A famous evangelist's daughter wrote a book, "Don't Give Me Theology, Just Give Me Jesus." Many Christians seem to agree. They see theology as boring, something that seminary students and pastors do, but not particularly relevant for the church. That approach can be very dangerous. One cannot describe the ministry of Jesus without doing theology. What was the incarnation? What does atonement mean? Without theology, how could you explain the difference between the true Christ and the Mormon Jesus (brother of Satan) or the Islamic Jesus (just a good teacher).
Without theology we cannot fully appreciate the glory of God. We cannot understand how His mercy and His wrath go hand-in-hand. Without theology our faith is anemic, our defense of the faith impoverished, and the future of our church endangered. Jesus, the Word, knew a little bit about theology. He taught it to His disciples. He taught it to His followers.
In the encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus talked about theology. "You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews." (John 4:22). This knowledge, Jesus said, drives us to worship God. "But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth" (v. 23). God wants informed worshipers.
How do we do that? Theology. The Apostle Peter warned the church that there are "false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you" (1 Peter 2:1). These prophets and teachers, he wrote, bring into the church "destructive heresies." How will we recognize them? How can we combat them? In a word: theology. As a church we do theology when we study the Bible. We do theology when we hear a sermon. We do theology on Sunday night. We do theology even during our prayer meeting. We do these things not because your pastor is a theologian. We do them because we love God and we want to know more about him.
In the end, theology is not just for theologians. It's for the children of God. It's for worshipers.