Theology 101: Addressing Fuzzinesscomment (0)
January 2, 2014
By Jerry Batson
An article in The Alabama Baptist a few months ago referenced a group that was “indifferent to doctrine and surprisingly fuzzy on Jesus.” I could not help but wonder if that phrase applied to Baptists. We might hope that indifference to Bible doctrines is rare in our churches, but indicators point to Baptists having their share of people who are “indifferent to doctrine and fuzzy on Jesus.”
How would you answer Jesus’ question in Matthew 22:47, “What do you think about the Christ?” What indeed do we believe about Christ? The doctrine of Christ, His person and His work, His mission and His message, lies at the core of what we believe.
Each week I will attempt to lead us into a deeper thinking on our Christian faith as we take brief excursions into Theology 101. Our goal will be to move each of us along in our understandings of what the Bible teaches and reduce any fuzziness about Christian theology we might have.
In the weeks between now and Easter, Theology 101 will be thinking about Jesus — or as would be said in the theology class, we will be studying Christology — the doctrine of Christ.
Where might we begin our thinking? We could survey what good and godly Christians have said about Jesus in years gone by. Thus Christian history could help us to think closely and profitably about Him. We could read what writers are saying in current publications. This too would help sharpen our thoughts about Jesus, either by embracing what has the ring of truth about it or by clarifying to ourselves what we believe to be truth as the basis for what we might reject.
While we often profit from what other Christ followers say, the Theology 101 features will focus sharply on what God’s Word says.
The underlying conviction in Theology 101 is that the Bible is totally true and utterly trustworthy. Therefore it must have the last word, as well as the first word — and for that matter every word in between.
But the Bible has 66 books, so where should we begin? In one of the 39 Old Testament books that pre-date but anticipate the coming of Christ the Messiah? In one of the 27 New Testament books that tell of His presence and later of His impact in the first century? Obviously the starting point demands narrowing.
The chosen starting point, from which we will later branch out, will be what the Gospel of John says about Jesus, as well as what it tells us Jesus said about Himself. What did He come to do? How did He present Himself? What do His words reveal about His person as well as His mission? In the interest of further narrowing, the articles that appear each week until Easter will begin with what the opening verses of the fourth Gospel tell us when it refers to Jesus as “the Word,” declaring “In the beginning was the Word.”
See you in class next week. Be sure to bring your Bible.
A native of Bessemer, Jerry Batson is a graduate of Samford University (B.A., 1959) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (B.D., 1963; Th.D., 1970). He has served pastorates in Alabama, Texas, Maryland and Florida.
From 1989 to his retirement in 2008, Batson was on the faculty of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University serving as associate dean for academic affairs as well as teaching courses in New Testament and Greek. He previously taught on the faculties of Baptist Bible Institute (now The Baptist College of Florida) and Mobile College (now the University of Mobile).
Batson writes regularly for LifeWay Christian Resources publications such as Open Windows, Biblical Illustrator and adult quarterlies.
He currently serves as pastor of First Baptist Church, McCalla. He has been married to Pat for 55 years and has three adult children and seven grandchildren.