"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Keith Johnson believes the practice of theology takes place as an act of discipleship to Christ. Thus, it is critical to think accurate thoughts about God because personal discipleship will mirror what one believes about him. Describe the importance of knowing God's word for the purpose of participating and partnering with Christ.
When it comes to commands left by Jesus Himself; few ranks higher in importance than discipleship (Matthew 28:16-20). As a matter of fact, only loving God and our neighbor rank above that of discipleship (Matthew 22:36-40). When we achieve love for God, our neighbors, and ourselves the most important element in order that we might practice discipleship is to gain an understanding of theology. If we proceed in ministry, specifically discipleship, our theology is passed down whether accurate or not (2 Timothy 3:16). One slight change in theology can have a long-term impact. Denominational splits, the founding of cult-churches and dead churches most all have resulted from differences in theology away from mainstream Christianity. There are times when change is good, but only if it upholds the truth of God’s Word.
In order to understand exactly what is meant by “accurate thoughts about God ,” we need to determine the definition of proper theology. Our lecture for the week states, “Whether one considers theology as a broad investigation about God, or whether one thinks of theology as an in-depth search of God's revelation concerning himself (both general and special revelation), theology is first and foremost a quest to know God.” A minister who hopes to perform discipleship should always be on a “quest to know God.” In order for us to truly “know God,” we must intently study Him. To accomplish this we must study the best evidence of who He is outside of the Spirit that dwells within us, this requires the examination of His Word. God’s infallible, inspired, and inerrant Word provides us with all the accurate theology one would need in order to understand Him. Nothing would be considered greater than this beside His personal presence, which no current man has lived to witness. It is as if God had left a journal which was intended to give direction and instruction for the whole world. Some elderly or sick loved ones often leave final wishes in preparation and instruction for their family so that they won’t have to guess how that family member would like their funeral services to be performed. Similarly, God has left us a holy instruction for how to live and serve until His second coming, when Christ will officially reign as the true authority on Earth (Psalm 119:105; Revelation 20).
When we “participate” and “partner” with Christ; we allow ourselves to be led in the proper way, direction, and timing. When all things are done according to the Lord’s will, these works will always produce the best fruits. As ministers of the gospel, it is not only essential that we are connected to the Lord Himself, but also to His accurate teachings. By partnering with Christ, we can be assured by His convictions that we are heading in the right direction. When we act upon the instructions and commands of His Word, it pleases God. Accurate theological understanding helps to prevent many hang-ups and accidents associated with the misunderstanding of His Word. In reality, Johnson is correct to “believe the practice of theology takes place as an act of discipleship to Christ,” due to the interconnected pieces of both theology and discipleship. Johnson admits the reasoning for this conclusion saying, “He shows us the truth about God and his plan for history by making us participants in God’s wisdom and partners in this plan. The practice of theology is one form of this participation and partnership. The act of learning how to think and speak rightly about God is an act of faith and obedience that involves our participation in the mind of Christ and our partnership with Christ by the power of his Spirit.” I can surely say that I am very comfortable agreeing with this assessment. May we all share in this “partnership” with humbleness, love, grace, and compassion.
 Grand Canyon University, “Integration of Theology and Ministry” (lecture 1, Practical Theology, Grand Canyon University, 2016). https://lc.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html
 Johnson, Keith L. 2015. Theology as Discipleship. Downers Grove, IL: IVP. ISBN-13: 9780830840342, 37.