Theology MUST Lead To Doxology (Meditation on Ephesians 1:3-14)

Admit it, theology looks boring.

Those thick books, rife with unpronounceable german words strung together in small print, they’re intimidating.  If we summon the courage to heft one of these tomes off the shelf and peruse the pages, we find prose that sounds more pedantic than poetic.  We quickly find ourselves adrift in a sea of logical constructions, formulations, and cross references.  The implicit message is this: “Theology is for academics.”

But there’s a surprising truth, a truth that any theologian (at least any good theologian) would vigorously assert:

Theology is all about worship.

And worship is far more than the hourlong gathering that you sometimes attend down at that refurbished warehouse.  Worship is much more than the halfhearted singing of a few songs and listening to an inspirational message delivered by a golden tongued orator.

Worship is what we do with our whole lives (at least, it is if we deeply grasp the truth that “It’s not about us”).

1st half of 2011 444

Christ The King
St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dayton OH
Photo by Russell Smith

This little passage of Ephesians 1:3-14 covers a lot of complex theology.  Shoehorned in here are some deep theological concepts:  The Trinity, Redemption, Predestination, Adoption, Sovereignty, Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Paul moves fast here – if we were to spend some time reflecting on all of these ideas, we could spend weeks, months, even years teasing out the nuances of all these concepts.  That’s why the theology books are so big.

But Paul doesn’t let us forget his point:

  • Verse 3:  “Praise be to the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ”
  • Verse 6: “to the praise of His glorious grace”
  • Verse 12: “that we … might be for the praise of His glory”
  • Verse 14: “to the praise of His glory”

Paul brings head and heart together.  Knowledge about God is supposed to increase our heartfelt worship of God.

Or as a theologian might say:  “Theology must lead to Doxology”

Knowledge must lead to praise.  Heartfelt praise.  Awe, wonder, breath-taken delight.  The pause that stops us for a moment and elicits from us an appreciative “wow!”

When theology goes wrong, it becomes an idol, a intellectual bully club used to belittle others.

When theology goes right, it leads to beautiful praise.

What’s your theology working in you?

Soli Deo Gloria

Russell

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