Is theology SUPPOSED to be simple?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Dec 23, 2010.

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Everything simple or not?

  1. EVERYTHING in the Bible is simple enough for a child to understand

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  2. The deep things of God are unsearchable and we should never try

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  3. Some of the deep things of God, he has revealed to us and we should dig for them like treasure

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  4. Other- I will explain

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  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    Brother Quantum made an interesting remark concerning theology and simplicity. It represents a sentiment that I have seen several others echo.

    But I wonder if it is a good thing.


    But many great theological and philosophical issues are NOT simple.

    They are complex until you get them.

    In Quantum's field there are equations that you CANNOT keep simple nor should you try. You should be honest and say- Now this is going to be difficult- it is complex- I will explain it to the best of my ability but you are going to struggle to get it at first.

    This desire to keep everything in theology simple is not good and to pretend that it all should be is less than honest.

    Now don't get me wrong- salvation is simple enough for a child to understand. But the implications of it baffle scholars.

    Adrian Rogers said of the Word of God- "It is so wonderful that a small child can stoop and drink and not fear drowning; but it is so deep that the greatest scholars can dive in and never touch bottom."

    Should we just avoid anything in the Bible that is complex at all? Is that a noble endeavor?

    Should we embrace shallowness and never seek to know the DEEP things of God?

    Should we treat the DEEP things of God as though they are not complex and as though they are easy to be understood?

    I know that there are plenty of things about God we will NEVER understand- but aren't there things about God that he reveals to us that are VERY complex and that he wants us to seek to understand?

    What do you think?
     
  2. MB

    MB
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    Hi Luke;

    I don't believe that is the case at all. For myself the things that have been revealed to me were so simple that the simplicity is why I didn't understand in the first place.
    Jesus said;
    Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

    No one is more simple than a babe.

    I take this verse to mean all those educated men in the world who lord their intellectual knowing over the wise really don't know as much as they think they do. They come up way short short because of the simplicity of the Bible. They actually pass right over it. It's rather like being highly educated but with no comon sense.
    Paul wrote;
    1Co 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

    1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    Because the wise are so mixed up the are hopelessly confused about doctrine. No scripture is very simple and it takes a simple mind to understand it.

    MB
     
  3. Nicholas25

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    I mean no offense by the comment I am about to make. It is not intended to be an accusation for everyone head for head, but it does apply to some. Many will scream, "Simple" because they are too lazy to study (2nd Timothy 2:15). Again, not for everyone, but many.
     
  4. Luke2427

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    So then you would conclude that EVERYTHING that God reveals in Scripture that we ought to want to know is in and of itself SIMPLE?
     
  5. BobinKy

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    Not the way theology is done here at Baptist Board. :tonofbricks:

    Theology is simply a road we travel with our faith here on this world.

    Pick a road (theology)
    Pick a map (systematic theology or principles of doctrine)
    Make the best Christian trip you can through this world
    And if you decide to change roads (theologies)
    Do it
    And get back to your Christian travels.

    ...Bob
     
  6. Luke2427

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    I am sorry- I guess I missed exactly what this is responding to.

    What is not the way theology is done here on baptistboard?
     
  7. BobinKy

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    My post above is my way of responding to the title question at the top of the thread:

    Is theology supposed to be simple?​

    I think we complicate theology here at Baptist Board by the online discussion format we use to discuss theology.

    I think the major theological positions have been thought through, written up, and incorporated into various personal and church worship styles.

    I also think the "tension" comes when church leaders become greedy for worldly gain and seek more control--in effect using theology to fuel discord and personal gain.

    Maybe my posts are off topic. If so, I apologize for the intrusion.

    Please have a merry Christmas and spend time with your family.

    ...Bob
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    Theology has aspects that are simple and aspects that are incredibly complicated. Thats okay because it is the chief discipline of thought/thinking. Anyone who has studied a subject like the economic Trinity or the hyppstatic union will know theology's complexities well. Yet there are simple aspects.

    We shouldnt let our historical proclivity towards anti-intellectualism get too far into this. Complicated doesnt mean disqualified anymore than simple means incomplete.
     
  9. MB

    MB
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    That's the way I see it in scripture.

    Why not show us all what you have found to be so complicated. That way we would have a clearer understanding of what you mean by it being so complicated.
    MB
     
  10. glfredrick

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    Simple, but not simplistic...

    God is infinite, and we could/can study Him, via His Word and via the general revelation for all our days and yet not exhaust what it is that we know about Him from those sources.

    More, we are called to study Him in the text, both OT and NT.

    Our task is to "speak in tongues" so to speak... Not gibberish, that is never the biblical model, but to make clear the difficult issues of God to anyone we come in contact with in our ministry and life.

    Not many grasp the theological structures of the "lapsarian" table that details the ordo salutas, but we all live in those structures. Some should be equipped to teach others why that is important. Same for doctrines, practices, interpretations, languages, etc. All take some level of study and preparation and God calls some to be teachers, some, evangelists, some pastors, some whatevers... That's the way it works according to the Word.
     
