I love to study theology. I’ve stated this from the pulpit on numerous occasions. It is one of my greatest passions.
There can be a downside, though, to the study of theology. Due to our sin, we distort the good gifts that God gives us, theology included. We transform them into tools of power, manipulation, and control. We might unknowingly think that people can only find God by agreeing with us; that those outside our tradition are destitute of the grace of God. I have occasionally thought this way.
What’s wrong with this mindset? It fails to recognize that no one has a monopoly on the grace of God. No church is the “true” church. There is no such thing this side of eternity. On the contrary, God has diversely distributed his gifts. He can and does work outside of our theological frameworks. God is too vast to be captured by a single theological vision.
This concession is not intended to downplay correct doctrine. No. I’m not a proponent of a theological kumbaya, where we all pretend like we agree. Disagreement is OK. Doctrinal purity matters. Nonetheless, no one should believe that they are the gatekeepers to God’s grace. God is grander than our conceptions of him.