The Practical Value Of Theological Knowledge -- By: Leander S. Keyser

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 088:351 (Jul 1931)
Article: The Practical Value Of Theological Knowledge
Author: Leander S. Keyser

The Practical Value Of Theological Knowledge1

Leander S. Keyser

If theological knowledge has no practical bearing on human life; if it deals only with theoretical and speculative themes remote from the needs and experiences of men, then the theological seminary is a superfluous institution. On the other hand, if in preparing men for the ministry of the Word, it thereby helps the world in general and individuals in particular to better and more joyous living, then the existence of such a school is amply justified. To sum the whole discussion up at the very beginning, I think that any thoughtful survey of the history of theological education, and its relation to the work and progress of the kingdom of God, will convince anyone that schools of the prophets have not only been useful, but have been necessary to the highest well-being of humanity.

Let us say at once that a technical theological education is not necessary to make a person a Christian. There are many good Christians who have never even seen a divinity school. It is faith in Christ and the operation of the Holy Spirit in the new birth that makes a person a Christian, whether he has much or little theological knowledge. In fact, the most learned theologian and the most unlettered layman must come to Christ in precisely the same way— through the narrow gateway of contrition for sin and faith in our Lord.

One cannot help feeling amazed at the surface thinking of some of the Modernists, who are constantly boasting of their superior knowledge. One of them—and an outstanding one, too—declared, some years ago, that he did “not see why a person would have to go through a theological seminary in order to be a Christian.” No one, we feel sure, has ever

made so foolish a claim; no one has ever thought of doing so, least of all the orthodox believer. Indeed, it is expected that young men have become Christians before they come to the seminary. The seminary is not intended to make Christians out of young men, but to prepare those who are already Christians and who have experienced the divine call, for their holy vocation. Why do some men who have the public ear make such unwise and harmful remarks? Do they not realize the harm they may do?

Another prominent liberalist said recently in a public address that he did not fancy the idea of a heaven in which people “had nothing to do but play on harps;” he imagined that it might grow monotonous after a few million years! A little more knowledge of the Bible and of orthodox theology would have prevented such an unwise utterance. Where does the Bible teach that the saints in heaven shall do nothing but th...

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