SEED & BREAD
POSITIVE BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
Let no one be afraid of the word theology or hesitate to read this
leaflet because this term is found in its title. There have been so many
putrid theologies, some of them spun out of the corrupt minds of men,
that the word that describes the bad as well as the good has fallen into
disrepute. However, let it be recognized and admitted that every
Christian has a theology. In fact, if be did not have one, he could not
claim to be a Christian. For one to say he has no theology is the same
as saying, "I believe nothing." If he says, as some do, "I have the
Bible, and I need no theology," then let him understand that anything he
gets out of the Bible becomes his theology. Others will say, "I have
Christ, and I need nothing more," but the brief statement that Christ is
all he needs is a declaration of his theology. Any declaration that
anyone makes concerning God, His works, His words, or His ways is a
declaration of his theology.
The proclamation of a bumper sticker that says "Jesus is coming"
expresses one facet of the personís theology who placed it there. This
is a declaration related to God, and since it is well attested to by
plain statements in the Bible, it declares a Biblical fact or truth,
yes, a Biblical theology. But when he adds to this statement, as some
do, "It may be today," then he has added an erroneous, human,
unscriptural declaration to his theology and it is no longer Biblical.
According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is not coming today or tomorrow,
there being too many events that must come to pass before Jesus Christ
comes again. All one needs to do is ask the question: "Who comes first,
Christ or antichrist?" and he will see what I mean.
So to all who may be unsure about the word "theology," let him face the
fact that theology becomes the occupation of every Christian the moment
he begins to think about, to develop, and then to communicate his
Christian faith and principles. If his faith began with some truth from
Godís Word, as it should, then let him remember that Jesus Christ
declared, "If ye continue in My word (logos), then are ye My disciples
indeed" (John 8:31). These words were spoken to those Jews who believed
on Him, and to this He added, "And ye shall know the truth, and the
truth shall make you free." Therefore, if we continue in His word, we
will be constantly adding to our theology, and thus we will know the
truth and find freedom from all the satanic, fleshly, and human lies
that pass for Biblical theology today. Again I say, no Christian can
avoid being a theologian.
The challenge to "define your terms" is usually a fair one, and it
certainly is in regard to the title of this study. In this leaflet the
word theology is used to designate a body of knowledge related to God.
It comes into the English language from Theos which means God, and logos
which means a word or an expression ó not a single word, which may say
nothing if it has no context, but a statement or declaration that says
something. Thus when these two Greek words are put together they form
the word theology, which means any statement or declaration that is made
concerning God, His person, His works, His words, and His ways.
The word "Biblical" needs no definition in this study, and the word
"positive" means that one has done the work that is necessary to know
what the Bible says concerning the subject so that he can speak from a
"thus saith the Word of God" standpoint, and know that he is not
misrepresenting the sacred scriptures.
Of course there are many who feel that in order for one to be a
theologian he must have certain qualifications and be well-versed in all
the million and one opinions that so-called theologians have declared as
their understanding of all matters related to God. It is held that we
must consider all of this, strain out the unacceptable, add a few ideas
of our own, and then hold and present this as being divine truth in
regard to all matters of faith and practice. This, to me, is somewhat
ridiculous, since most of these theologians do not believe the Bible is
the inspired Word of God, and they reject its authority. So before we
can accept the witness of any man we must examine his words in the light
of the law and the testimony, for "if they speak not according to this
Word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20).
Very early in my Christian experience (which began fifty-nine years ago)
I became disillusioned, dissatisfied, and even disgusted with that great
mass of opinions, ideas, and views that made up the greater part of
"church theology." The confusion that existed even within a single
denomination was ridiculous. Out of this condition of mind there came to
be within me a deep desire to establish for myself a positive Biblical
theology in regard to all matters set forth in the Word of God. I
determined to be a personal student of the Word in my own right, and to
seek out diligently what the Bible had to say in regard to any matter
that was related to God. I would come to my own conclusions after
considering all the Biblical material that was available. Even if I
could do this on only one subject, at least on that subject I could be
positive and say, "Thus saith the Word of God."
