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Theology, Learned and Lived

After a significant hiatus, I’ve re-entered the world of academia and am taking a course this summer at Reformed Theological Seminary. As a side note, if you’re considering seminary, I heartily recommend RTS.

One thing I’ve been thinking about off and on over the past year is the fact that it is entirely possible for me to be continuously learning things about God, without coming to know God more intimately. This is what I would call theology done wrong, a knowledge of God that you acquire, but don’t reflect in your life.

For example, it is easy to underestimate how intrusive a seemingly simple command such as “love your neighbor” might be. At the moment I am jolted awake by my neighbors playing Phish at 3 AM on a Tuesday night, my heart is not overflowing with love. But my knowledge of God should inform how I respond, so that I actively “love my neighbor.” (I understand that this doesn’t mean I must concede to my neighbor’s nocturnal habits, but you get my point.)

And so my desire for seminary is not only that I’ll be equipped to handle the Scriptures, but that the education I receive has a transformative effect on my life. For example, in Colossians, Paul prays that the Colossians “may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-10, ESV). Paul prays that the Colossians gain a knowledge of God that results in action. And that action results in further knowledge of God. It’s a spiral of theology, learned and lived.

That is my desire.