This is a guest post from Tucker's wife, Kaleigh. You can follow her on Twitter at @thekidkflem.
Hello, faithful readers! My name is Kaleigh, and I am the wife of Tucker, the Reformed guy who writes here on Fridays. I am so excited that the Contrarians have decided to let me come on for this guest blog, but that being said, I am also a little nervous! Because I am just about the only person in our circle of friends who isn't a seminarian, it seems like I would be the least qualified person to be the first guest in this space… so maybe we should just jump right in!
For the past couple of months, I have loved seeing the guys’ posts covering all sorts of topics! Equally entertaining to me has been the flood of comments that appear on Tucker’s Facebook page every time he shares a new post, where someone inevitably will comment something to the extent of “*googles first word*”.
Now let's be real, I am probably close to the first person to tune out when my lovely husband enters a conversation at a party about Cornelius Van Til and his presuppositional approach to apologetics, or why being postmillennial is the most hopeful of all the eschatological positions. I get it. I just want to talk about The Bachelor, too. At this point, I think I can actually feel my eyes glaze over when I feel one of these conversations coming on. However, I have been convicted over the past couple years to be actively engaged in these moments, as to be “ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
I have really been contemplating recently why it is that lay people of the church seem to be less and less educated about, and for that matter overall less interested in, theology. People flinch at the first mention of eschatology, ecclesiology, and all the other “-ologies” surrounding the study of God. In addition, it seems like the world increasingly accuses Bible-believing Christians of being uneducated, backwards, and bigoted.
It seems more and more like our society, including the present culture of the post-modern church, holds to the idea that whatever feels good to you is Good. As more and more “seeker-sensitive” churches appear that oftentimes give their parishioners more self-help lessons than sermons, it is easy to see why the Christian culture has moved towards a theology that is self-driven, i.e. “the truth in the Bible is in what it means to me personally, how it helps me, how it serves me, etc.” The purpose of studying scripture, however, is not to learn more about us. It is to learn more about God.
So-called evangelicals, I am finding, are more and more prone to open their Bible to speak to their personal struggles instead of opening it to find out more about God’s character. Instead, the opposite should be true. We should be interested in Scripture because through it, God has revealed Himself to us. Instead of only opening the Bible to find out what it has to say about our specific struggles, we should be more focused on opening it because our otherwise unknowable and incomprehensible God has revealed Himself and His will through it. When we begin to have a self-focused theology, we make ourselves the supreme ruler of our lives. Good theology is important because it keeps our focus on what is true, noble, right, and all of the other things the apostle Paul tells us to dwell on in Philippians 4; it keeps our focus on who God is.
Although I ascribe to sola scriptura, i.e. the theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice, I also believe that for new and more mature believers alike, there are parts of Scripture that can be hard to understand. When we learn theology, we learn to approach all of Scripture through a certain lens, a lens that allows us to see Scripture in light of what we already believe to be true about its Author. Theologians throughout history have given us tools to understand Scripture and what it says about God, and it is important when studying the Word of God to know what other faithful Christians have said about it over thousands of years of church history. Now let me be real, I am not trying to say that every Christian should immediately, upon conversion, pick up a copy of Calvin’s Institutes or begin studying Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology with vigor. There should, however, be a natural progression in the Christian life of moving from “milk to solid food.” I’m sure most every student in seminary with Tucker at some point started out reading Crazy Love, moved onto something by Tim Keller, and now are reading straight from the original church fathers.
Also, let me say that there are definitely times when God uses Scripture to give us personal peace, hope, and guidance. Because the God we serve is intimate and personal, He uses His living and active Word to speak to us today, and we can thank and praise Him in these times. The truth is, the only truth we can really know in this world is the Truth we find in Holy Scripture. Therefore, Christians across every denomination, those both new to the faith and seasoned veterans, seminary students and lay people, should make it a priority to learn theology and study Scripture in light of it.