Why Theology Matters (#486)

bobstampsOne of Wayne's closest friends and a gifted theologian joins us once again on the podcast to discuss the importance of an accurate theology, even for those who are living outside the box of religious obligation. Dr. Bob Stamps holds a PhD in Eucharistic Theology from the University of Nottingham and has been an United Methodist ministry for most of his life. More recently he has served as Dean of the Chapel and as a professor of systematic theology at Asbury Seminary. Even though Wayne and Bob share very different views of the church, they sat down in Richmond, VA a few weeks ago to discuss the theology that undergirds the life of the church however she connects. He views it as a conversation God is having through the Bible and with his people throughout centuries to help us understand who he his and his unfolding purpose in the world. A healthy theology will sustain a growing engagement with Jesus, not supplant it with lifeless creeds or rituals.

Podcast Links:
Previous podcasts with Bob Stamps: Living in God's Mercy and God at Our Table
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  1. Happy 40th Wayne and Sara! Thanks for sharing that with us.

    I’m thinking maybe you meant to hit the delete button on ‘take one’, the opening sounding like deja vu all over again, or was it your tribute to Yogi Berra, who turned 90 this week (lol) !?!

    Liked many of the points made on this podcast, about the Christian life being more than a Sunday Morning or Wednesday Night endeavor, and not becoming so heavenly minded that we become no earthly good (being in the world, but not of it). And having a basis in Scripture/Theology, but not making it an idol, same for those Christian leaders who can lead us astray, making sure along the way, I am truly God’s sheep. Thanks.

  2. Oooppppsss!!! My bad! Thanks, Ron for pointing it out. How embarrassing! Again, not enough time this week to tick all the boxes. Those of you who got an early download got the outtake! But the file has since been fixed.

  3. I can relate to your comment about “not equipping but subduing people” & look forward to hearing more on that topic. I believe that’s what happened in the congregation I grew up in. But I’m mainly writing to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY WAYNE & SARA!! Enjoy your time together & with your family!!

    • I tell you April, I didn’t catch that comment in the podcast, but I can certainly relate to it.

      Its funny, when God gets a hold of you and brings you further along than the people you are under do, or can, they seem not to like it too much, almost as if you are betraying them. And then they accuse you of things you are not, like being too ‘religious’ for example. It simply breaks my heart to think that often people don’t have your best interest at heart, they simply want to control you so they don’t have to deal with their own issues. It took me a while ‘out from under’ to learn that painful lesson.

  4. I’m still trying to determine what place theology has in my walk with father. Theology has never determined the direction of my relationship, it has only helped me to understand my experience of God in my life. As I engage with father in a relationship of affection, does he mind how I view the trinity? Or how I see the divinity/humanity of Christ? I think we are far more concerned about this than God has ever been. Grasping and understanding these concepts may enhance my experience of God but they do not affect his acceptance of me. I have come to understand that it is Christ who saves me not my theology. It seems to me that theology matters a lot more to the institution of church than to those living a life in God.

    These days I love to listen to discussions on theology, I’ve never studied it but after sitting in a pew for 30 years a lot is taken on board, while most of it was well founded in the scriptures, it wasn’t all good. That is, it did not endear me to God. So now I listen to other views, I chew the meat and spit out the bones. I always come back to The God Journey, because Wayne is always pointing to relationship and seldom to theology.

  5. Woohoo. 40 years. Congratulations and here’s to many more fulfilling years together. Blessings. At my present level of understanding I think relationship and theology are both of value. For sure relationship is what life is all about. To love and be loved, but sharing the journey can get tricky where the God you’ve experienced is not reflected in the theology you’ve been taught. It seems to me the traditional, institutional church of the west has looked at faith through a somewhat narrow lens. I am finding it helpful to consider what others have thought throughout church history and I give more weight to doctrine that reflects the God I know. I don’t think any of us will understand all this side of heaven. There will always be a certain amount of mystery and I often feel saddened by religious conversations that end in conflict over theology when preferred doctrine becomes more important than preserving relationship, however becoming more informed has helped me give an account of my faith. It is my experience that when folks encounter hardship and the great tragedies of life they start to think and question. It is good to have thought through and feel more settled about such questions and be able share that information.

  6. I agree theology without a relationship with Him is just empty religion. I love to study theology, but beyond the basic truth of the Gospel maybe it’s one of those things that is helpful to some and not others. I find that as I wrestle with deeper truths, my view and understanding of who God is expands beyond the box I tend to put him in. The bigger God becomes, the more I find wonder and mystery in Him. For me, the study of theology is a lot like the study of Cosmology. The universe that God created is so much more wondrous and divine than we can grasp. The more we learn the more we find we don’t understand, and God just gets bigger in the process.

    Looking forward to the second half of the podcast. I really appreciated the discussion of the incarnation. I never considered the idea that Christ took his humanity back to heaven with him. That was a cool “aha” moment. I’m still thinking about that one.

  7. It is good to hear some thoughts on who God is and what Jesus is like. To me theology is the study of who and what God is in the context of getting to know the one I am in relationship with.
    The previous 2 week’s discussions seemed to stimulate a lot of discussion. I think this is partly because the spirit of God within us reacts to enticements to belief and trust in systems, rather than the person of God. Jesus seemed to have responded negatively and critically to systems that had been put in place by Pharisees, amongst others, that tried to codify acceptance by God in rules and behavioural measurements. The words of Jesus’ responses were stronger than any I saw here.

    With respect to theology, it seems to me what is at issue, is who God is, not who we want to think he is. It is a challenge to discern what our flesh wants (despite how many christian coats of paint it has on it) and what the spirit causes to resonate with our hearts. “Delight in him, and he will give us the desires of our hearts”. Delight is the primary path deeper into him. Then he gives us the actual desires, not fulfillment of what we decide we want from him, or are promised by preaching that makes the focus what we can get from him. I find myself wanting him and the way he created life in contrast to what my flesh desires.

    Wanting him! I would like to hear more talk about him, not so much about what is wrong with systems. Talking about him, and then listening to his spirit give us rest and joy through what we learn and experience. If that is theology, then it is a good thing.

    One last note as food for thought. I find it interesting how much of theological study is referenced as SYSTEMATIC theology. I get the building of one idea on, and with, another, but how often does it become a system of belief that one trusts to direct actions and behaviour rather than a pursuit and enjoyment of the one who has already accepted us, loves us, and even likes us.

    • Absoloutely agree with you Tom. When men try to build a step by step theology they INEVITABLY build a tower of Babel (confusion).

      Having come out of that system of conservative confusion for a few years I can say that theology never brought me one step closer to God. Arguments about communion, baptism, free will, eternal hell, etc, etc, etc, just lead nowhere.

      I still don’t know why the God I have experienced is so different than the one in the OT and revelation. No theology I’ve ever studied has really explained it. I keep searching for the real God not one made up by men no matter how beautiful the theology.

      I wish us all well on the journey to the final rest and ages of awakening to who Christ is.

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