For as long as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by theological discussion/debate. It's helpful, even in the face of theological disagreement, to have such discussions because they serve to sharpen and hold us accountable for our doctrinal claims and convictions. Of course, our knowledge of God should be wholly derived from Scripture, but the minute we begin to talk about God in our examination of the Scriptures -- who He is, what He can do, what He has done, etc -- we are doing theology.
I had a great conversation yesterday with a friend on the train --we were discussing the C word....CALVINISM. It's one of my favorite topics (for those of you who don't me, I thought you'd enjoy knowing that.) So why on earth were we discussing that on the way into the office? I don't even remember how the conversation was started, but the discussion necessitated an explanation to the questions, why is it important to think about these things? Why do we need to think about and be able to articulate what we know about man's sinful condition, God's sovereignty, and man's desire for autonomy?
We talk constantly about having a "relationship with Jesus," "knowing God," "studying the Word," etc, but how often are these little more than cliches? I often hear from people that to make theological claims about who God is, i.e. work hard at interpreting the Scriptures (as we are expected to do), that we lack humility. Knowing God, having an (incomplete) understanding of Him, yet an educated understanding (because I have the Bible), has only served to support and guide me through my own trials. Knowing God, studying Scripture, doing theology, is nothing short of practical.