Necro Theology: You Believe In God

Theology won’t save you! Worse still, orthodox theology won’t save you! In fact hell may be filled with people who can recite word for word the Apostle’s Creed, and even say this was their belief on earth. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not some theological relativist who intends to dismiss all theology as purely an archaic academic ego-boost. I love theology and believe it to be very important. But I am also aware that the church is filled with people who can give you the right answers, and yet who by all other appearances don’t seem to care about the gospel. James was aware of this reality too. For he wrote in chapter two of his letter that a person can acknowledge the truth about God while, nonetheless, possessing a dead faith.

In James 2:19 he writes: You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe- and shudder. There are several important features of this verse that we must acknowledge. One ,James says that belief in the one true God is something that the demons possess. But such belief is not sufficient for them. They know that Shema of Israel (Deuteronomy 6:4), but that only highlights for us the insufficiency of orthodox theology.

Furthermore, the text tells us that the demons believe and “shudder.” The demons know even better than some of those about whom James is writing. For the demons know the one true God and fear Him. They know they’re time is limited and that judgment awaits them. They shudder at the thought. They tremble in fear. But the arrogant, presumptuous “Christian” who has checked all their theological boxes doesn’t fear judgment. They have mentally assented to all the right beliefs and counted themselves safe. In this strange twist of events James actually says that the demons are smarter than those professing faith.

It’s not that I am bashing theology. I have a theological education, I continue to study theology, I teach it regularly. But I fear that the American church has been inundated with Bible studies and classes and sermons, etc. and without the call to action we have become well-fed, fat, lazy cows. We are bloated church that is being preached to death. Without works such theology is useless. In fact I agree with John Frame who argues that theology is not theology if it doesn’t apply to life. You may learn some verses, and learn how to read the Bible, and learn how to praise God, etc. but until you do it … you have only gained head knowledge. Paul warns that knowledge “puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1), and a person full of himself (and what he knows) is not yet ready to acknowledge their need of the gospel.

You believe in election, you do well. You believe in the Holy Spirit, you do well. You believe in penal substitutionary atonement, you do well. You believe in the rapture…well, that’s another post. But such belief, as good and indeed as necessary as it is, will not save you. The demons have good theology, so to speak. But your faith remains dead unless such theology affects the way you live. Friends, if you are relying only on your creeds and confessions to save you, your prayers and your petitions, your doctrines and your dogmas, then you have a dead faith!

Comments

  1. Eric McLaughlin says:

    Very good post and probably an excellent explanation about why so many churches are masturbatory rather than effective. And also a really good reason why if you type in Google “Why are Christians so…” you will get the following “mean, intolerant, crazy, and judgemental.” The best part of Revolution is that it does not take the position of disgust against Portsmouth’s ills as if it were somehow better because its cleaner, more productive, or less “yucky.” I’m a trustee at Second Presbyterian and we were discussing putting up a picnic shelter in the field next to 9th and Waller, and more than one expressed the need to fence it off to keep out those who would possibly steal or deface it. If it’s fenced off, then it’s useless. While I understand the concerns, it just seems exclusive and somewhow wrong, to keep people out. Much like the fenced off parking lot at Mabert Road Baptist – it just sends me the wrong message. By the way, I think we spoke the other night on Grandview while my wife and I were out doing yard work.

    • Pastor Dave Online says:

      Awesome comment Eric! Thanks for the encouragement. Next time you seem me out be sure and introduce yourself.

  2. What? Are you saying the pre-tribulational rapture isn’t true? 😉

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