I have kind of a complicated question but you’ve never steered me wrong yet.
I’m a normal everyday type person who grew up in church, heard I was a sinner, (and knew I was one too) needed a Savior and that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again so I could be saved and I accepted Him as a Teenager based on that. Real simple.
Now, as an Adult I’m very well acquainted with the Word and being an avid reader am very interested in the spiritual. But now I have more questions than ever. I’ve never taken a theology course or read the Church Fathers until yesterday when I went through a little of an online Theology Course.
Wow! I guess I can summarize my question as this. Can a normal person who reads the Word be saved for sure? One cannot deny that the Word uses words like the elect, predestined, foreknew, persevere. Can one not be saved by just believing Jesus Christ just as He says to do? The book of John is full of the word believe. I’m finding out my simple faith is not so simple after all.
Theology is a course of study developed by people, which makes it a flawed effort at best. It is not necessary for salvation. In fact, as you’ve already experienced, too much theology will often take a person far from the simple truths of the Bible. The Pharisees and Saduccees of the Lord’s time are good Biblical examples of well-meaning people who took the study of theology too far and lost their faith in the process. Many of today’s seminaries and universities are staffed by theologians whose beliefs would be unrecognizable to the average student of Scripture.
I would not recommend a course in theology to anyone whose faith is not already so well grounded that nothing could shake it, and then only if it was absolutely necessary for career purposes. According to an article I read, Billy Graham felt the same way. He once turned down an opportunity to complete his education with a doctorate in theology, even though it would have elevated his credibility among educated people, for fear that it would damage his faith.
The Bible was not written in such a way as to require an advanced education to understand it. John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9 and others are simple and clear explanations on what it takes to be saved, and it’s all we need.