Theology is More Than Head Knowledge

studying theology

by Lisa Robinson

I was at a meeting the other day where a committee from the board asked some students to come in and share their experiences and provide input.  One theme that came up, was the importance of integrating what we learn in seminary with tangible ministry.  Otherwise, all we have is head knowledge.

This is a common theme.  I have heard it many times from a diversity of Christians from various places.  Learning theology is head knowledge.  It is just obtaining information.  Unless, we are participating in some form of ministry and downloading the information, theology is useless.   Now, I don’t think it may be articulated in these exact words and will vary depending on the person’s background.  For those more attuned to learning theology in context of academic learning, it may be expressed through the urgency of application.  The exhortation is to not let it stop at learning. For those who are  opposed to any type of academic discipline related to the study of theology, the cry of head knowledge might be even louder.   Read your bible, pray, live out your faith and let the Spirit be your guide.  That is what is needed for an authentic Christian walk, not head knowledge.

While I would wholeheartedly agree that the tangible outworking of our faith is important, I think the statement that theology is nothing more than head knowledge is a mis-statement and does a disservice to actively pursuing the knowledge of God.   Whether you engage in the academic discipline of theology proper or simply live out an experiential form of the Christian faith, you are engaging in the task of theology. To the extent that you utilize tools available to engage in learning about the Christian faith, is to the extent that you are learning theology.


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