Puritan Gems

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Great Commission Demands Theological Study

Many fundamentalists draw a false dichotomy between "saving souls" and sound doctrine. I am often asked how many people I have won to Christ with my strict adherence to biblical doctrine, as if somehow doctrine is a deterent to evangelism. Robert Reymond shows that the Great Commission itself demands theological study:

"After determining for his church the pattern and end of all theology, the glorified Christ commissioned his church to disciple the nations, baptizing and teaching his followers to obey everything that he had commanded them (Matt. 28:18-20). The Great Commission then places upon the church specific intellectual demands. There is the evangelistic demand to contextualize without compromise the gospel proclamation in order to meet the needs of every generation and culture. There is the didactic demand to correlate the manifold data of Scripture in our minds and to apply this knowledge to all phases of our thinking and conduct. And there is the apologetic demand to justify the existence of Christianity as the revealed religion of God and to protect its message from adulteration and distortion (see Tit. 1:9). Theology has risen in the life of the church in response to these concrete demands of the Great Commission. The theological enterprise serves then the Great Commission as it seeks to explicate in a logical and coherent manner for men everywhere the truth God has revealed in Holy Scripture about himself and the world he has created." - Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, Introduction xxviii)


NewKidontheBlogg said...

Darren C. Marks asks "How can we sustain any spiritual growth if it is grounded in something as transitory as what we feel, individually or coporately?" from The March 2010 issue of "Christianity Today". He calls for doctrine and theology.

In the parable of the sower perhaps the seeds that don't take root are those who don't have theological understandings.

Mike The Mad Theologian said...

The danger of evangelism without sound doctrine is you can end up with a large number of superficial converts who are swept about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Even if these individuals are genuine believers (and many times they will not be, see Matthew 7:20-23)they will be stunted in their own growth in Christ and ability to reach others. And there is a danger the whole organization will drift into false doctrine.