Credo House Clips: Theology in Three Minutes


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    12 replies to "Credo Clip: Will theology kill my faith?"

    • Alex Guggenheim

      I would not say “the study of theology can kill your faith” but the misunderstanding and misuse of study can negatively impact your faith.

      A second note, when one is studying the Scriptures they are in fellowship with God as they receive His Divine Word to them. He is immediately present and speaking to the one studying. Study certainly is not all there is in our commune with God but it is a mistake to believe studying God’s Word is not commune with him.

      The video is thought provoking regarding our priorities. Thank you.

      • Tim Kimberley

        Alex, I agree. A mentor of mine has said, “I study the Bible to learn about God, I read the Bible to be with God.”.

    • Brandon E.

      I thought your presentation was very balanced. The illustrations in particular were very clear and helpful for avoiding two extremes.

      The topic reminds me of the Lord’s word to some of the theologians of the time in John 5:39-40.

      On one hand, we might “search the Scriptures” without “com[ing] to Me.” On the other hand, it is the Scriptures that “testify concerning Me.”

      Our study of the Bible and our seeking the Lord Himself should go together. We can separate the two by reading the Bible without seeking the Lord Himself. Or by seeking the Lord Himself without reading the Bible. But both are necessary to know Him and abide in Him in our daily life.

    • LM

      Great clip! I actually had a post on my blog on this very issue. I am a seminary student, and for awhile I started keeping it a secret because I was tired of snide and negative remarks from Christians. (Oddly, unbelievers seem more positive about my pursuit of a seminary degree!)

      Academics can be good or bad. Some people get more obscure by degrees! Scholarship can bring dimness, just as it can bring light and clarity. Seminary can destroy ones faith, or strengthen ones faith. I think it comes down to our underlying motivations. Why are we pursuing spiritual knowledge? Where do our priorities lie? And are we as concerned with learning, as with applying what we learn? If what we learn is not changing how we live, then we have failed.

      For me, seminary has been life transforming and greatly strengthened my faith and walk with the Lord.

    • Tim Kimberley

      LM,

      So true. I also have experienced Christians being more cynical toward seminary than a non-believer. I think a lot of this usually stems from a feeling of inadequacy because they know they should be growing in their faith but are not. My heart goes out in these situations because many churches are not engaged in seriously discipling their people.

      I’m thankful and excited that seminary has been transforming and strengthening for your walk with the Lord.

      -Tim

    • Brian Roden

      I myself am hoping to go to “cemetery” and am in the middle of applying to my denomination’s school.

    • David T.

      Sadly for me, studying theology (on my own, I’m not in a seminary) and being honest with myself about subjects has really tested my faith and may have caused me to start to lose it. I never actually thought that I’d get to a place like this.

    • Dave Z

      Tim, good stuff!

      I’d perhaps stretch the marriage metaphor a little further – how would your wife respond if you sat with her and didn’t talk to her? Instead, you spend hours reading about her. I suspect she’d get a little tired of that because she’d rather talk with you.

      But I’ve found myself almost ignoring the indwelling Spirit of God – ignoring prayer, in order to study. I know that no illustration is perfect and that I’m blurring a line here, but I find it interesting that there are very few examples of “study” in scripture, especially in the NT, but nearly every page reveals prayer.

      I have found that my study of theology has shaken some doctrines, and I’ve found that some things I believed don’t have the solid basis I thought they had, but theology has not shaken my core faith. OTOH, it’s strengthened it. I’ve heard it said that sometimes we come out believing less things, but those we do hold, we hold more firmly.

      Thanks for this clip.

    • Alex Guggenheim

      Dave Z says:

      I’d perhaps stretch the marriage metaphor a little further – how would your wife respond if you sat with her and didn’t talk to her? Instead, you spend hours reading about her. I suspect she’d get a little tired of that because she’d rather talk with you.
      __________________

      The problem to consider with this stretched analogy is that we have God’s promise of his presence always, so He is indeed always present. Concurrent with this truth is that the Word of God is not to be read as if one is “reading about God” but listening to God. These ARE His words to us, this IS His present communication with us. When we read the Word of God…He speaks and it is intended to be received in just this manner, in the midst of His presence with Him presently speaking. And this is true if we are parsing a sentence or involved in broad theological constructs and themes.

    • […] love Tim’s clip here asking the question can theology destroy our faith.  He honestly assesses, yes if it the […]

    • Shaun

      I have a degree in theology. I took it to because I am passionate about religion. I say this honestly as a good person not as a way of “bigging myself up”: Theology can kill your faith. I constantly struggle to get back to how I was before I studied it. I have no feeling for it 99% of the time but I really, really want to feel it again. My faith now consists of queries and philosophies. I am pleased to say that my answers are nearly always pro-christian so I still have a beleif but it is no longer a pure faith that I feel – it is one that I “think”. I went into the course very spiritual and came out without it. An example I can offer is that before theology: “I know god exists because I just do, I feel it – It is evident in the world we see and it is wonderful.” After theology: “God exists because there has to be a source, something from nothing is not possible – I would be foolish to think otherwise”. It is not limited to this example but you get the idea. Please take care all – it hurts.

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