Theology to the Unchurched?

Since becoming a Christian, I have been very interested in theology. It is motivated by a desire to know the God of the Bible more closely and continually fed by the rewards as each treasure of truth is uncovered. I find that the glory and awesomeness of God becomes better understood and realized through learning the theology of the Christian faith.

So Jenn and I have also sought to be a part of a church that also believes in teaching theology and bringing back theology into the life of the church members. However, at the same time, I’ve been slightly troubled by the thought that perhaps theology is really not all too good for reaching out to unchurched people. However, recently I found an article on the 9 Marks website that is very encouraging. People are actually more interested in theology than we might think.

Many churches assume that people cannot hear the Word of God or a gospel message that has any theological words in it. So they downplay it. But the results of some important research among formerly unchurched people who then came to church are shocking. When these individuals were asked what they liked about the church, ninety-odd percent said that what was preached was important to them. And almost 90 percent said that they wanted to know what the church believed. They wanted to hear its doctrine. Now that is just the reverse of what the common outreach approach assumes. It assumes people don?t want to know. In actual fact, those who want to come into the church do want to know.

Actually, I am one of those unchurched people not too long ago and I am a testimony of an unchurched person who became very interested in theology. I became interested to the point that I felt the local church is simply lacking in it’s dedication to providing new believers with the instruction and growth in theological understanding that I desired. They seem more preoccupied with community and doing a bunch of cool things that entertain and thrill our senses. Our old church is still chasing after the leadership of Willow Creek, which is more of a model of dumbing down the church and marketing it to look cool and hip.

Check out their latest leadership summit which is supposed to equip leaders in the church. When the apostles wrote letters to the early churches for training, it’s filled with rich biblical truths and theology. Now consider the Willow Creek Leadership summit schedule . It’s filled with worldly talk about how to create strategy and maximize your potential. Most of the speakers are not even model leaders in the church. You have an an HP executive , a Gallup Poll employee, Collin Powell, a Harvard Strategy Professor, a film / screenwriter, and Jimmy Carter. There are only 2 guests other than Bill Hybels who have a background in the church.

In contrast, look at the recent Ligonier National Conference, featuring John MacArthur, Al Mohler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, and Ravi Zacharias. And look at the recent John Piper Design God conference with David Wells, Don Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, Voddie Baucham, and John Piper. These are figures of Christian leadership and teaching that we should be looking to for training and teaching in our day.

I think the leadership at 9 Marks has it right and is a more appropriate biblical model for churches to follow. They also have the support of many of the most respected Christian pastors and teachers of our nation. I encourage all of you to take a look at 9marks and if you are a member of a church, encourage your church leadership to learn from the people at 9marks. If you are not a church member, I encourage you to find a church through the 9 marks website. We found an excellent local church that is dedicated to returning the church back to it’s biblical roots and I agree that it’s been much better for both me and my families spiritual growth.

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