Theology: The Substance of Faith (Faith of Our Fathers)
“In January of 2012, I had the honor of taking a winter course on ‘The Theology of the Word of Faith Movement’ with Justin Peters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The class was memorable to me for several reasons. I had been following the career of Mr. Peters for a while with great interest. One night, my wife and I even had the honor of having him into our home and serving him chicken pot pie. I recall sitting in my living room laughing and singing Ray Stevens’ The Mississippi Squirrel Revival together while my wife rolled her eyes.
I also recall one of the first statements he made in front of the class. I recall it because I wrote it down. He said, ‘Your worship of God will only be as deep as your theology.’ Then he said, ‘Let me rephrase that. Your worship of God will only be as deep as your knowledge of Him.’ In making this statement, Mr. Peters was answering one of the most important questions a Christian should ask himself: ‘Why do I study theology?’
What is theology? Theology, simply put, is the study of God. The word is derived from two Greek terms: ὁ θεὸς (ha theos) and ὁ λόγος (ha logos). ὁ θεὸς means God or the divine, and ὁ λόγος can be translated word, message, knowledge, and many other similar terms. In modern English usage, -ology (derived from ὁ λόγος) has come to mean ‘the study of. . .’ When combined into one word, then, theology means the study of God.”1
Often, when people hear the word faith, they think of it in terms of something we do. They don’t often think of it in terms of a substance. In the Bible, faith was more than just belief; it was a set of beliefs. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints,” (Jude 3; NASB). In the weeks and months to come, Lord-willing, we will take some time to consider the content of the faith of our fathers.
Read Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion in 2019 by following this reading plan from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.