Theological Study AND Devotional Piety

It Does Not Have to be an Either-Or
Unfortunately, all to often it has been. This is one of the ongoing themes of my own life and the ministry I do with Leadership ConneXtions. This is a value I have as well. If you are regular readers of this blog, you know how we value life long learning. God has given us minds to think. Thinking involves the work of reading, study, learning, analyzing, understanding and growing wise in the teachings of the Scripture.

  • Truth matters. 
  • Belief is important.
  • Theological convictions are vital.
  • Jesus criticized his detractors/opponents when he told them they are in error because they don't know the Scriptures or the power of God.
  • The Apostle Paul spent much time exposing false teaching and presenting the truth of the Gospel of Christ.
  • We need wise thinkers who spend the time to learn the depths of the Christian faith.

AND...

  • Devotion matters.
  • Piety is important.
  • Spiritual depth is vital.
  • Jesus showed us the way of a life of intimacy with the Father.
  • Jesus invited his followers to be his friends.
  • The Apostle Paul was known as the Apostle of the Transformed Heart.

We never settle for an either/or when it comes to theology and spirituality, when it comes to Bible study and fervent prayer.

And, it is not that these are even SEPARATE subjects which are done apart from each other. Ideally, one studies theology and prays their theology.

Benjamin Warfield was a great Reformed theologian-apologist-teacher who understood this. He spent his lifetime training students for their work in church and mission. Here are some thoughts Warfield gave to his students in his sermon, The Religious Life of Theological Students.

Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God? If learning and devotion are as antagonistic as that, then the intellectual life is in itself accursed, and there can be no question of a religious life for a student, even of theology.

Put your heart into your studies; do not merely occupy your mind with them, but put your heart into them. They bring you daily and hourly into the very presence of God; his ways, his dealing with men, the infinite majesty of his Being form their very subject-matter. Put the shoes from off your feet in this holy presence!

The very atmosphere of your life is these things; you breathe them in at every pore; they surround you, encompass you, press in upon you from every side. It is all in danger of becoming common to you! God forgive you, you are in danger of becoming weary of God! . . . Are you, by this constant contact with divine things, growing in holiness, becoming every day more and ore men of God? If not you are hardening!

Benjamin Warfield quote, Religious Life of Theological Students
Good thoughts. 
May God give us a heart aflame with love and holiness and a mind alert and awakened to truth and wisdom. Then may we lead faithfully with hearts and minds.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

BrianRice@lcileaders.org

LCI - Helping you lead with an integrated heart and mind.