with you?
Would you scratch your head, asking what in the world I meant by that statement?
Would you ignore it, convinced that I was simply weighing in on some theological debate that had nothing to do with you?
No, I’m not going to tell you where I really fall on the Calvinism debate because, in all honesty, it’s irrelevant. The true relevance is not what my theology is labeled, but how I use theology in my spiritual growth. Further, it is a question to you:
How do you use theology to contribute to your spiritual growth, if at all?
Do you even really know what theology is? Using the word I’ve already thrown out, could you define Calvinism? If so, what would your definition be? Where did you learn that definition? Does it leave you afraid or enlightened, whether you agree with the theology or not?
What if I were to share with you the list of authors and preachers from whose books and teachings I have learned so much? Calvinists are among them, yes, but many others are included as well. Would you have any basic understanding of the beliefs of the people whose teachings I have learned from over the years?
- 19th century Scottish Presbyterian who leaned toward Universalism
- 20th century Anglican
- 20th century Lutheran
- contemporary Arminian
- contemporary charismatic
- 20th century liberal
- contemporary conservative Baptist
- contemporary moderate Baptist
- contemporary Assembly of God
- and many more…
For some reason, we have convinced ourselves over the years that theology is for the preachers, teachers, authors, and seminary graduates. It’s not for the average everyday Christian. But, in adopting that belief, we have hurt ourselves more than we could ever imagine.
Everything we need to know is found in Scripture. And each of us has the Holy Spirit living within us that we might be able to dig in and understand Scripture. But, the Bible also teaches us that we are a body that cannot function without the other members. I don’t think the same way my husband and children do. They see things just a bit differently sometimes, and when they share what they see with me, sometimes a light bulb comes on in my own mind where lack of understanding previously resided.
We need each other!!!
And that, my friends, is what theology is. Its basic definition is “the study of God.” But its practical application is “the understanding of others, organized, given a title, and shared with the rest of us for our edification.”