Is Seminary Really a Cemetery? Theology as “Jezebelic” Religious Witchcraft

   

Image by Gail Dowle

Billows of flame and fury pour forth from the bowels of the Abyss where the anti-Christ resides. His hellish imps encircle him, swarming like bats disturbed from their dark cave. To each demonic messenger, the devil whispers errors and aberrant theologies. But the most deadly of these messages is reserved for the Christian. Demonic witchcraft fills Christian libraries, seminaries, and Berean bookstores the world over. Books entitled “Theology”, “Hermeneutics”, and “Apologetics” are demonic volumes of divination—at least this is what the increasingly popular “Red Letter Ministries” warns the devout.

RLM charges the body to stop studying theology and start having a relationship with the God whom this study supposedly draws us closer toward. “Theology”, they claim, “is the study of God. Real Bible-Christianity is the experience thereof…. Jesus didn’t reconcile us to a library. He reconciled us to Heaven.”

The study of the Trinity is not meant to be something about which we just read but rather as a tangible God whom we ought to embrace in a true substance-relationship.

And while this group claims that these books ooze demonic witchcraft, one might wonder whether or not these youths have a point.

Has western Christianity wed itself too extensively to intellectualism and the logical study of this divine personhood?

It is true that study, pouring over the scripture, and the reading of theologies and various books can and does illuminate human thought and human approaches to God and the scripture. But is this ultimately what Christians should want—what people have thought about God?

One single whisper of the Holy Spirit is worth more than a thousand profound human thoughts.

Most Christians would scarcely believe this intellectually, let alone embrace this notion in practice.

Theology is a distraction. Perhaps not to every person, but it’s value must be assessed with a critical eye. Are we more inclined toward debating some tangential theological principle or spending that time praying and experiencing our Father? If the former is true, you may have made an idol of theology.

However, are these pursuits holistically and inherently demonic and mere “Jezebelic” religious witchcraft? Will every person who touches the pages of such books become possessed with a pharisaic demon? Not likely.

And it most certainly can be said that the burning of these books is an extreme measure. Nevertheless, RLM has a point: some Christians need to put these books down and start falling in love once again with Christ.

We worship, serve, love, and pray to a person, not a concept. The great tomes of theology and massive religious libraries cannot bring you any closer to a God who has already reconciled himself to you. From one bibliophile to another, pull your nose out of the book once in a while and start experiencing the substantial love-relationship you already have in Christ.

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  • Layferg

    Knowledge without love is indeed empty, but seeking knowledge is by no means incompatible with loving God.  As long as we realize that any knowledge we do learn here on earth is yet imperfect…

  • Layferg

    CS Lewis compares “theology” to a map of the Atlantic.  Is it in many ways “less real’ than strolling along the beach?  Of course, and we should always cherish those tangible glimpses of God.  But we should never forget that the map is an accurate depiction of reality in an admittedly imperfect, abstract medium…

  • Allison

    Jon, thanks for posting this! This was so good I had to make myself a cup of coffee before I sat down to comment on it, LOL. 

    I was raised with similar notions to RLM. I was told that, “Theology is the study of dead guys.” I was also taught that a spirit filled Christian would not care about theology. 

    While I absolutely agree that a true Christian has the Spirit indwelling (which is necessary for regeneration) I have come to absolutely reject the idea that a spirit filled Christian should not care about theology (and agree wholeheartedly with Layferg that seeking knowledge is not incompatible with loving God.) And I would ask those from RLM, how can a Christian not fall more in love with Christ after studying, for example, His attributes? I’d like to challenge them to read Pink’s Attributes of God and not love Him more! Now that is an experience I want more of :)

    I have grown more and more curious about why a Christian would take an anti-theology stance. My theory is that perhaps those disenchanted with the study of theology have interacted with individuals in the church who either A) are truly not saved (as seen in Matthew 7:22-23 ) or B) are true Christians who have let pride over the biblical knowledge creep into their heart and made themselves an idol which would prevent them from worshipping God and rather begin to worship themselves. 

    A true Christian (spirit indwelling, regenerated) will always seek relationship with God through prayer, worship, and the study of His word. I don’t think any of these should be pursued to the exclusion of the other. 

    I think that the study of theology (solid stuff = that which would point you to Christ and His word, rather than to man) has many benefits for Christians-

    – it can help renew our fervor for the Lord 
    – it can aid in discipleship/mentoring
    – it can help correct unbiblical ideas 
    – it can foster unity within the local body

    I’d like to throw out a new motto for consideration….

    Theology is the study of, not dead guys, but the living One!

  • Allison

    Ok, one more comment. Disdain for the knowledge of those who have come before us is not only a trend within in Christianity but a wider one in today’s culture which stems from postmodernism. While I think it is absolutely necessary to test whatever theology you might read against the scriptures, I find a refusal to study anything that came from a previous generation to be arrogant. It is a great loss for our generation when we disengage from the great conversation of the Church which is not limited by geography or time. I don’t think we will be refusing to engage in conversations with other saints in eternity because they weren’t born in the same time period as we were :)

  • Well said @2369225fdcc182a7f02f99165fc887ab:disqus ! My encounter with over-intellecualizers was more the your letter “B”. I myself was one years ago. Christianity to me was a simple matter of theological/logical/philosophical exercise. Thank God I was brought out of that desert! But you are quite right, it is not an evil subject. It can be rather illuminating. For some, I suppose, they should study a lot less. For others, they should study more. We all must be careful on whatever thing we are placing all our trust in. It is Christ we love and service, not the bible, not books written about him, but a true and real relationship. Thanks for your thought!

  • A beautiful image. And so true. Thanks for your thoughts!

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