This does not mean that I set aside or ignored the findings of all those
men who had gone to the Bible for truth in times past. But I have ever
kept in mind the divine directive, "Put to the test all things, hold
fast to that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). However, in doing this my
opinion was confirmed all the more that the theology of Christendom is
not only an incongruous mixture, it is also an unholy mess, and very
little of it is actually Biblical. Furthermore, I found that professing
Christians everywhere were making statements concerning the God whom I
honor, love, and serve that were libelous, degrading, and debasing, and
the theology of Christendom did nothing to denounce and correct these
falsehoods. Everyone was, and still is, afraid of "disturbing the
flock." These facts have done much to set the course of my life and
work, a course from which I have never veered, one of perpetual and
progressive Bible study.
The truth set forth in Godís Word is made up of an innumerable number of
individual truths, all of which are in some manner related one to
another. The only way to get "the truth" is to gather up one by one the
actual facts of Godís Word: "For precept must be upon precept, precept
upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a
little" (Isa. 28:10). Even facts that seem to be insignificant and
unimportant must be embraced and stored away in the God-given computer
bank of our memory to wait for that day when suddenly we will need them
in order to understand related truths that can then be added to our
positive, Biblical theology.
The active believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who continues in the truth
is bound to meet up with matters that challenge him in regard to what
the Bible says about the problem he faces. The more active he is in
study or service, the more he will be confronted with these matters.
Most ministers display great skill in avoiding coming to grips with
these, inasmuch as their efforts will provide them with no material for
their Sunday morning message. "My people are not interested in doctrine,
so why should I bother with Biblical problems." These were the words of
one minister to me. Another said, "My congregation is composed of simple
people, and I give them only the simplest things." Such men as these
will never possess or speak a positive Biblical theology, even when they
speak on simple matters. They will not do the work that brings it forth.
A much better spirit, even a spirit of truth, is revealed by a
missionary in a personal letter to me. He works among the Indians in
South America and is pushed to the limit of his strength every day by
his labors among these people. He says in part: "In my ministry to these
people, nothing is more important in my teaching than conveying the
TRUTH. I want only to teach what is true. I have a fever to know the
Word in all its truth and power. It is not easy when you deal with
primitive people and uneducated people to be motivated to serious Bible
study. These people have to be taught the basic, simple things first.
However, I have discovered that the more one knows and understands the
Bible, the easier it is to simplify and explain."
I am not personally acquainted with the writer of the letter quoted
above, but I am sure we are kindred spirits. And I know from long
experience that he will find even as I have found that when one comes
upon a Biblical matter that demands study, and if he carefully searches
out for himself all the clues, bits, and pieces that pertain to it, even
if it be only a simple truth, and when he has pieced all this
information together, it will remain for the rest of his life in some
way truer than anything he has simply read or has been merely taught.
Furthermore, it will be more free from the onslaughts of doubt and
attacks that come from the spiritual forces of wickedness among the most
Of course many will insist that such research and study is the work of
scholars. This is true, but the scholars are not doing it. Bible study
is the work of all believers, especially those who feel within
themselves the deep urge to establish in their lives a positive,
Biblical theology, and thus glorify God by holding, speaking, and
walking in the truth that He has so freely given.
In view of the times in which we live, and the future which lies ahead
as evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, before God assumes
sovereignty, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ need a positive,
Biblical theology. We need to lay hold of orderly statements in regard
to the record God has given of His Son, past, present, and future. This
is what I am laboring to establish in my own life, and to pass it on to
others who can check it out and make it their own if they wish to do so.
This has been my impelling desire for over a half century. It is one
that I can never get away from. And, of course, when one feels such an
impelling desire, and also is sure it is from the Lord, he will not
think of his shortcomings or his lack of ability to perform the task
that God has laid upon his heart.
As I look at Godís Word, I know of no sentence that describes it better
than the one spoken by the Samaritan woman when she spoke of Jacobís
well and said: "The well is deep." With this I agree. But not for one
moment will I admit that I have "nothing to draw with." As a believer in
the Lord Jesus Christ, I have Godís holy Spirit as the earnest of my
inheritance (Eph. 1:14). Since He is given so that I might "know the
things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Cor. 2:12), I will put my
hand in His and let Him lead me into the deep things of God (1 Cor.
Issue no. 099