Saying "I love Jesus, but I don't need theology" is like saying "I love my spouse, but I don't need to know them."
Without the guidance of Scripture, our view of God can run rampant. How we view the world is dependent on how we view God, and how we view God depends on our pursuit of Him. Christians these days can be so lethargic. They refuse to be active, and they come up with trendy slogans that present false dichotomies. But fallacies are a fetish of our culture unfortunately. I’ve compiled a list of a few such slogans that I’ve heard below, and I’ve dismantled the logic behind them.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” –A.W. Tozer
1. "I love Jesus but I don't need theology."
Theology is the study of God (theo- God; logy- study). The idea that we don't need theology is problematic for two reasons: one, it's unbiblical; and two, it's self-defeating. It's unbiblical because you will not find any scripture that supports the idea that we don't need theology. However, you will find a host of verses that support the contrary. We need theology for personal growth: "Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" –2 Peter 3:18. We also need theology to defend our faith. Someone who has questions about what the Bible says is not going to be convinced by hearing you tell them "I love Jesus, so can you." 1 Peter 3:15 alludes to this, stating, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."
Additionally, this idea is self-defeating because you cannot love Jesus while intentionally refusing to know Him more. A proper understanding of the gospel should develop a fierce love for Jesus, and a fierce love for Jesus should prompt a desire for us to know Him more– and know Him robustly! All Scripture is inspired by God, (2 Timothy 2:16) thus all Scripture is important to those who love God.
No good spouse says, "I love my spouse, I don't need to know them."
2. "God didn't call us into politics, He called us to love people."
Anyone who spent a sliver of time on the internet in 2016 likely saw this doozy once or twelve times, given this historic election. To those who hold this position I ask whether a call to politics and a call to love people are mutually exclusive? Is it one or the other? Likely, I would ask whether the career of a fireman, doctor, teacher, journalist, pilot etc. are wrong simply because Jesus didn't mention them. But that was an easy shot. Let's dig deeper and analyze the second part of this idea: "He called us to love people."
For many in politics, their conviction to pursue public service stemmed from their love for people and their obedience to God. Over 1 million babies die a year to abortion. Thousands live in critical states of poverty. Thousands of refugees are dying simply because the lack of assistance in fleeing their murderous government. These people – PEOPLE – are dying and a very practical conduit to save them is political involvement. So, to isolate politics from the list of "ways to love people" is to sentence many to their deaths. Seeking justice, as we're called to do in Scripture, is very influential with a political platform. I'm not suggesting that the Church run from their responsibility to serve their communities– I'm imploring the Church to be active in politics as a means of serving their communities and abroad.
3. "Jesus didn't talk about homosexuality; neither should we."
Well, the red letters of Jesus may not exclusively mention homosexuality, but does that matter? All Scripture is inspired by God. Jesus and God are one. Thus we can conclude that anything written in Scripture holds equal validity and importance. Both the Old and New Testaments denounce the lifestyle of homosexuality.
While we're on this idea I'd like to address a sub-idea: "Stop making homosexuality a worse sin than others." Well, the Church isn't making homosexuality a worse sin than others nor are we bringing it up more than other issues. But I admit we do talk about it more than many issues. But like I said, we're not the ones bringing it up. The media/culture continuously slams the Church for not marrying same-sex couples, baking cakes for same-sex weddings etc. while calling us hateful bigots (because, hey, why think critically when you can just call people names ignorantly, right?). So, we're not bringing it up more. We're simply forced to address it in our defense when it's brought against us.
4. "Christians don't have to be good people."
This one is very involved, so allow me to clarify. Per Scripture, nobody is good (Romans 3:10) but that's not the context of "good" used in the narrative of this idea that Christians don't have to be "good." Signatories of this idea mean that Christians don't have to substitute their fleshly desires for a pursuit of holiness. But, again, no scripture is offered to support this narrative. What we do see is another host of scripture that tells Christians to pursue holiness and to offer our lives as a living sacrifice. "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross daily, and follow Me." –Luke 9:23 This is Jesus telling his followers to cut themselves off from the ways of their past and to walk with him, unburdened from their sin. We cannot pick up our cross and follow Jesus while still chained to the ball of sin in our lives. Good works don't earn our salvation, but our salvation demands our good works.
*Funny note: people who adhere to this you don't have to be good mentality are typically the same crowd who slam the Church for being "hateful and bigoted" towards cultural norms. If we're not supposed to be good, then what difference does it make if we're hateful? Just sayin.
5. "I don't have to go to church."
Christian, you ARE the Church! But I get what you're saying. You're saying you don't have to attend a weekly gathering of Christians to be called a Christian. True. Not going to church doesn't break your salvation. Neither does any sin...but that doesn't make it right. Hebrews 10:25 tells Christians not to forsake the assembly of the saints (equivalent to church congregating today) and many other verses talk about Christian accountability among the saints. Sure you can stay home on Sunday and watch a sermon online to get the same biblical instruction that you'd get in church, but what about corporate worship? What about having an accountability group? What about contributing yourself to the body of Christ? You cannot have/do this if you're not plugged into a church. Most of the time, not all, but most of the time this mentality is based in rebellion or laziness. "I need my sleep"...they say after staying out 'til 2am.
Christian, get over yourself and get your butt in church.
For the gospel //
Hi, my name is John and I love coffee. As I write this I’m sitting in a local roastery sipping a “mudslide” espresso with cream and two and a half sugars. There are few things in life that I feel merit precise orchestration with no room for error, coffee is one of them.
My life belongs to Jesus. I am his son and He is my King. I believe one area that has been greatly ignored by Christians is culture and politics. We must be active in representing our faith in these communities, but not in a relativistic or compromising way.