Theology can be tough on the average Christian. I am not saying it shouldn't be something we, as believers, should study; but the fact remains it does pose an almost insurmountable peak to some believers.
I remember preaching at a church a couple years back and before the service a man walked in with a couple books in his hand. I asked him what he had there. He showed me his Bible and below that was a nice thick, juicy book of theology. (Light reading for when the preacher got boring, I guess.) I immediately endeared myself to him by saying, "Ah theology, the over-complication of Christianity."
Needless to say, he didn't get much out of my message that day.
My point, though, was not to knock theology. I do feel we should know what we believe: the 'hows' and the 'whys' of our faith. I think we should endeavor to go deeper with God on a regular basis. However I think that we, the church, put people off by our secret language, our members only mentality and our complication of the things of God.
Don't get me wrong. I am not for the dumbing down of the Gospel. I am all for making Jesus easier to understand for the average person, though. For example: Sanctification - to make Holy. It is mentioned 5 times in the King James version of the Bible. Then I look at my bookshelf. I have a book here called The 5 Views of Sanctification. A 200+ page book on something mentioned 5 times in the Bible. Why do we need to complicate the idea of being made Holy? How hard do we think that is for the average Joe to understand?
When I was a new believer I heard the word 'sanctification' tons of times from the pulpit, but it was never explained. Why not just say what it is and move on? Who are we trying to impress with our knowledge?
It is why I love kids. Kids have a child-like faith that is incredible. They just believe. Tell them God moves mountains...OK. He raises the dead...OK. They believe! They don't take the cynical, justifying faith approach we have as adults. Things are black and white, quick and simple.
Recently I was at a ministerial luncheon with a few other Pastors in our town. One Pastor, Stanley Groothof, who writes the 4th Point, brought his 3 year old daughter Hannah. We had been talking about the 5 Question interviews I do on my blog and he said he was going to interview his daughter. It went something like this:
Favourite song: “Jesus Loves Me.”
Favourite video: Veggie Tales Madame Blueberry.
Favourite Bible story: Noah and the flood.
Meaning of life: God.
Meaning of Life - God. Simple, cut and dry. Now as an adult we can take that and say..."Well, historically 'blah blah blah', theologically she forgot 'yada, yada, yada'. So what? To her, the meaning of life was God. How simple, yet how profound.
"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:15)
"He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:2-4)
In our efforts to go deeper with God and to passionately share Him with others, let us not ignore the basics, the childlike faith.