  11. Luke2427

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    If the issues are difficult- then they are NOT simple, right?

    Yet we should dig for them like treasure, right?
     
    #11 Luke2427, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2010
  12. Steven2006

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    My first thought when reading the question is this. The important things are simple.
     
  13. glfredrick

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    I'm not quite sure where you're headed with this, but they are "simple". We are saved by Jesus Christ, and Him crucified and raised from the dead. Any child can grasp that -- and most do if presented with that gospel picture.

    But, what happened in the life, ministry, passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus? That is not at all simplistic. It is an infinite God at work in only ways He can work. Even understanding the first concepts of what it is that God has and is doing is difficult work that requires much thought, deciding where one stands on a myriad of Bible passages, and even to details like grasping nuances of the original language, etc.

    FWIW, the church has ALWAYS had professional theologians in her midst, from the earliest days forward. Before the church, Israel had professional theologians also. These are described in the Bible and in the literature that they left behind for us to read and know.

    For instance, the Didache (read it here):
    http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Didache-text.html
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html

    This is a theological document written by someone approximately concurrent with the end of the Apostle John's life. It is that old. Whether rightly or wrongly, it is attributed to the "12" as the common teaching of the church in that era, roughly 70 years after the resurrection of Christ. Before that, we have the original Apostles, who gave us the NT, highly theological in nature, not just a story book, and it was noted with internal evidence that "these men were with Jesus."

    Read the Early Fathers of the Church to see the earliest history, from circa AD 90 onward:

    http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

    • Polycarp studied under John the Apostle. First generation church leaders, and we can read his words!
    • The Epistle to Diognetus was written by "the disciple of the Apostles" circa AD 130. His style mirrors the Apostle Paul, he was obviously under the influences of Paul.
    • Clement of Rome, circa AD 30-100, almost certainly studied under Peter and Paul. He was bishop of Rome after Peter.
    • Ignatius, circa AD 30-100 was a disciple of John the Apostle.
    • Papias, circa AD 70-155 claimed to have studied under John and was a cohort of Polycarp.
    These men were theologians and scholars, who helped to develop the newly formed Christian church based on teachings that were passed down to them by the original 12 (counting Paul). Yes, forever, there have been scholars in the church!
     
  14. TCassidy

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    No subject is less complex than that which is studied. As Theology is the study of God, and God is the most complex Being in existence, it stands to reason Theology is a very complex subject and may take a lifetime to come to a very small understanding, and will never have its depths plumbed completely by mere mortal men.

    And, of course, Theology covers all Christian doctrine in addition to Theology proper.

    Then add what God does, anthropology, Christology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Bibliology, Pneumatology, Angelolgy, etc., and you can see Theology, the Queen of the Sciences, is hardly a simple matter.
     
  15. Luke2427

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    #15 Luke2427, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2010
  16. Luke2427

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    Thanks. My sentiments exactly.

    This is why I think it is unhealthy for us to pin roses on people who always try debase gloriously complex subjects by demanding that EVERYTHING be simple.
     
  17. MB

    MB
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  18. Winman

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    MB said;

    I agree with this completely. Oftentimes scripture that seems very confusing is actually amazingly simple once you understand it. It is the ol' not seeing the forest for the trees.

    For example, just this week I asked my pastor about a verse that I didn't quite understand, Romans 4:25:

    Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    Now, I understood perfectly that Jesus was delivered for our offences, that our sin was placed on him. But I didn't understand the second part of this verse. What does Jesus being raised have to do with justification?

    Well, my pastor asked me what happened after Jesus rose from the dead. I answered that he ascended to heaven. Then he asked what Jesus did there. I answered that he applied the blood to the mercy seat.

    "Oh, I see!" I said. :thumbs:

    It was incredibly simple. We could not be justified unless Jesus had risen from the dead, ascended to heaven and applied his blood to the mercy seat.

    And this is how most scripture is when it is revealed, it is amazingly simple. We often look for complex answers when the true answer is quite simple.
     
  19. Luke2427

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    So then it is your contention that NOTHING in the Bible and theology is complex?
     
  20. preacher4truth

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    Do you have to be so abrasive!!!!??? Just kidding bro. :laugh:

    It is very simple to us seemingly when we get saved. Jesus died, was buried, rose again, was sighted, He worked in our hearts to bring us to repentance and faith. After years of Bible study we have more and more questions, the verses that we used to have down pat (or so we thought) have grown within us, and we catch ourselves saying "wait a minute, I wonder what else this means here?" things like this happen all the time.

    But we will never know enough this side of eternity. I thank God for allowing us to think, ask questions, question, and even for our doubts and trials of faith to lead us further into His Word. I'm glad I questioned and was never satisfied in the very, too simplistic IFB churches I belonged to and was around, but rather sought out more about my God and Savior.

    Yes, it is simple, and complex also.

    :thumbs:
     
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